Friday, March 05, 2021


 Reposted from my writing in the North Star Monthly, a very old Vermont publication from Danville, Vermont. Subscribe to the journal and always have a piece of Vermont close by. I love it and know you will too!  Enjoy!  George


It was clear, bright and beautiful this morning so I decided to go to the flower farm and walk the perimeter to check for animal intruders. I hadn’t seen any deer tracks when I passed by on Route 2 but last year deer came in and ate a couple of dwarf conifers even though I had enclosed them with a wire fence. One experience with any kind of loss will always remind me to check. I know from many reports from customers last spring that I was not alone in seeing some damage from deer. This year, things look good….so far!


As I walked along the river, I noticed a pair of cardinals hiding in a wild honeysuckle and later on a small irruption of evening grosbeaks resting in a Katherine Havemeyer lilac before heading for the village where bird feeders are available. I have noticed that the colder temperatures have caused snow and ice to hang on the trees for three weeks now and this has made it more difficult for birds to find their favorite foods. That causes them to move into adjacent fields and appear at feeders. It also has given bird watchers an opportunity to see birds they might not normally see. Snow buntings have been at our feeders this week and despite their hyperactive moods they are nice to see.


Covid has kept us inside more than we want so this year it’s more than seasonal affective disorder and deepening snow that reminds us that it’s winter. Cabin fever has kept more than just gardeners inside but there are some things we can do to boost our spirits. We belong to plant societies and online specialty groups for the plants we grow and sell. As example, hostas are an important plant that has always interested us and the American Hosta Society ( is one of the best organized societies I know. I think they have the absolute best journals which arrive twice a year as a published, image packed, journal and then again as an online journal. It costs $30 per year for an individual membership which arrives with a voucher for $15 towards a hosta. I especially look forward to the journals because they have biographical sketches of hybridizers, terrific pictures and stories about display gardens, hosta history, advances in viral testing, and great information on the latest registrations.


In addition to hosta journals, I use the online Hosta Library ( which is free. It contains summary information, abundant pictures (1000’s) and registration detail on all hostas, registered and unregistered.  It is the best resource I know of for anyone interested in this shade tolerant plant that’s perfect for Vermont gardens. Take a look-see and you will see what I mean.

While at the flower farm I decided to take some lilac cuttings. I usually take them a few weeks after the lilacs have bloomed in June but I read that you can also take cuttings now and root them in sand, covered for the first weeks in plastic wrap or plastic seed tray domes. I took cuttings from 8 lilacs to try this out and I’m being positive about my success. I dipped each one in rooting hormone and then put them in the front room under an eastern facing window. I mist them every day or so. If you have visited us at the farm, you might have seen that we have much of the perimeter dotted with multiples of +20 varieties of lilacs. Each spring by mid-May we have 8-12 varieties for sale if you are interested. The International Lilac Society is a great organization for lilac lovers and it’s very helpful as you learn about growers, retailers and how to grow successfully.

This time of year the larger grocery stores often have primroses in their floral departments. Primulas have become very popular perennial garden flowers in recent years even though they are sold as houseplants too. They come in all colors, bloom for some time and are attention getting, front-of-the-border plants. If you get serious about them, the  American Primrose Society ( is a membership you might want to purchase. It publishes 4 information filled journals and can direct you to specialty gardens and retail sources. The Society has just completed its annual seed exchange which is an inexpensive way to purchase primula seeds from around the world to add to your collection.

Garden blogs, garden clubs and societies, plant societies, university and extension service groups as well as a plethora of gardening magazines can help you get through cabin fever. All gardeners are generous with their time and information. Be positive. Have questions? Can’t find something you’re looking for? Need a gift certificate? Drop us a line at We’re always here to help you grow your green thumb!










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