Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Daffodils are Blooming

It's a good thing, too as our "Daffodil Walk" is this coming Sunday late afternoon.  All the earliest ones are in bloom now-none are gone by.  The cyclamenious (sp?) group are going strong: 'Peeping Tom', 'February Gold', 'Rapture', 'Jetfire'(came into bloom today).  Also, 'Ice Follies' is flowering as are 'Pentewan' or 'California', 'Van Sion' or 'Telemonias Plena', 'Mount Hood'(I think), 'Spellbinder', 'Tete-a-tete','King Alfred II',  The snowdrops are past but the Chionodoxa and Scilla are peaking now and the Forsythia is just coming into bloom--I have 'Northern Gold', 'Northern Sun', 'Vermont Sun', 'New Hampshire Gold', and 'Meadowlark'.  I also planted a new one called 'Show Off' last year but they got somewhat deered.

Somwtime soon I'm planning to write a "book report" on 'Embroidered Ground' by Page Dickey which is an excellent book I finished reading this week.

I'm somewhat busy getting ready for the walk--cooking, cleaning ,raking etc.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Garden Party in 12 days

I'm trying to get everything ready for our annual "Daffodil Walk" which is a garden tea party.  I'm trying to make sure the place is somewhat presentable - the gardens that is.  The porch still has has a hoarder's load of household goods cascading off it on all sides but it is better than it was.  I'm now trying to bake in the evenings so there will be food.  I haven't yet started to see about the teapots and cake dishes and trays--and cups.

I'm trying not to worry that the daffodils haven't really started to bloom yet.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Vegetable Garden

I've been eating out of my vegetable garden for the past 3 days.  Dandilions are up and delicious this early, before they become bitter.

I planted peas-actually sugar snaps, radishes, lettuce, spinach and arugula.  It may be a little early but I bet at least the arugula will germinate and be fine

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Layered Garden by David L Culp

This a wonderful new (2012) book both well written and full of beautiful photographs. Culp is poetic and witty but not sharp, snide or nasty, quite down to earth and humble--not at all pompous or pious. The concept of a layered garden is one changes with the seasons and is nice all year long.   Here are some of the important points I got:

If you are a plant collector as Culp is (a plantaholic), pay equal attention to the design which he does and tells you how to do that.

Repeat the same plant to tie the garden together.  Never plant just one.

Put some taller things to the front to avoid the choir look.

Have at least a few straight lines and formal spots and at least a few more natural ares.

Let different ares take over at different times.

Don't be a slave to any gardening rules.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes.

He talks about alot of different groups of plants he collects such as Galanthus (snowdrops), Narcissus, old-fashioned Iris, native plants, Helleborus and alot of others.

Let the site dictate what you do- don't fight it.

Often a group of one plant with a few stragglers farther away makes it look like the plant is naturalizing.

Plant tulips in gravel to discourage mice.

Small chickens running around is a nice touch -- too big and the birds wreck the place.

Likes Big Alliums such as 'Purple Sensation", Digitaluis and Salvia 'Caradonna'.

Prefers turkscap and trumpet shaped lilies,doesn't like the normal Asiatic type as much.

Don't be in a hurray to change anything right away, rather live with it a while.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Daffodil and Lilac Walk

The times for the 2 spring plant walks at my house are:

4:00 Sunday afternoon, May 5th for Daffodils

4:00 Sunday afternoon, May 26th for Lilacs

Hepatica in bloom

Our native Hepatica aculiloba are in bloom on south facing slopes in Thetford Center, VT.  This means spring is really here.  Also butterflies are flitting around and snowdrops and early (snow)crocus are blossoming.  In Thetford, the quite early double yellow daffodil-'Van Sion' or 'Telamonius Plena' is just about to bloom--I think this is the name of the commonly grown short double daffodil found in many old plantings all over the country.  The flowers are variable and have alot of green in them-  I've seen photographs calling what looks like it 'Double Campernelle' but this is what I think it is.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Plants need food just like people do.  I fertilize all my plantings in the early spring.  If I do it in the fall, I figure alot of the fertilizer, which I broadcast, will just run off.  I attempt-- to spread it before alot of plants have come out of the ground- and I use organic fertilizer which doesn't burn so much as chemical fertilizer and allows me to consider that all the juice and jam that I make from my berries is "organic".  I used 30 50 lb. bags of  North Country Oraganic's fertilizer- mostly "Cheep-Cheep"which is mostly poultry manure.  Naturally the day I pick to broadcast it out of buckets was very cold ( Ididn't sink into the soft ground) and very windy but it's now mostly done -except where I decided to wait untill daffodils come up in a field so I can see where they are.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Pruning

I now have most of my spring pruning done at 1030 Urquhart Rd.  I pruned and retied-up my grapevines yesterday.  I cut paths in the blackberry patch although I still want to go through and cut out the rest of the dead canes from last year.  I cut down the red twig willows and red twig dogwood so they will sucker back up with lots of bright shoots for nest winter.  I cut down my enormous pair of orintal bittersweet because the on on the right died and the one on the lest was slipping off the roof.  They also are invasive and seedings are coming up- but they sure are pretty.  I cut down another alien invasive: my huge Japenese barberry.  It's prickly and progeny have been popping up here and there.  It does have red berries that stay red all winter which I like but it's done at my house.  I still like the Berberis species: koreana ( which suckers but I've never had seedlings), and vulgaris which has beautiful flowers and  a gracefull shape (seedlings come up).  My pears and apples are pruned for the season as are my raspberries.  I may do a little more work on my currants and gooseberries.

The snow drops were at their peak this last weekend and the early snow crocus are blooming.