Sunday, March 09, 2014

My Modern Design

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A bright morning with a clear sky, pink showing through the trees and crows talking loudly as they head for the reservoir. I have been busy--out twice with Karl the Wonder Dog, have fed the birds and have written three notes answering flower questions about potential orders from our website. Life is fine today!

The daylily pictured here is named Modern Design. I have liked it since I first saw it and it grows well. I don't think Gail got around to potting any more last fall but it is growing in the lower garden and available if you are interested. It is a dormant tetraploid so it grows very well into zone 3, probably zone 2, it's 26" tall, offers a 4" flower size and this past fall I was impressed with how long it blooms into cooler weather. Think about trying one.

What caught my attention this morning was the name as I am often asked about how I design gardens. Some of you may have seen me standing with a couple customers scratching out a plan on a clipboard with a pencil that never seems sharp enough. I employ what I call "modern design" but really it's just "my design."

New gardens to me have to give consideration to New England weather. When the snow melts, the back roads are muddy and the cold gives suggestion of leaving for good, people like to see color appear. They deserve it, they want it, they admire it if they don't have it. As such I try to think about what provides jump starts to the gardens and to birds and insects as weather warms and we see all kinds of animal life.

Native wild flowers are great additions and most have been hybridized now so they offer stronger and larger plants and different colors than we might be accustomed to. I favor trilliums and remember when I began an interest in them,  I referenced all my research to a book by  Fred Case and his wife Roberta. It was simply titled Trilliums and was published by Timber Press. At that time they spoke of 42 varieties but now days there are probably a couple times that many, perhaps more. Hepaticas are another plant that is becoming extremely popular. The colors and sizes make you want to forget the costs and just buy some.  Ashwood Nurseries in the United Kingdom is an example. Then there are Galanthus, our favorite snowdrops, that are like a hit on the music charts or a best seller on the NY Times list. They cannot be beat and no longer are just the whites we remember as kids as colors now include greens and yellows and fringes and doubles and all sorts of spring happiness. There are a couple very good snow drop groups on Facebook: Snowdrops and Galanthophiles,  and Snowdrops in American Gardens.  Trout lilies follow suit with some great hybridizing and orchids, oh the orchids by super hybridizers like Michael Weinert . This list goes on but the point is native wild flowers can get a spring garden going with a little effort. If you add spring bulbs, the colors and fragrances will carry on until the pulmonarias are working well, hummingbirds return (around May 5-6-7 here) and the other more familiar flowers, trees and shrubs bud and bloom.  Don't think about my "modern design, give yours a try!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where I notice that the American Goldfinch males are showing some minor color change and woodpeckers are pecking for insects underneath the plywood of my platform feeders. If you have some time this afternoon, get out and get some sunshine and look for the steam from a sugar house. Another sign of spring.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also my personal page George Africa
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm
And....... always here to help you grow your green thumb!

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