Sunday, January 24, 2016

Lists, Just Lists

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A beautiful morning here on the mountain. 3 mph breezes provide a wind chill of -7° but the sun is so bright, only the thick hoar frost reminds us to dress well before heading out. I have been out twice with Karl the Wonder Dog and each time he made a hasty retreat for the house and curled in front of the wood stove even before I could get my boots off. The birds were tardy getting to the feeders this morning but they are there in great abundance now. One mature blue jay sits on a fence post outside my office window calling nasties to me about "where's the seed, where's the seed?" 

January means different things to different gardeners. At our house, Gail prepares the income taxes and I try to do web work and review the summer's photos and sort them into the appropriate folders. I am a terrible photographer but with the digital world, I take a lot of pictures and seem to get by. The pictures help with our website, blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin, and all the other social media formats we use. 

Reviewing pictures reminds me of things I accomplished and things I never got to. This picture includes more things I didn't accomplish than those that I did in the hosta display garden. The orange handled shovel marks the spot where I got far enough to dig an oversized hole for a couple Quick Fire hydrangeas. The soil there is really gravel except for the top 8"-10" because the area was originally a staging area for sand and gravel for the nearby road system. I amended the soil and got it ready to plant but something big must have interrupted me because I never even brought down the hydrangea from the display area.  

The box elders should have been trimmed last year but that didn't happen either. Box elders belong to the maple family. They have a lifespan of maybe 30 years and their wood grows quickly with a few twists and turns that make it susceptible to winter and summer storms. The tree is also a magnet for the box elder bugs which reproduce in large numbers and seem to enjoy trying to get into nearby buildings. If I had my way the elders would be gone but I have to be patient as the sugar maples, lindens, yellow locust and North Pole Thuja I have planted mature.

Perhaps two dozen of the hostas on display are ready for dividing. Few of those are potted and ready for sale so although their presence on display is great, it's poor customer relations to say "next year" instead of "let me help you with a pot or two." This spring before our new plant orders arrive, my plan is to begin with the small sized hostas that need division and get them divided out for Gail to pot up. As many gardeners downsize their homes and gardens, smaller hosta seem more popular now than the larger types. In fact, many of our hostas that are registered as medium have grown so wide in the display garden that I fear they scare people with their width. 

I always have good intentions but 2-3 people--me, Gail and Alex-- caring for almost 5 acres of garden is a challenge at times. Just changing the oil in three tillers, the zero turn mower, the golf cart and the tractor takes an entire day if I'm not interrupted...or find an additional mechanical problem that I didn't know about. Just the same we are reminded every day how nice things look and with some luck, those very fine compliments will continue. Come visit in 2016!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where interruptions have brought me up to 11 o'clock and the temperature to 16.2°. Lookin' nice outside.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as a personal page, George Africa, and as a Like Page, Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens.
Also writing on a variety of gardening related social media.

And always here to help you grow your green thumb!

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