Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall Mums in Vermont

The mum season is fully upon us.  Pumpkins and gourds are making their appearances and we have been selling "hardy" mums for a couple of weeks.  I view these plants as living bouquets.  They will be pretty for at least three weeks, cost far less than a bouquet, and certainly brighten things up.

Several customers have told me that their mums over-wintered, and this may be a trend with global warming, but typically here in zone 4 they are a one-shot deal.  I took these photos a few weeks ago and then had a camera melt-down,  so I will be posting updated photos soon.

Mums make a very long lasting cut flower as well.

'Peach Fusion'

Last year we had requests from two weddings and one college for white mums. We didn't have nearly enough. This year I am growing three varieties of white mums, all are lovely, and there are very few customers looking for white mums!



'Granata Red'

'Miranda Orange'


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

(Some of) My Favorite Plants

Plants perform differently every growing season depending on the weather.  I occasionally find myself crazy about a plant and two weeks later when the blooms have diminished ... not so much.  Here are some of my favorites from this year.

Every year I am a big fan of lavatera trimestris 'Silver Cup.'  This rose mallow is covered with large pink flowers and they are excellent in bouquets.

'Silver Cup' Lavatera

Tall summer phlox can be tricky because of powdery mildew.  Even the highly touted 'David' does not completely escape from the attack here.  My favorite phlox for performance, fragrance and bouquets is 'Laura.'

'Laura' Phlox

Rudbeckia 'Denver Daisy' has been another great performer in my garden this year.

'Denver Daisy' Rudbeckia

And year after year 'Annabelle' hydrangea has never let me down.  Besides its manageable height and long lasting flowers, the fact that it blooms in part shade is a big plus.

'Annabelle' Hydrangea

It has been a hot and dry summer and some of my hostas exposed to the sun have not faired well. 'Sun Power' hosta has lived up to its name, providing a nice burst of color all season.

'Sun Power' Hosta

I never go without a tall blue ageratum for cutting.  They are not bothered by disease or bugs and are very long lasting in bouquets.

'Dondo Blue' Ageratum

And the mums are just beginning to show color ... and just beginning to sell.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Vermont Daylily Sale

I grow more than 100 varieties of daylilies and they are all sold at the same price, $6.99.  This includes some really special cultivars that initially cost me around $50 a pop.  The season has begun and the sale is on (buy five, get the sixth one free, YOUR choice).  I have found that the price of $6.99 is already a sale compared to many places.  Here are some of the blooms I noticed yesterday.

Charles Johnson

Marked By Lydia

 Burning Inheritance

Sunday Gloves

And here is a partial list of my daylilies, sorted by color:

Baby Blues: Pale 3” lavender bloom.  20” M.  
Challenger: VERY tall red. 48” L.
Charles Johnson:  Bright cherry red blooms.   24” : EM.
Chicago Apache: Intense scarlet red with ruffled edges.  30” ML.
Chicago Weathermaster: Purple 6” blooms.  20” EM.
Chris Salter: Award winning  6 inch  medium lavender blooms with ruffled yellow edging.  Tet  26”. : EM
Cranberry Cove:  Cranberry red, 4.5” blooms, 28” tall. EM.
FlyCatcher:  Red 7.5” blooms,  yellow eye.  32” L.
Gus Blankenship:  Red blooms, 6”. 28” : EM.
Highland Lord:  Red wine 5” semi-double.  22” M.
Howard  Goodson:  Dark bluish red 6” bloom with a bight yellow/green throat.  28” : M.
Moonlight Masquerade:  Cream w/ purple eye.  5.5” bloom, 26”.  : M
Red Ribbons: Red spider daylily, 8” ribbon like blooms,  42” M. 
Ruby Spider: Impressive 8” spider bloom : 34” EM.
Siloam David Kirchoff:  Pretty 3.5” orchid-peach flowers with a pencil thin, purple eye zone and purple watermark around a green throat.  16” M.
Siloam Grace Stamile:  Fragrant red blooms with darker eye. 14” EM.
Siloam Red Ruby:  Red blooms with yellow green throat.  18” M.
Siloam Paul Watts:  Red with green throat.  4.5” bloom,  18” M
Siloam Plum Tree: 4 “ deep purple bloom, small yellow throat.  24” EM   
Strutters Ball:  Deep purple with small green yellow throat.   26” M. 
Trahlyta:   6” bloom award winner  grey violet  with a dark purple eye zone and a green throat - very fragrant.  30” M.  
Wayne Johnson: Award winner.  Early blooming  6” semi- double cherry red daylily. 28” M.  
Woodside Ruby:  Ruby red 4” blooms.  34” M.


Addie Branch Smith: 4.5” rose flower with a purple eye. 30” M/L.
Butterfly Kisses:  Ruffled Lavender peach 8” blooms.  32”  EM
Camden Ballerina:  3.5”  rose/pink blooms. 16”  EM.
Brilliant Circle:  Cream pink, rose/red eye, 3.5” blooms.  28” M . 
Decatur Pie Crust :   5" salmon pink with nice ruffles. 24”    M
Dance Ballerina Dance:  6” Apricot pink bloom, : 24” M.
Doll House:  Pink-lavender.  Ruffled pedals. 27” M.
Dragon’s Eye:   Pastel pink 4” flower, red eye zone, green throat. 24”  M/L.
Dublin Elaine:  Light double pink, 5.5” blooms.  36” E.
Exotic Echo: Pink ruffled 3” bloom w/ burgundy eye. Heavy bloomer   M
Eruption: Vivid cherry red 6.5” bloom.  30” ML.
Lavender Showstopper:  An early blooming tetraploid.  Ruffled edges on  5.5” purple eyed flowers. 40” E.
Little Bee:  Late blooming miniature daylily (2” )   Tangerine, rose, apricot blend, 16”  L.
Made to Order:  Light pink, rose eye 4”. Stands out in garden.  26” EM.
Our Diane:  Pink bitone 4.5” blooms.  22” EM.
Olallie Mac:  Baby pink/melon  5” blooms.  32”, L.
Orchid Corsage: Huge (7.5”) pink lavender blooms with a yellow star center.  40” ML.   
Pink Embers:  Salmon pink 6” bloom on 19” scape.  EM
Prairie Blue Eyes: (In my eyes) a dusty lavender rose.  5” blooms, 28” M.
Siloam Double Classic:  Prize-winning double pink. 15” EM.
Siloam Baby Talk:  2.5” pale pink blooms with deep rose eye.  15” EM
Siloam Little Girl: 3 and 3/4” round lacy pink bloom.  18” M. Scatterbrain:  Light peach pink 6” double blooms. 32”  M.
Smoky Mountain Autumn: Dusty rose blend 5.5” bloom.  Award winner. 18”  M.
South Seas:  Tangerine coral.   30” ML . 
Spritual Corridor  Fragrant orchid lavender 6” bloom with a cream blending to chartreuse eye. Cream/picotee edge”  25” :.


Autumn Daffodil:  Broad flared yellow petals, 46” L.
Bold Tiger:  Bright orange blooms w/ red eye.  28” M.
Burning Inheritance: Red orange 5” bloom.  :  M. 
Buttered Popcorn: Strong yellow fragrant 6” blooms.  32” ML
Condilla:  Tidy double, gold blooms, award-winner. 20” M.  
Decatur Cutie:  Yellow w/ Red Halo,  2.75” blooms, 20”  E.
Doodlebug:  Soft lemon bloom with a dark eye.
Evening Bell:  Ruffled pale yellow award winner.  5” blooms on 28” scape.  : EM
Happy Returns:  Long blooming light yellow.  3 1/4” bloom, 22” M.  
Holiday Delight: 6 1/4” blooms, maroon eye zone over brilliant orange red petals.  28” : M.
Kindly Light:  Classic yellow spider daylily. 28” M.
Marked by Lydia:  8” yellow bloom with purple striping, spider.  29” E.
Primal Scream:  Orange/tangerine bright 7.8” bloom.  34”  L.
Nina Winegar: Golden yellow spider.  Fast grower, heavy bloomer  narrow twisting pedal.  3’ M. 
Stella de Oro:  Award winning 12” golden  yellow blooms all summer.
Suzie Wong:  Consistent ruffled, pale yellow.  24” E.
Todd Monroe:  Buff-colored  3 1/4” blooms with rose eye zone 20” E.  
Tuscawilla Tigress:  Flashy 7” inch orange blooms.  25”  EM
(Near) WHITES and variations on that theme
Gentle Shepherd: 5” white bloom, Probably the whitest daylily, but delicate substance.  29”.  EM.
Joan Senior :  6” near white  curved bloom, 25”. EM.
Mokan Butterfly  Bright purple eye shown off against a pale (almost white) lavender) 5” bloom. 36”.  E
Nanuq:  Near white with a yellow green throat 5” bloom, 27”   ML .

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Blue (?) Flowers for Vermont Gardens

Many flowers are called “blue” when in fact they are usually more purple than blue.  In nature you rarely find a true blue flower, and breeders find it difficult to come up with this color for the buying public.  But ... when naming a new plant, putting the word “blue” in the title will certainly help sell the product.

There are several perennial blue salvias.

'Rhapsody in Blue' Salvia

'Blue Hill' Salvia

And my customers love the “Black and Blue salvia, which is an invasive perennial in places like Texas, but in Vermont it is strictly an annual.

'Black and Blue' Salvia

The  blue tradescantia does not spread and take over like other spiderworts.

'Zwanenburg Blue' Tradescantia

'Blue Ice' Amsonia is taller than the species ( amsonia tabernaemontana) and much showier, but I like both of these plants.

'Blue Ice' Amsonia

‘Summer Skies’ siberian iris is a nice light blue.

'Summer Skies' Siberian Iris

The popular ‘Blue Wave’ petunia is definitely purple from my perspective.

But, when combined with other colors, you can get away with calling it 'blue.'

I plant various “blue” flowers as “cuts” because the darker color compliments just about every other color in a bouquet.  Among my favorites are 'Victoria' blue salvia and and any of the tall cutting ageratums.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

June Blooms in Vermont

Mama Mia - We have had three weekends in a row with great weather and the greenhouses have been emptying out at quite a pace. The geraniums I started from seed are all looking nice. 'Pinto Salmon Splash' (looks pink from a distance) is a new variety for this year.


Outside the earlier lilacs got zapped by a hard cold snap, but the later varieties, like 'Miss Canada' are just starting to open and they all look fabulous.


Peonies are budding up and the ants are happy. They are attracted to a small amount of nectar and they do no harm to the flowers or plants and will disappear once the buds open up.

A Peony bud - 'CORAL CHARM'

The fern-leaved peonies have bloomed and done their thing, but here's a pretty tree peony in one of my gardens. These plants have woody stems and should never be cut down. Here in northern Vermont they overwinter, but are not particularly vigorous.


Amsonia tabernaemontana is blooming now and is one of those trouble-free perennials with no insect of disease problems whatsoever. The flowers are pleasant, but it is the habit of the plant itself which makes it desirable. It is full and upright and needs no support. Throughout the summer I cut the foliage for filler for bouquets.

AMSONIA tabernaemontana

Now that things are finally slowing down I hope to be able to post in my blog more often. And maybe I can figure out why this type suddenly turned blue!

Monday, May 7, 2012

More Greenhouse Photos

Every day has been a whirlwind of activity.   Life has involved meetings, writing gardening articles, and of course constant planting, digging and caring for plants.  

BUSY in Vermont

I have been too busy to blog.  Hopefully these shots can show the situation here - four greenhouses packed with plants.  We also have lots of perennials outside.

The "Tomato House"

The "Pansy House"

The "Big House"

The "Geranium House"

Left aisle in the "Big House"

Some of the benches outside

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hardy Roses for Northern Vermont

We have always carried hardy roses, including Therese Bugnet and Champlain, two of my favorites. They have performed well year after year and have done fine with our -20 to -30 temps with no protection at all.

Champion Rose is from Canada’s ‘Explorer’ series of hardy roses developed in Ottawa. Its flowers are a nice dark red with double petals and they bloom in clusters. The plant stays fairly short at 3 - 4’.

Photo from Baileys Nursery

Therese Bugnet has double rosey pink flowers and a lovely fragrance. It’s a vigorous grower and would work well as a screen. Unfortunately Japanese Beatles have arrived and they do love this rose.

Photo from Baileys Nursery

Morden Sunrise is another hardy rose that produces an orange flower which fades to coral, yellow and cream. I haven't grown it here, but have good reports from Montpelier.

Photo from Baileys Nursery

Other hardy roses we carry are: William Baffin, Rambling Red, Rosa rugosa and Purple Pavement.