Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Garden Colors, Garden Reminders

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It's a strange beginning here on the hill this morning. The sun is poking up through the balsams and tamaracks while a bank of thick, dark gray clouds is moving in. We'd all like sunshine and warmth but it almost seems as if more rain is on the way. Vermont has already set new records and we'd just as soon stop where we are.

Karl the wonder dog was very reluctant to return to the house this morning. Sharp tugs and sharp barks from the master were to no avail this time. He had a scent at the end of his nose that wouldn't go away and as I relented and went back down the hill, I crossed a bear cub track and then the mother's giant print. Karl usually displays stark fear at fresh bear scent but this was a night rover and Karl was more interested in finding what was at the end of the line. I was not. We returned to the house where the smell of fresh coffee was the scent I wanted.

The gardens here at the house look like a scene from a modified Piet Oudolf design with grasses and large swaths of color. Most of the swaths are weeds however, but the accentuating colors are Crocosmia Lucifer, shastas, gloriosas and rudbeckias. The vertical dimension comes from some lilium and the very tall Lilium superbum which I absolutely admire. Superbums are tall flowers, towering to nine-ten feet. They grow wild along parts of the Passumpsic, White and Connecticut Rivers although most botanists tell me they are not Vermont natives but simply represent escaped seeds that travelled from cultivation on high waters. To find a colony is to lose one's breath for a few minutes.

Sometimes chipmunks and other rodents seem to pick places I wouldn't have thought of to plant superbums. Here is one along the cedar garden fence. It's an odd place for a single lily ever so tall but perhaps by accident it will work well over time with the nearby Bellingham hybrid lilies, the species daylilies of the "robust class' (3 to +5 feet tall) and my favorite Tetrina's Daughter daylily.

I have many thoughts this morning but the real job beckons and I have to head north. If you have a chance today, stop and visit with Gail at the nursery on Route 2. Chicago Apache is just coming out, Green Flutter is fluttering goodbye for th season, South Seas is that special coral as only it can be. The tall yellow of Patio Parade remains strong even in tough winds and Lusty Leland's velvety red draws chuckles and people with open checkbooks and debit cards.

Best gardening wishes'

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm

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