Friday, April 19, 2013

Changing Interests, Changing Colors

Friday, April 19, 2013

The wind continues to howl this morning, slightly less than last night when I found myself tossing around in bed as it beat the walls of the house.  It was noisy enough to suggest someone needed assistance and was at one of the doors but no one was there. Karl the Wonder Dog did not take kindly to the noise and interrupted an already disrupted night with barks to chastise, ward off something that didn't exist. Now it's 6 AM as the neighbor's dogs bark continuously telling me they want someone to let them back in the house. Gail just succumbed to Karl's "Let's go out again, let's go out again!" and with fresh coffee in hand, she is heading down the road. It's blowing at about 5 mph  now as masses of lower level gray clouds sweep quickly northwards against a backdrop of distant blue. I hope that single nice day that is predicted will make its way here. We all need some sun!

Reports are beginning to come in to me about flowers and bird sightings, things that suggest that despite the continued cold, spring is really here. A friend in Calais spotted a toad while cleaning up some gardens as well as a couple bluebirds, and two others have mentioned male bluebirds checking birdhouses, cleaning out old boxes and making nests. Waterfowl can be heard all day long and the Fish and Wildlife fish truck dropped off 2500 brown trout from the hatchery into Peacham Pond here yesterday, Change is everywhere!

When I was a kid of 12 and just leaning about flower gardening, there was probably a single garden related magazine out there named Horticulture. Things are different today and the obvious evolution of journalism has traveled from dozens upon dozens of gardening magazines in print to bankruptcies and command decisions to cease publication. There is also the transition to on-line publications replete with so many apps we cannot count them all. And already cell phones have become Smart phones and websites must be able to work over several platforms to mesh nicely with the variety of smaller handheld devices. 

The flower industry has changed too as gardeners are impatient for new plants, new colors. For years and years this was ever so noticeable within the floral industry but if you talk to a florist now, they will tell you how their industry has diminished as people buy and send fewer flowers now just like there are fewer funerals, more family oriented services and more cremations, all of which take away from that industry. 

The picture has changed even for little nurseries such as Vermont Flower Farm as every year people get out of their cars and ask "What's brand new?". This is very obvious to me because I live with a gardener who tries to track local interest, local change and despite how good Gail is at this, it's difficult for her to keep on top of interest. Here's an example. Astilbes. We have always loved astilbes, a very hardy perennial with varieties that range in height from 8" to 5 feet and bloom at various times, usually from June into August but with some varieties blooming into early September too. Five years ago we had one of the largest collections of astilbes offered for sale and as I recall it was in the 75 variety class. That was a lot of choice and I wish we still had such a sizeable offering. Three years ago astilbe sales slowed and gardening magazines overlooked astilbes so Gail responded accordingly and reduced our numbers. Many visitors went home with incredible displays for very little money. Gail's plan was to maintain half a dozen good astilbes and forget about maintaining such a wide assortment. What happened, however, was that the plant industry developed new varieties which contained the attributes people were looking for including quicker growing plants with more flower scapes and longer bloom periods. The industry did this to rejuvenate interest and to sell the millions of older varieties still in production cycles worldwide. So now Gail is rebuilding a selection which meets common needs, a smaller number sold in larger pots affording the look that they have been in the garden for some time. The cycle continues as home gardeners will have new opportunities, slightly different shades and heights and perhaps a new look to older gardens. That's how it works, here at Vermont Flower Farm as well as in the the flower industry anywhere. Stop and see what Gail decided upon!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where a flock of Canada geese just went over, still flying low because of the clouds but honking what I will accept as "Good morning" wishes to gardeners.everywhere. I don't speak Canada goose but I always wanted to learn goose calling the way experienced callers do, not with a commercial call but with their hands and mouth. Interesting!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also as George Africa
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm
Always here to help you grow your green thumb!


takeshi007 said...
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takeshi007 said...

Start make your garden look colorful this season by adding flowers, plants and etc. A good water fountain, stone sculpture and other decoration are also a good idea to make your garden look more entertaining. You can also get good landscaping and gardening ideas here