Saturday, April 28, 2007

Spring rains, spring wild flowers

Saturday, April 28, 2007

7 AM here on the hill. 42 degrees and foggy. A light mist is falling from above and two drenched mourning doves are pecking out the last millet seeds from the corners of the platform feeders.
Spring is here. I'm a little foggy myself as I was out last night on the amphibian monitoring program, walking the road with two flashlights that weren't strong enough to see anything but water logger night crawlers.

I don't know about you but when I get interested in a blog I go back often looking for new information and new stories. I get a little miffed when authors go on vacation or just drop out of sight altogether. I must admit I became one of my own "enemies" the past couple weeks for a variety of reasons. We've been helping with a piece of autism legislation in Montpelier, had a 90th b-day party for Gail's mother, spent the beauty of last weekend raking leaves, dawn to dust, and have had a slew of doctor and dentist appointments to get out of the way. We still have a week's worth of leaf raking but Alex and Gail helped me get the plastic on the greenhouse and now we're ready to pot plants no matter what the weather.

This time of year gets us sparked up and the hellebores and hepaticas now blooming in the lower garden bring an instant beauty that helps with the spark. The hellebores look terrible because of the way the weather cycle changed from January to a couple weeks ago but I can tell the second flush of flowers will be special. Right now there are three different colors in bloom and for once the foliage looks great.

There is some interesting work going on now with hybridizing hepaticas and I think in a few years this work will be introduced to the perennial gardening world. I can't site any hybridizers off the top here, as I have followed this interest on bunny hopping Internet cruises. Regardless, if you like this plant like Gail does, do some research.

Wednesday night Gail and I went to visit the new land. The Winooski River was up and roaring but the land was not as wet as we expected. The new driveway had settled in nicely and the $700 worth of manure delivered last fall shrunk to half the size and Gail's dismay. It's really ok as that's what happens with organic matter. In a couple-three weeks when we finish planting here, we'll attack the new gardens and dump tons of other organic material into the gardens we rototilled last summer. This is the time to take a quick look at this land as you drive by because things will begin to happen soon.

I mentioned last winter that I had found that the upper corner of the property we bought served as a staging area perhaps 30-40 years ago for road sand for the state and local highway crews. If you pass by now you can see an old road that staggers somewhat parallel to Route 2 and the Winooski River. It's more obvious now that I have cut out mountains of brush. It's on that first ridge that's I'll begin planting hostas in June.

This hosta picture is taken in our lower garden here on Peacham Pond Road but it gives a good rendering of what we plan for our new gardens. We want a large display of hostas which over time will begin to mesh together with different colors, heights and ripples. If you aren't used to this large a concept it may be hard to imagine but in five years it will be a show stopper and you'll have no excuse for not stopping. If you see me out working come the end of May, stop anyway and chat. I won't stop working but I won't stop talking either. Ask Gail.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where the loons call morning conversations to their friends in transit overhead. Seeing loons in flight is like seeing moose in Vermont. It may take a while but you'll be excited when it happens.

Spring gardening wishes,

George Africa

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