Saturday, August 23, 2008

Zinnia Time

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Heading for 9 PM already so it has been a long enough day here at Vermont Flower Farm. I was later than usual getting to Route 2 to open for business today but figured folks would not stop by until well after lunch because of the good weekend weather. I was right about that so I had some time to get a few things caught up. Every morning we begin by picking a representative daylily from the garden of each variety we have in bloom. This time of year things are slowing down so it didn't take as long.

I just got in full swing with one row remaining to draw from and I heard a car coming down the flat, obviously in trouble and sputtering like an engine on it's last leg. It coasted into our driveway entrance, half blocking the area. Before I could make it to the top of the field, the owner, a woman with three kids in tow, asked if she could use the phone as her cell phone didn't work in our area and her car, (why yes!) just "stopped".

Many people in Vermont, and around the country for that matter, try to make a car go forever. Cars are expensive and so are clothes for three kids going off to school next week. This car was a 2000 Ford van and my money is on the fact it won't ever run again. Two calls to her friends, one to AAATravel for the wrecker and by 9:40 things were back to normal for me but not for the "carless" family.

I got back to picking sunflowers for sale as cut flowers and then zinnias by the bucketfull. People always have liked zinnias and I remember them from my first days in Vermont when the neighboring farm ladies, Fidelia and Lillian, and their mother, Eunice, had a flower garden with rows of 'State Fair' zinnias growing tall all season.

As I finished the picking, I checked the water pump and happily found that it was still working well. I began dead heading the daylilies in the field when Winnie, our Chief of Hydrological Services (80 something years old and better fit than me!) called to see if Gail had arrived and if so was she ready for some fresh coffee. Winnie is a special person who does the work of many local people helping our community. We are somehow on the list she maintains and she helps water plants and do odds and ends including making coffee for Gail when she needs a cup.

Gail arrived and the coffee and conversation seemed to give sufficient jump-start on the bouquet making project which went on for an hour. I had picked buckets of various sizes of zinnias as well as foliage from cosmos and some stems of Eupatorium maculatum 'Gateway' I thought would make nice filler..... and it did.

I had some errands to run too including a stop to pick up a load of calcium sulphate, more commonly known as gypsum. I am getting closer to tilling 8 more 12 X 50 foot gardens and as soon as that is finished, I need the gypsum to break down the clay. By the time I got back at 6 PM, the place was quiet and I could sit for a minute and enjoy the things we have accomplished so far this summer. If you get a chance to come visit, you'll probably be as amazed as we are.

As I sat in the hosta shade house, I was reminded that Austin is with us for one more week before returning to college. He'll keep the Chevy loaded next week and will continue planting the various display gardens. He's been a real asset too and like the zinnias, has grown this summer and learned a lot about this kind of business.

Time for sleep as I have to move the tractor in the morning. Hope you enjoyed the day.

Good gardening!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm


lynn'sgarden said...

Hi George,
My recent favorite pastime has been
reading daylily blogs and I am truly impressed with yours..your photos are beautiful! Next time I'm in Vermont, your nursery will be on my list to visit! Thanks for sharing,

George Africa said...

Hello Lynn;

Thanks for your comment. When you know you are coming to Vermont again, let me know and I'll try to match some possible gardens with your route. Our nursery is in its first summer at a new location but we are very proud of what we have accomplished so far. Things are winding down just as summer has finally greeted us!

George Africa

Beth said...

Hi George - LOVED your zinnias! They are truly on the top of my "most favorite flower" list. Profusions are my favorites right now. I get to Vermont about every 5years when I visit my sister in northwest Massachusetts. Any nice gardens to visit in the Bennington area that you can recommend?