Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Spacing Hostas

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I'm heading to the flower farm in minutes and by the end of the day I'll be heading to Maine for a few days starting with time at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. Before I leave,  I wanted to invite anyone thinking about developing a hosta garden to consider stopping by Vermont Flower Farm in the next week or so to see how I have planted things.

Hostas are easy plants to deal with but it's difficult sometimes to know the mature size. Here in Vermont it takes 5-6 years for most plants to max out and sometimes this is confusing based upon less than accurate registration information regarding mature size. Saying a hosta will be small and finding it's a "small" monster may mean you didn't leave enough room for the mature plant. Planting some variety of  Sum and Substance by the back door may leave you with a nice mental image at planting time but a difficult entrance down the road 4-5 years.  I guess I am just suggesting that any information to use as reference might be useful and our gardens could serve to help.

If you're out and about, stop by and walk down to the display garden. The potted hostas are looking especially nice this year and most all are featured on our website,

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the fog is thick and where Karl the Wonder Dog wants to go for a second walk. 

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
On Facebook as George Africa and also as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens

Always here to help you grow your green thumb!

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Daylilies: Digging, Dividing, Replanting

 Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Day 2016. 36.1° at almost 6 AM, the warmest morning we have had in a couple weeks. The waning crescent moon offers up 35% illumination through thickening clouds as the darkening sky serves in obvious contrast to yesterday's wonderful blue sky and bright sunlight. Yesterday was a busy day at the flower farm and it left us with a few new aches and pains but with a great sense of accomplishment. Friends Julie and Michelle arrived to help, Julie with planting and Michelle with weed whacking. Alex dug and divided daylilies and Gail and I did what we do everyday--a little of everything. I asked Michelle to take some quick shots of Alex and me as we worked up some of the species daylily named Citrina, a tall lemony color with a fragrance to match.

Alex has the "digging" part of this process figured out now and he can get a bunch of daylily clumps out of the ground in short order. We use the black plastic bulb crates from years gone by to carry and lift the clumps to the truck and then we set up by the edge of the field to work off the tailgate and divide the clumps. We always use the 99 cent, throw-away knives that box stores sell so when they get dull they can be tossed away. It's still quite a chore to get through the clumps and Citrina is an example of a tough daylily. These had been in the ground for about 4 years and the clumps weighed about 35-40 pounds each before we started to break them down.

Once the clumps are broken down--usually into quarters, we wash them with water and then throw them into crates based upon size.


Often when we divide large roots like these Citrina, folks think the roots will die because we are cutting straight through big masses. We usually let them dry off for a couple days before planting and have never had any losses. 

It's an ongoing process but one of many that Alex has picked up with a sense of enthusiasm. I know he is doing well when I hear him singing to himself. Autism is something that never goes away but there are certain things that make daily life better. Alex loves being outside and really enjoys the company of the variety of friends who appear to help us get through spring planting and summer responsibilities.

Everything we do in these pictures follows what we have been doing for years and years so if you are apprehensive about cutting up your daylilies.... with fear of daylily death or destruction... fear not!

You might find yourself a little mud-spattered and wet  during the process, your back might ache a bit from bending and lifting but the end product will be crates, baskets or buckets of divisions that  will bring a certain joy and a few happy smiles. 

Give it a try!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond this morning. Rain is predicted for later today and all day tomorrow so I'm out the door in minutes to get some outside work done. If you stop by the flower farm today and it's raining, we're likely to be in the office getting orders ready for tomorrow's mail. We officially open next Saturday but despite the many things that need to be organized before then, we are open for the season, seven days a week, 9-5 but usually later. Stop and visit!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as George Africa and also as the Like page, Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm
Writing on various other social media resources

And always here to help you grow your green thumb!