Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Late Daylilies

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A quiet morning here on the mountain except for Karl the Wonder Dog and his pink squeaky toy. He just returned from a morning walk, all barked out after spotting a deer, and now he wants to play. It's 54.2°. and windless with thin gray clouds moving in and eastern sun pushing through blue sky here and there. It will rain at some point today but for now it's a nice morning.

The daylilies  have been spectacular this season and if you haven't stopped at Vermont Flower Farm yet you are missing something special. The +20" of rain we received over less than a month really pushed an unusual number of flower scapes skyward and the bloom counts have been super!. The daylily fields as pictured here have been in place since 2007 so many of the plants are quite large so flower counts provide plenty of color. The daylily display garden is still very wet from road problems along Route 2 but the balance of the fields within our almost 5 acres of plants are easily walkable and very nice.

Gardeners are obviously intrigued by daylilies and I can see by their questions that they know more about what is available. People ask about plant size now and like/dislike big flowers, small flowers, tall or short scapes, early-mid-late-very late season bloomers. Some have read about "rebloomers" and want plants that bloom all summer and some who have less experience ask for "one of those that blooms three months straight". I don't make points when I tell people the reality of rebloomers but I am known for providing honest information, not just a story to sell a plant.

I have to get headed to the flower farm soon to continue deadheading the fields and cleaning up from a busy week. But first, here's a list of plants in what we call the Mid to Late range here in Marshfield. We call mid season late July into August and late season from mid August into September. When you receive two weeks of  70° temperatures in late March-early April like we did this year, daylilies break dormancy and get out of sync and the bloom times vary by the plant. That's what we are seeing this year. Just the same, we are close on many plants and there's plenty to see.   Here are some examples of where we are at that Gail prepared last night based on current bloom expectations. Call or visit with questions. There are thousands of plants in bloom and we have a great selection of potted daylilies including many new to us varieties.

Some of our Mid to late season:
El Desperado
Western Sandstone
August Frost
Red Sentinel
Red Razzmatazz
The Jury's Out
Chicago Apache
Lavender Stardust
Marque Moon
Modern Design

August Bloom:

Fire King
Mighty Chestnut
Spanish Glow
Scottish Fantasy
The Jury's Out

Late Bloom:

Steeple Jackie: 4-5 feet, yellow, very late
Last man Standing
Autumn Gold
New In Town
Butterscotch Harvest

Have a great day! Come see us,

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
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!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Buy Local, Buy Vermont Flowers

Jovibarba heuffelii 'Purple Haze'

Jovibara heuffelli
Purple Haze

Monday, July 22, 2013

A quiet morning on the mountain. Light clouds float against patches of blue sky. The temperature hangs at 49.5°, the coldest morning in weeks but I love it. The humidity is low enough to notice its absence but the morning weather report suggests the humidity will be bothersome by late afternoon and the clouds will build to a storm. We don't need rain here but it is coming again.

People like to take vacations away from the state they live in.They spend hours and hours planning and saving money for trips that leave them happy but tired and often with credit card balances that detract over time from the glory of the visits. There was a time when I spent too much time on a plane or in a car and I have reduced my travel to more local visits. It works for me and I will continue. Tomorrow for example, I am leaving the flower farm in Gail's hands and traveling 90 miles to Crawford Notch in New Hampshire. I plan to hike to Arethusa Falls and then backtrack and do part of the Webster Cliffs Trail. It will be hot, it may be raining, but I will enjoy every bit of it right down to chasing away squirrels that have become begging pests at the falls.

Yesterday was a busy day at Vermont Flower Farm. The daylilies are in peak bloom, many urged on to bloom ahead of time by last week's record setting heat. Sales could have been better but we sold a lot of plants anyway. I better remember to refuel the golf cart this morning or we'll be in trouble digging plants from two different fields and hundreds of yards apart. Gail loves that cart!

Part of yesterday's plan was to close the gate at five and pack quickly to head to Glover, Vermont, +30 miles away, I had made plans for Gail, house painting friend Michelle, Alex and me to go visit Kate Butler and her Labour of Love Nursery. 

We arrived only 15 minutes later than I planned and almost immediately Gail and Michelle were letting out lots of "look at this" sounds. Adjacent to the parking area is the start of one of the finest collections of sempervivens I have ever seen and if you like the looks of hens and chickens in your dry or rock  garden, this is a must-visit place for sure. Like the named example pictured up top here, the names are tricky  but the plants-oh the plants-they are so exciting with idiosyncrasies, colors, webs.

We walked back and forth along the manicured rows of plants, often walking on patches of creeping thymes that shared fragrances with us as we walked from one exciting plant to another. As I sit here writing now I can still reflect on the fragrances that reminded me of days in Shelburne, Vermont when Gail and I grew over 50 varieties of herbs for the farmers market and we smelled those very same aromas.

Kate has a very nice collection of daylilies across the bridge and we spent some time there doing what daylily people do, talking about flower shapes and size and color and when do they open and how long do they bloom. We returned across the bridge and looked over rows of potted plants as Gail took the opportunity to add to our daylily collection with a couple we "needed". Plant collectors often get a bit obsessive and the "I need" part is questionable but a reality.

I know we could have turned around and toured the gardens all over again but  as the evening temperature cooled, our bodies reminded us that yesterday started at 5 AM and sleep was the next thing on the to-do list.

If you are out and about, think about the many fine gardens and nurseries in Vermont. They are closer than you think. Small businesses make Vermont what it is and they need your help growing on. Plane flights are fun but Vermont has a lot to offer without an airport. Ask for suggestions and we can probably help. And if you go see Kate in Glover, stop at Currier's Market. It's a part of Vermont you won't forget.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond. People are heading to work from the pond but I know they wish they didn't have to go. The weekend was beautiful and life outdoors was fun. Come visit!

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!
Yes, we do sell plants on-line. Lots of them!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Old Gardening Books

Sunday, July 14, 2013

65.5° here on the mountain, windless, quiet save for an occasional call from loons on the reservoir. One has 2 chicks I hear.  Gail is packing the car with lunch and supplies for the flower farm and I have to shift gears here soon. Time flies and often it's easy to forget what day it is. Today is my son Adam's birthday. He's 39. He lives in Seattle with wife Leah and my grandsons Max, Cooper and Griffin. The kids are like daylilies in the garden, little buds today,  beautiful offerings in short order. Yes, time flies!

Whenever I am in a used book store I look around for gardening books from times past. Newer books for example, make it difficult to find historical daylilies that started being registered in 1883. I pick up what I can and always ferret out some interesting info. This is an idea worth considering.

The book pictured up top here is titled The Suburban Garden Guide. It was published in 1911. It covers vegetables first, then garden flowers, but it avoids any mention of daylilies. As an example of perception over time, here's what it says about broccoli, a favorite vegetable of mine.

"BROCCOLI: This is really nothing but a longer-seasoned and later-maturing cauliflower, but better adapted than it for the far North. Early White, Mammoth White and Purple Cape, are good varieties."

Daylilies are in full swing at the flower farm. Some of the fields are still quite wet but we have thousands in pots ready to go and have two fields full of flowers that we will dig from. The other day Gail got a boot stuck while digging a large daylily and I guess I just need to ask that you give us a couple minutes to do the digging for you. We have some giant clumps of Ruby Spider for $40 and have a number of  20 and 30 gallon pots of popular daylilies for $38. These might be of interest if you do the math on value versus single pots. We grow them because of the current need for instant gratification.

I hear a neighbor mowing her lawn so I guess I better get with it. We are open every day 9-5, some days a little later, so stop by and visit us. The hostas are looking very good with all the rain and the daylilies are coloring up the fields and slowing traffic along Route 2. We think it's worth a visit but of course ...we're biased! Come stop and walk the fields with us.

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