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The roving gardener: Visiting the gardens of Stockbridge

Posted on May 13, 2019 |
By Judith Irven



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By Judith Irven / Photographs by Dick Conrad

Whether or not you have a garden of your own, may I suggest the perfect pastime for spring and summer: spending time in an exquisite garden that somebody else has created and maintains.

Stockbridge, Mass., in the heart of the Berkshire hills and just an hour’s drive south of the Vermont border, is a garden-lovers paradise. Here, within a five-mile radius, you can visit three special gardens of yesteryear and a major botanical garden with its graceful contemporary-style plantings.

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Judith's Garden: Prelude to spring

Posted on April 8, 2019 |
By Judith Irven



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We are now well past the Vernal Equinox, that precise point in the calendar when, all over the planet, daytime and nighttime are essentially equal.

This celestial marker, which occurred this year on March 20 at exactly 5:58 p.m., is also meant to signify that we have somehow magically passed from winter to spring. 

But in reality, as we all know, new seasons do not appear on command at predetermined times.  Spring, in particular, always seems to arrive both slowly and gently in Vermont.

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Judith's Garden: Late-winter pruning is the perfect antidote to cabin fever

Posted on March 18, 2019 |
By Judith Irven



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Cabin fever hits us all in late winter: after months of indoor living we find ourselves yearning for spring, and we can surely be forgiven for grumbling about the heavy wet snows that come in March.

Cabin fever: “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.” That’s Wikipedia’s definition anyway.  

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In the dead of winter, Vermont's Flower Show gives us spring

Posted on February 21, 2019 |
By Judith Irven



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After this cold and somewhat erratic winter many of us have a touch of the “winter blues.” I know that I, for one, am positively aching to see and smell some welcome signs of spring. However, in my own garden, I must wait until mid-April before spring actually arrives.

But this year — in less than two week’s time — winter weary Vermonters have a delightful treat in store — our very own Vermont Flower Show will be held March 1-3 at the Champlain Valley Exposition Center in Essex Junction.

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Judith's Garden: The art of decorating outdoor spaces

Posted on February 7, 2019 |
By Judith Irven



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Even though we — and our gardens — are still in the midst of winter hibernation, many of us are planning outdoor changes, both large and small, we will be making this coming season — perhaps making a new flower bed or maybe trying some gorgeous but unfamiliar plants.

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Judith's Garden: Pleasures in the winter garden

Posted on December 17, 2018 |
By Judith Irven



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Winter is the season of short days and dark nights when, even at midday, the sun gives little warmth as it rides low in the sky.

By now my fall garden chores are done, my tools hang neatly in the toolshed and I have mostly retreated indoors.

I am lucky enough to have a small cool greenhouse which becomes my indoor winter garden and, from October until May, is home for my potted camellias. Camellias flower from December to April — when our outdoor gardens are covered with snow — making their beautiful blooms all the more special.

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Bulbs: The promise of spring

Posted on October 22, 2018 |
By Judith Irven



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Late fall is the perfect time to ready our gardens for the coming years, thus perpetuating the never-ending cycle of the seasons.

As soon as the above-ground portion of most perennials have died back to the ground, their roots will become dormant. Thus late fall is actually the least stressful time to divide and rearrange our garden plants.

Moreover, since the soil is still soft and dig-able, getting out those pesky roots of perennial weeds like dandelions and grasses is a relatively easy task.

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October pleasures in the garden

Posted on October 8, 2018 |
By Judith Irven



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By October, many people assume all the flowers in the garden are finished for the year. This is the season for the trees and forests to bask in their colorful glory — and for the leaf peepers to take to their cars.

But do not write the garden off too hastily. October has plenty of delights in store for gardeners too.

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Butterflies: Magical garden creatures

Posted on August 27, 2018 |
By Judith Irven



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BY JUDITH IRVEN

Photos by DICK CONRAD

It is pure magic to watch a group of delicate butterflies fluttering around the garden. At first glance they seem to move entirely at random. But watch quietly for a few minutes and you will see they have an unmistakable sense of direction as they navigate from flower to flower in search of nectar.

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Design your own garden

Posted on August 13, 2018 |
By Judith Irven



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August is a quiet month in the life of a gardener — a wonderful time to relax and enjoy our creations.  Spring weeding and planting activities are far behind us and fall clean-up chores are still weeks away. 

And, since you can readily see what aspects of the garden you like or don’t like, August is also the perfect time to mull on changes you might want to make sometime in the future and even experiment with your design ideas on paper.

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