Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Shady Friends

A beautiful morning here at Vermont Flower Farm. The day started at 20 degrees and is now up to 44 with the sun shining on the thermometer. There's a light haze floating above the trees, giving signal to the perimter of Peacham Pond, as yet unfrozen.

I haven't been down to the "new" Vermont Flower Farm in two days. Had to cut a Christmas tree Friday afternoon and get the trimming under way. We always have a nine foot fir balsam tree with thousands of lights and ornaments. This is a special holiday to us so the place is well decked out and includes some ornaments that were my great grandparents from days in England and Germany.

I have been reviewing maps and the sketches I have made of our new venture. It's kind of fun to lay out gardens and try to think of them in terms of being highly visible from the Route 2 highway. That means that in some places the distance will be 300-400 feet away so size and color matter, texture at that distance does not.

It was good it rained so hard a couple weeks back because I had a chance to map out the high water points likely to reoccur again and again. This is important to the low areas which will hold water in spring and fall as planting is limited and care of plant types is critical.

We intend to do a good job in the wet areas with rodgersias, ligularias, aruncus, and astilbes. We'll also use a number of the Astilboides tabularis pictured above. This one is growing here at VFF adjacent to the bog garden and although slow to get started, it is now a good three feet in diameter. Its broad leaves catch the needles from the towering white pine and the leaves of Royal ferns and a couple different rues provide contrast which catches notice to its simple beauty.

As you open books and magazines this winter on your garden design journey, try not to overlook those larger plants that some call "coarse". We think you'll enjoy them...we know we do!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where blue jays shout mysterious calls that make a lone red squirrel think differently of approaching the bird feeders.

Garden wishes,

George Africa

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