Monday, September 24, 2007

Curiosity Continues

Monday, September 24, 2007

Another beautiful day in Vermont with a high of 79 in Burlington and very close to that even here in Marshfield. I was in St Johnsbury for a forum on autism and the ride across Route 2 showed variation in color. My guess is that within a week this area will reach peak color but right now it's fun to round a bend and see wide contrast to what you just saw. Here are two shots from yesterday morning. The first (above) is a trout breaking on nearby Osmore Pond. The second is a broad view across the swamp in the vicinity of Ethan Allen corners and Lanesboro Road.

Work continues at the new property with me as chief planter and Gail back on the hill checking and rechecking inventory lists and preparing crates of daylilies. Tonight I reached Little Dandy and Little Grapette, two older daylilies, both shades of purple and smaller sized blooms compared to many of the more modern introductions. Gail tells me there are about 14 more in the "L's" and then I am quickly on to the "M's" and the second half of the alphabet. I figure I only have about two weeks before it will become too risky to continue to transplant here. The weather has been a surprise but it's important to get the transplants well settled and rooted before the ground temperature drops. Since it appears that I will run out of prepared space before reaching X-Y-Z, I guess there's no need to fret about completing the task this fall.

Visitors continue to stop by and it often gives me a chance to stand and stretch. Arthritis is not pleasant and this carpal tunnel thing in both hands is never a problem until about 2 AM. Age comes with reminders of what you have done in life. You don't need to have been bad to have aches and pain.

This is leaf peeper season in Vermont when tens of thousands of tourists pass through the state viewing our beautiful foliage. Some have stopped to talk with me and we have always had good conversations. Yesterday it was yet another person thinking we were starting an elk farm; the next visitor reaffirmed a vineyard. The elk and deer farm guessers have been stronger than those thinking we were going to raise grapes but I have to say that vineyards and wineries have become very popular in Vermont. Our friend in gardening, Paul Tukey, editor of People, Places & Plants: The Magazine for Northeast Gardeners agreed that wine has become big business in New England because in the Autumn 2007 issue of his magazine he features ample notice to how important this has become. Vermont has 10 vineyards, Maine 10, New Hampshire 6, Massachusetts 24, Rhode Island 6 and Connecticut 17. I'm trusting the magazine and my counting ability but the numbers shows how important an industry has caught on.

We aren't planning to grow grapes but a few years back Alex got interested in grapes and asked Rich Ducharme of Hillcrest Nursery in Cabot for recommendations on two varieties. From the time they were planted they were never cared for but annually this time of year the deer and birds frequent the long vines and make a regular feast of what has grown. If you get a chance, pick up a copy of this magazine and find out how to grow your own grapes or build an arbor. At very least, the various articles will push you in one direction or another. These are some of our grapes, variety unknown.

Today was busy and things are winding down for the night. I just heard the squeak of one of the outside faucets which means Gail has given up on watering for the night. It's been dark for a good 20 minutes but she will never quit until a row is finished. I do not share that trait and for me, it's a pleasant "Good Gardening, Good Evening." to each of you.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the second hatch of mourning doves are almost under foot in the garden; they look for food but show no interest in testing their little wings.

George Africa
A Vermont gardener


Christa said...

Breathtaking views of the changing colors, and no doubt, cooler days up there where you are. Can't wait until we start seeing some fall color in these parts (DC area).

Just started trying to grow some grapes this year, not for a vineyard, but just to grow a few here in the backyard. Starting from a small cutting a friend gave me. He told me it might take two more years until we see grapes. Is this true? Then the hard part will be keeping the birds away!

George Africa said...

Hello Christa;

Your friend is correct on how long before you see any grapes. With small cuttings it might even be a little longer. One commercial place along Lake Champlain here in Vermont had to petition the Dept of Agriculture and a couple other branches of Vermont government for permission to add grapes from New York to give them enough for their first run. If I remember correctly they planned three years for their first wine production but didn't have enough grapes yet to meet their goals. You can't advertise "grown in Vermont" if you're mixing outside product--that was the dilemma they faced.

If you do a good job planting--kind of like planting a peony--the reward will be worth it.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener