Friday, March 05, 2021



Sometimes I get busy at the flower farm and forget to post articles that are published in North Star Monthly, a very special monthly journal that I write for. NSM is a Danville, Vermont publication with a long Vermont history. Whether you live in Vermont or not, it's a subscription that will keep you entertained. Here's what I wrote this summer.



Still dark here at our home on the mountain above Peacham Pond. I truly miss those days in May when I can get into the garden by 4:30. No more of that luxury now! I just returned from 5 glorious days hiking trails in Down East Maine and I’m ready to take advantage of these last few days of good weather and do some more planting at the flower farm. By the time you read this there will be snow for sure.


What a summer we had with record setting heat, drought, a short water supply in our water source—the Winooski River. On the positive side, and despite or maybe “because of” Covid, there was an incredible interest in gardening—all gardening—and we saw first time gardeners come to the farm, bring their kids, bring their parents, bring their pets. They were interested in all plants, trees and shrubs, vegetable starts, annual and perennial flowers. I will never forget the beautiful little girl who accompanied her Mom and asked if we had cucumber plants. I asked what they were growing this year and then learned they were excited about their vegetables. They lived in Washington DC before and had never gardened. They told me they were going to can vegetables—a new experience for them—and went on to say they were excited about canning vegetables but were having a terrible time finding canning jars and lids. This was back in June when I was still offering ideas for people before the supply dwindled. The kiddo told me they love tomatoes and couldn’t wait to can them. “How many tomatoes are you growing?” I asked. “Two”. I smiled. Like my Dad used to tell me, you have to start somewhere.


This past year we cancelled many plant orders and worked hard to dig and divide a few thousand more perennials from our own stock than we usually do. We had no idea the season would turn out as well as it did—our best summer in 35 years. But when you get older like me, you have to make better decisions on money so we limited hydrangeas and many other plants and shrubs we typically buy in. By the end of this growing season, we placed large replacement orders so regardless of what Spring 2021 brings us, we will have stock for when you are ready to plant again.


Three plants that have gained in popularity are lilacs, peonies and hydrangeas. I mention them because of how many we sold this past summer and of a renewed interest in each one based upon magazine articles and new-to-the-shelf gardening books. Gardeners always grew these, way back when and now they want them again. Lilacs and peonies bloom here in June and hydrangeas begin to bloom later in July. They all like full sunshine and do not like wet feet. For 2021, we will have 6 varieties of lilac, 33 varieties of peony including 5 Itohs, and 20 different hydrangeas. The lilacs and hydrangeas will add a new dimension to your gardens with their height and width. Both of these require some annual pruning to grow to their best flowering potential. They also require some forethought before planting so you are clear on how they will look by years 3 or 4 when their maturity brings great pleasure with abundant flower.


We have a successful collection of pollinator plants available at the flower farm and two years running we almost ran out of everything. Our 10 foot by 60 foot pollinator display garden will be entering year three and it’s a beauty and worthy of a visit. It’s a combination of perennial and annual flowers that backs up to the river and an adjacent field of wild flowers. The garden is a magnet for insects, butterflies, moths, bees and birds. Our friend Jody loves the place as she takes bazillions of pictures of previously unseen beauties and then retreats home to identify them. Each insect loves a specific plant and as it feeds, it entertains. We love them! The garden is a great one to share with your children, grandchildren, neighbor’s children. It is a fun place with many opportunities to work into your home schooling or remote learning programs too.


Gardens have a way of bringing a peacefulness that is ever so necessary in times like these. Consider building a place in your garden to sit and relax. Maybe just establish a time each week, each day, each time you need to recharge yourself and walk your gardens, see the change, enjoy the new color, the new birds. Be safe! If you need any help planning gardens—even over the winter when you might think we aren’t accessible—give us a call at 802-426-3505 or email us at We’re always here to help you grow your green thumb!

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