Sunday, April 19, 2009

Shade House on a Sunny Day

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Yesterday was a cold, damp, sometimes drizzly day and today was sunny, bright and 56 degrees with a stable wind that never let me really get warmed up. Both days shared one goal: to erect the new 30 X 60 foot shade house. This is the third shade house we own and every one has been purchased from RIMOL Greenhouse Systems in Hooksett, NH, 1-877-746-6544. RIMOL is the largest pipe bender in New England and although you can purchase from many other dealers, there's a good chance the pipe came from RIMOLs anyway. I figure if I buy a couple more I'll have the installation part down to a science. This one is the "squarest" yet and was actually more of a challenge to erect because the land slopes down to the Winooski River.

I started yesterday by getting the pipe layed out and some of the holes dug with the power auger. My neighbor Kim showed up about noon and in 4 hours we had the full house erected. Today I went back and added the stabilizers on each pole and tomorrow after work I'll go back and space those properly and tighten everything up.

There are a lot of variables involved in making anything square and it's just not a responsibility that you can force to go quicker. Measuring several times, using a level, eye balling up and down, back and forth all result in a better looking structure. I have to say that when the shade cloth is on and the house is full, about the only guy who can see the problems is the installer but just the same there are many reasons to do it right from the beginning.

This particular house will have the hosta overflow from the other two houses as well as all the astilbes, the actaeas, rodgersias, epimediums and astilboides tablularis. Gail is a "mover" when it comes to her displays and if things don't sell in one place, she moves them to a new location. This translates to some other plants ending up in the new house too.

The potted plants on the ground in the pictures are just beginning to show new growth. They need some rain or watering to get going but they spent last winter right about where you see them. In a week they'll all be lined up and accompanied by new products that will begin arriving next week. If you're out and about, stop by and say hello. We're not officially open yet but we always make sales and always offer advice.

Good gardening wishes!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm Our newly revised site with some great pictures and good gardening
ideas to help quell your springtime garden anxieties.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Spring Thoughts!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's Day but here on the mountain we are not pranksters and we just sit and watch others in their small glories. We always seem to be too busy this time of year to get into that kind of spirited fun and this year we're more busy than ever. Gail is getting ready to take a load of clothes and durable medical goods to the Salvation Army and I have some construction work that has to get started. We're only a couple weeks away from transplanting time and we have to make good use of our time between now and then.

I just finished a phone conversation with the building supplier who wanted to schedule a tractor trailer with a 52 foot box trailer to make a delivery here. I cautioned him with an explanation of deep snow and thick mud and we mutually agreed three weeks from now would be more safe for the driver and us. Mountain life has different challenges than living along Lake Champlain where lake temperatures present a different weather set than here.

My last post about hellebores was more to encourage me to get through until real spring than to suggest we have them blooming here now. It won't be long but they are under lots of snow in the lower hosta garden. My thoughts are on what plants we have started so far and what is planned. Yesterday an order arrived with 50 astilboides tabularis. The order came a month early and I'm still thinking about what to do with them. If I had space in the fridge they'd be there but they really need to be planted. They are a great plant with 3 foot wide leaves over time like a plant from the Jurassic Age. The roots are dry now and the buds are thick so I don't have much time to reach a conclusion.

As I think about summer, I always think about how many new gardeners we saw last year and how many more we expect this year. Daylilies are a great flower to start a garden with because they are easy to grow and dependable. As I move on to other chores today, here are some more pictures of daylilies that you'll find at Vermont Flower Farm. Our website has a fresh new look so give it a try at If you are one of the 18% of the US population who has a computer but must still use dial-up for a connection, remember that we have lots of pictures. Up top is Patio Parade, followed next down here by Jeune Tom.

Island Sand Dollar

Janice Brown

Jungle Beauty

Late Pink

Lady Fingers

If you have any gardening questions, need more info after looking at our site, or have any good recipes for hungry springtime gardeners, mail us at Gardeners make good friends and are always happy to share!

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where 46 degrees and a 21 mph wind take away thoughts of spring.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm newly updated and better than most catalogs!