Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Planning Continues

Friday afternoon I stopped by again for a visit. The car was loaded with groceries and last minute holiday items so once I made it home, I could stay there for the weekend. As I approached the drive from Plainfield, I could see someone had added two new markers parallel to Route 2. That was a signal that the Agency of Transportation folks had stopped by to inspect the road access we had built.

If you buy a piece of property on a town road, then you approach the town for legal permission to build an access road to it. If it's off a State road, then you are required to follow a similar process with the State Agency of Transportation. Since a state highway is involved, Gail and I had to file an application with AOT, arrange a site visit, receive approval for that plan and then receive a final inspection after the work was completed. It makes sense to get the AOT people involved because they understand traffic flow, lines of sight, and also know what plans might be in process for future road changes. Other than the time involved, this process went smoothly. Probably the two points of concern were the road location and the width of Route 2.

I agreed to build the road directly across from an existing residential road across Route 2. AOT said that setting roads off from one another confuses drivers and they don't know when to turn, brake, pull out, etc. That makes sense. The problem is that the drive is steep and the water run off comes down across Route 2 and onto our drive. It's already washed out some of the fill so we'll have to get some stay mat (crushed slate/shale) in the spring and then use some straw retaining cloth on the banks and seed them down. This isn't a big affair but in any small business, dollars count and time expenditures are critical.

The main engineer felt that Route 2 was 3 rods wide and our surveyor said the road was 2 roads wide. A rod is 16.5 feet so the difference in question was 16.5 feet, 2 rods wide compared to 3 rods. At issue was where the highway right of way ends because I plan to install deer fence around the land's perimeter. Essentially the difference amounts to either 25 feet from center line or 35 feet. That difference of 10 feet times the +800 feet of road perimeter amounts to lots of lost garden potential. The land on the other side of the fence would be very difficult to access and some of it would be lost to use. Naturally it would still be taxed.

Seeing the stakes suggests that the issue has been resolved the way I felt it should. I will make a call before erecting the fence next spring to be sure we're all on the same page. If you ever buy any land for a business (or a home, camp, etc) understand these issues before hand so you're not surprised, late on your business start up, or short on cash.

Friday's mental planning was for more big plants that enjoy damp areas. Gail and I have come to enjoy ligularias (Desdemona pictured above) and apparenlty a lot of gardeners like them too based on the number we sell. I have been tracking the water level in the low areas of the property and am marking places that won't remain wet but will provide good moisture during the summer. I have it about figured out so today was just another "check to be sure","measure twice, cut once" kind of affair.

Years ago we began receiving inquiries for large leafed plants and also plants that didn't mind wet feet. Ligularies seemed to offer some garden architecture by their texture, height and color. There only shortcoming is that without even moisture during hot summer days they flatten like pancakes about 2 PM. Although they rise for the next day, the interim "down time" looks terrible. This is why they need to be properly sited. The big green one pictured above is Hessei. It blooms later than others and has nice large yellow-orange flower scapes over five feet tall.

Some plants have names which suggest you consider a new career. No wonder someone came up with the common name "The Rocket" for Ligularia prezewalskii. This is a nice plant with deep cut, dark green leaves, 5 foot flower spikes and star shaped yellow flowers that can take late summer storms but still stand tall and sway with the wind.

Desdemona, Othello and Siberica are examples of larger flowered plants. These are certain attention getters, as they provide interest to people and members of the insect world. From a distance they stand out, beckoning you closer to see what you're missing.

I plotted a few more locations and headed for home. Christmas is coming and there's still a lot to do. Planning always makes the end result that much better.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond, where this afternoon's snowflakes, sunshine and high winds confused the birds at the feeder and the writer in his office. In Vermont we like a white Christmas but sometimes it just doesn't occur that way.


George Africa

1 comment:

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I am continuing to enjoy your blog. :) I planted 'Othello' as an experiment this year in bright shade. Most of my soil is sandy, but a small area next to my driveway is either clay or compacted enough to hold more water than the rest. I figured that the payoff of having such bold foliage mixed in with the cimicifuga/actaeas and buckler ferns would be worth the chance.