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Winning the battle of the weeds

Posted on September 1, 2017 |
By Judith Irven



Garden by Dick Conrad_710393.jpg

Surely weeds are some of nature’s greatest opportunists.

They appear spontaneously in places where other plants would not stand a chance, such as in disturbed soil or along the dry salty edges of Vermont’s beloved dirt roads.

And in our gardens? Within weeks of making our beds all tidy and seemingly weed-free, new weeds just pop up uninvited!

How does this happen?

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Cady's Falls garden is a Vermont gem

Posted on July 3, 2017 |
By Judith Irven



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A Vermont garden gem

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon in early June when Dick and I set off to visit some of our favorite haunts. After crossing the Green Mountains at the Brandon Gap we began our afternoon in fine style, enjoying a delightful lunch at Sandy’s Cafe and Books in Rochester.

Then we took Route 100 north through the beautiful Gulf of Granville, past Waterbury and into Stowe, where we followed the Stagecoach Road to its end and, after two successive quick left turns, reached our final destination.

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Climate change: Hardy plants that are ready for it all

Posted on June 12, 2017 |
By Judith Irven



n Climate change plants D71-710909-C.jpg

As I look back on last summer, both here in Vermont and all down the eastern seaboard, I recall it as incredibly dry and also very hot — not an easy time for our gardens.

And a quick check of the NOAA website for Burlington reinforced my impressions. The overall rainfall in the summer of 2016 was 50 percent below the long term average. A total of 15 inches of rain fell between May and October, compared with the long-term average of 22 inches, and every month was drier than the long-term norm.

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Bleeding hearts bring grace to spring gardens

Posted on May 15, 2017 |
By Judith Irven



Bleeding hears_2851-.jpg

Everyone loves Bleeding Hearts, with their delicate flowers — each reminiscent of a little pink heart with a tiny drop of blood dripping from it — that are perfectly complimented by mounds of dainty fern-like leaves. They bloom in mid-spring, once the weather is settled and winter’s chill is out of the ground.

There are actually several kinds of Bleeding Hearts and their near relatives — all of which make delightful plants for the spring garden.

Fringed Bleeding Hearts

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Think spring! Color and blossom return to Vermont gardens

Posted on April 17, 2017 |
By Judith Irven



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As I started to write this ? on the first day of April no less ? we were in the midst of a crazy late-winter blizzard. But already the snow has started to recede, and I am happily anticipating the beautiful flowers of spring. 

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Late winter pruning: The perfect antidote for cabin fever

Posted on April 3, 2017 |
By Judith Irven



n Late Winter pruning LEAD D71-711902.jpg

Late winter is cabin fever season; after months of indoor living we find ourselves yearning for spring, and we can surely be forgiven for grumbling about Vermont’s recent March blizzard.

Wikipedia describes cabin fever as “a claustrophobic reaction from being confined in a small space for an extended period of time, resulting in extreme irritability and restlessness, often accompanied by an urge to go outside, even in rain, snow, dark or hail.” I certainly understand the urge to get outdoors, but I prefer to skip the rain, dark and hail.

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Sowing summer: black-eyed Susans for every garden

Posted on March 20, 2017 |
By Judith Irven



Black Eyed Susans by Dick Conrad DSCN3281C-Edit.jpg

The days are getting longer and winter is drawing to a close.

March is upon us and Vermonters are getting serious about planning for the gardening season ahead. What new garden projects should we undertake  and what new plants will we try?

It is also ‘seed-starting month’ in the North Country. If you sow seeds indoors in March, the young plants will have a two-month head start before you move them to their long-term garden home.

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Judith Irven on Gardening: A few of my favorite things

Posted on December 30, 2016 |
By Judith Irven



Judith Irven my favorite things D71-5045.jpg

GOSHEN — It’s mid-December and the catalog avalanche is continuing unabated, not only in my physical mailbox, but also in its electronic equivalent.

In the commercial world I am surely marked as an avid gardener! So now whole catalogs, devoted to clever tools and gadgets designed to solve any garden problem one might ever encounter, arrive around now, to be followed in January by plenty of seed catalogs, with their tantalizing pictures of unblemished peppers and frilly lettuces.

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Winter Garden: Keep memories alive

Posted on November 14, 2016 |
By Judith Irven



camelia onlineIMG_2768.jpg

The outdoor gardening season in Vermont — a six-month affair that lasts from May till October — has surely come to an end for this year. But creative gardeners have all manner of ingenious ways to continue their passion even though the days are short and winter winds are howling.

THE WINTER GARDENER 

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Flowers & Berries: Enjoy the beautiful transformations of fall folliage

Posted on October 17, 2016 |
By Judith Irven



Garden Column by Irven Solomon SealD71-5024C-Edit-2.jpg

A couple of weeks ago, as I was strolling past my veggie garden, a beautiful bunch of berries caught my eye. There it was ?casually poking its head out from among the long grass at the edge of the woods. 

I was captivated by the dramatic shape of the cluster, almost six inches long, as well as its ripening berries ?from pure white to ruby red.  A quick look at the leaves suggested I was looking  at some False Solomon’s Seal (Smilacina racemosa).

FROM FLOWER TO FRUIT

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