Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Climate change may be the cause here, if you are into that philosophy, but for the life of me I don't know why the lilium are coming on so strong when all it has done here for weeks is rain. Today, on a day when I wanted to garden in rain-free weather, I had to travel north for client visits. By the time I got to the garden, the air had warmed and big clouds had amassed. Customers were nowhere to be found until the evening commute began and even then most folks wanted to look and talk and not part with any money.

The lilies look quite nice, especially considering the fact that I refuse to spend time I don't have this year trying to spray for the ubiquitous lily leaf beetle. There aren't any lilies at our new location, just here on the hill where we have raised tens of thousands over the years. Although the leaves and stems are totally disfigured on some lilies, the bulk remain unscathed so I guess my use of dormant oil spray last year may have done the trick. If you haven't considered this, scroll back and find a blog I wrote about defending against the beetle.

This is the time of year when travel within about 30 miles of here confirms the number of people who visited Vermont Flower Farm over the years and purchased lilies for their gardens. I wish I had a list of those customers so I could send out an invitation to come to our new location on Route 2. When we were at the top of our game with lilies, the list would have been a long one. Now we have already begun to fade from the numbers and when we visit Harold and Leila up in Morrisville we don't know the fine lilies they display in their collection.

Asiatic lilies usually bloom around July 4th, starting with the pixies and moving to the regular size, then the longiflorum-asiatics. Right now there is a mix of everything in bloom. Factually, if you travel through Plainfield which is about 800 feet lower in elevation than here, even the shorter Orientals are showing color. Sure is an interesting year.

The peonies have had about all the driving rains they can take and although many still have buds, the majority have been driven to uselessness. From a distance, the colors look fine but as you approach the plants or rows, it becomes clear that the short season is shorter still. Today I hung up two bouquets that didn't sell on the back nursery wall. They will dry well there.

The daylilies are beginning to bloom and early varieties like Stella, Happy Returns, Lemon Lolypop, Golden Chimes, and Lady Scarlet are out. I have seen a few Nile Crane, an older Munson daylily that Gail and I like, Selma Rose, and then Rooten Tooten Red from Oaks. Many are budded up nicely and some look early to me but who knows--maybe there is a temperature change that is moving things along.

It's heading for 9 PM and the truck still needs to be unloaded and Karl the wonder dog needs a walk. Gail is preparing a lasagna for the crew tomorrow and Alex is asking for some assistance with a computer question. Guess I better get going.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where it's 61 degrees out, calm and clouding over. A barred owl hoots from across the street, perhaps commenting on the sign I placed in the drive today. "MOVED---the nursery has moved......."

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm A fine place to buy some very good plants

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