Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Grow An Extra Row

Tuesday, June 24, 2008
58 degrees here on the hill and water continues to drip from everything after last night's rain. I came home from the nursery about 7:30 and barely made it to the house before the thunder boomers began. It was a noisy affair with lots of lightning flashes but all the hits were 5 to 7 miles away. The rain fell hard and long and will be apparent later as I make my way down the mountain and off to work.

Gail and Michelle worked at the nursery all day trying to fill in the intended daylily display garden with more and more daylilies. We are trying to incorporate examples of every daylily we have in our collection and want to have large plants which will carry their example for a maximum amount of time. I have been digging extra holes in my spare time and Austin has too so it makes the planting a bit easier. The hard part is getting them out of the various planting areas here on Peacham Pond Road and then up into the truck. It's looking better every day and from Route 2, the color is beginning to become apparent.

Gail has been selling cut peonies and sales have been exceptional with everything selling each day. I am amazed at the reaction from some folks when they see we are selling half a dozen fresh stems for $9.50. Yesterday a customer doubted the accuracy of my price calculation but when I got to the root of the problem, I found she was used to paying $7 a stem in Boston. She favors peonies and had quite a smile when she left. Last week we received a call from Florida and a florist wanted a "ton" of peonies for a special wedding. We turned down the request as we are just too busy right now to spend the extra time. It is apparent that those that love peonies will spend a bundle to advance their enjoyment.

Emma dropped by about 6 en route to some local kayacking. She works with the Lake Champlain Basin Project and we worked together last summer on a water flow monitoring project on the Winooski River here in Marshfield, Plainfield and Cabot. Emma conducts a rain garden project and has planted a number of gardens around central and northwest Vermont. This is a subject in itself but the foundation of water gardens is something you might consider exploring as they have great merit and help the environment a lot. As we stood by the miniature hostas and talked, a Coopers hawk came bursting out of the sky and grabbed a songbird, dragging it to earth and heading into an adjacent tree for dinner feasting. This all took seconds and was a National Geographic quality shot I can only relive in my memory. The speed of that accipiter is amazing.

I am including a poster that Anson Tebbetts sent us. He is the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture here in Vermont and he has lots of marketing experience from previous work with Channel 3 television in Burlington. He's a great person and he and his family have been Vermont Flower Farm customers for some time. Vermont's Grow An Xtra Row campaign is similar to the Garden Writer Association's Plant a Row For The Hungry campaign. Both convey the message that extra fruits and vegetables have a great need and benefit the hungry when donated to your local food shelf or community kitchen. The need has never been greater and a couple extra seeds means some extra food of excellent nutritional value to those in need. In the winter time I sometimes help unload the food truck at the Marshfield food shelf and you only have to do this once to see the line of those in need and the message comes home. I always think of children first and remember the hard times when I was a kid. This year will be especially difficult with the price of heating fuels so help others by growing a little extra and donating. Don't put it off, just do it!

Guess I better get going here. I have a few things to load up and drop off at the nursery for Gail. My work day includes Berlin, Waterbury and Morrisville so once I head out the door I won't be back until after 6. Hope your day goes well too!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the peonies are in tremendous bloom and the astilbes are beginning their summer display. If you don't have astilbes yet, stop by Route 2 and take a look at 70 varieties. The almost constant rains have made them grow better than ever.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm Our website where we sell nice flowers and offer fine visual enjoyment. Take a look!

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