Friday, April 11, 2008

Spring Thoughts, Snowflake Sparkles

Friday, April 11, 2008

Already 7:30 PM here on the hill. The temperature is down to 34 degrees and the rain continues to pound the standing seam roof as ice crystals from somewhere high above bounce off the windows. The snow is melting to our pleasure even though there is a chance that tomorrow morning will find heavy wet stuff everywhere. This is April in Vermont and this is what is supposed to happen.

Gail is off visiting friends tonight so Alex and I are on our own. When I returned home from work, the pile of mail was on the table and some spaghetti and meatballs was the intended meal. Self service is kind of ok with me as Gail has had a difficult time lately with her Mom. Frankly I don't know how she does what she does but Gail has great concern for others and never seems to forget what they need or when they need it.

Near the mail was a catalog opened to page 28 "Orange". I knew in an instant she had been successful in locating a source for a hybrid tomato named Sun Gold that our Director of Hydrological Services was having trouble locating. Winnie is 80 years old but don't tell anyone. She is also the only person we have ever found who really and truly enjoys watering with a garden hose and talking to the plants at the same time. She was having trouble finding seed for these small fruited, cherry type tomatoes which are described as "Very sweet, bright orange...taste not just sugary but also fruity and delicious. A vigorous grower, these tall plants bear long clusters of fruit." The catalog was Tomato Growers Supply Company, PO Box 60015 Ft. Meyers, Florida 33906

I can't vouch for the catalog but after stopping at half a dozen stores and trying web searches from companies I know, this was quite a find and I'm grateful Gail remembered. I know Winnie will be pleased too. One store owner tried to sell me something that was "close, and also very good". I replied, "Thank you very much, you do not know older folks yet." Old folks want what they want and they don't want substitutes. It could be something as simple as Quaker Oatmeal or Blue Bonnet Margarine but that's what they want. Nothing new, nothing different. I'll order a package up on-line in a few minutes and next week I'll put together a flat full of seed starting mix and make the delivery. With snow still on the ground here, there's plenty of time for Winnie to get these going.

As the snow melts here at 1530 feet, gardeners in low elevations already are on their way to a joyous festival of hellebore blooms. This is an interesting plant I learned of years back from Barry Glick of Sunshine Farm and Gardens, Renick West Virginia. Barry bills his business as selling Uncommonly Rare and Exceptional Plants for the Discriminating Gardener and Collector. People have told me that I am an uncommonly rare and exceptional gardener including Gail so perhaps that explains why I like everything Barry sells.

It seems odd that I am so pleased with a plant that looks so ratty in the spring with brown, tattered, left over foliage, prostrate on the ground, flattened from winters' snow pack. Just the same, to be able to see incredible color surrounded by melting snow is a welcome sight we enjoy here.

Hellebores come in lots of varieties but so far I have stuck with the most common. They are doing well in the lower garden and have begun to seed in well. I have no plans to relocate any to our new nursery and will just buy in some more from Barry to get going. That won't be this year as we're already too busy but this fall or next spring we will for sure.

This plant will be blooming here in about three weeks. That's a guess because they are under two feet of snow right now but that is going fast. Any where that the ground has been bear, my guess is they are showing buds by now. Although Barry is at over 4000 feet at his nursery, his website temperature gauge says it's 69 degrees there so I expect he has some real good bloom.

It's June here before we get some good looking foliage back on the plants but by then you don't even notice because so many other flowers are in bloom. In the meantime you received that spring jump start you needed and even if snowflake sparkles had been pounding on your window or your spring thoughts had been dampened by three consecutive days of rain, I'm sure the colors of hellebores would have brightened your thoughts. It always works for me! Try some and you'll see.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where enough of the edge ice of the pond opened today to permit a flock of Canadian geese to set down tonight for a rest and a snack. Think I need a snack too!

Good gardening thoughts!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm

1 comment:

Barbee' said...

I have been to Barry's web site many times to drool over his beautiful plants. Even tried to name a few in his contest.

Enjoyed your post very much. Had to smile about the old folks. Getting there myself.