gardening


ZORA, THE LEADER of the “goatscaping” herd hired to clear away brush in an eco-friendly way, digs into her job on a Middlebury property. Photo by Doreen Peterson
Zora, quiet, commanding, leader, with purple graced around her neck, motions the group she has charge of. A nod of the head indicating this is my area, you work that patch. Her group of five have purpose, happy to be guided, never ceasing in complete annihilation of vegetation. The quietest of munching. You wish your uncle Harry would eat so quietly at the Thanksgiving table. Zora, a cashmere goat accompanied by her four goat workers, brings gentleness and peacefulness to the typically clamorous task of removing vines, shrubs and all else that resolve to grow where you envisioned a...

PERENNIALS, SUCH AS heuchera, should be planted at least a month before the ground freezes to give plants time to become established and develop strong roots. Photo by Deborah J. Benoit
The leaves are turning to their autumn glory and it’s nearly time to put the garden to bed. But wait. There’s still time to add perennials to your garden, and I’m not talking about spring-blooming bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. You may be focused on trimming back faded leaves or deadheading flowers, but fall cleanup isn’t the only way to prepare for spring. While spring is the time of year we generally think of as planting time, fall also is a great time to add perennials to your garden. Why plant in the fall when the days are growing shorter and your to-do list is growing longer?...

DAN JAFFE WILDER
Noted landscape consultant Dan Jaffe Wilder will present a virtual four-hour workshop on Oct. 16 on building resilient home landscapes with native plants. The program, open to all interested gardeners and homeowners, will be offered via Zoom from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Although free to attend, donations will be accepted to support garden education programming offered by University of Vermont Extension Master Gardener chapters throughout Vermont. To register go to go.uvm.edu/resilient-landscape. To request a disability-related accommodation, contact Cindy Heath at (603) 543-1307 or cindy.heath@uvm.edu...

UNPEELED GARLIC CLOVES should be planted 3 inches deep with the pointed side up and root down. Photo by Joyce Amsden
I love growing garlic. Here in Vermont, it is best planted in fall because of its need for a dormant period of two months below 40 Fahrenheit degrees. Just as the reality of summer’s end sets in, planting the garlic is like planting the promise of spring. Seeing the little shoots emerge just behind the receding snow are well worth the small effort required. Plant your garlic in late September to mid-October. This allows it to put down some roots but not develop significant tops before the ground freezes. Avoid planting garlic from the grocery store. It may have been treated to prevent growth...

THE GARDEN IN fall is full of vibrant colors that match the surrounding forest. Photo by Dick Conrad
Fall is here — that magnificent but fleeting season when the forests array themselves in their most splendid finery as they bid a final adieu to summer. But, not to be outdone by the surrounding forests, as the season gradually draws to a close, our gardens also offer their own grande finale. Here are some of the delights of the season in my Goshen garden: Blue flowers create the perfect foil for all the yellow and bronze colors in our gardens at this time of year, especially Autumn Joy Sedum and the ubiquitous Black Eyed Susans. And the best blue flowers for fall are undoubtedly the hardy...
I tried to resist the urge to write about gardening this year. In past years I’ve always produced at least one column focused on the agony and ecstasy of my horticultural ventures, but this year it dawned on me that talking about your gardening is a little bit like talking about your health: It’s personal, and — while people will nod politely — nobody really cares. Still, here I am, writing about my garden, because something unusual happened this fall. My gardening trajectory is roughly the same from year to year. Sometime around March, full of optimism, I sit down with the seed catalogue to...

SUNFLOWERS, WHICH COME in many varieties and colors, add beauty to the landscape and attract birds to the garden. Photo by Bonnie Kirn Donahue
Sunflowers are a fantastic, long-lived flower to celebrate the end of summer. Fall is a great time to observe sunflower plantings in your community to enjoy their beauty and think about how you might like to grow them next season. Sunflowers (Helianthus annus) are multi-season plants with an important presence throughout the year. In late fall, their colors bring a brightness to the receding greens of the summer garden. If the stalks are left up through the winter, sunflower heads dry and provide seeds for birds and squirrels (and potentially entertainment for you). Their strong structure...

CLIVIA (ALSO KNOWN as Natal lily) is a choice, tender bulbous indoor plant which can produce flower stalks, generally about two feet high, rising above the strap-like leaves.
Growing clivia, planting garlic and digging dahlia tubers are some of the gardening tips for this month. Clivia (also known as Natal lily) is a choice, tender bulbous indoor plant which can produce flower stalks, generally about two feet high, rising above the strap-like leaves. Flowers, usually orange but yellow in some cultivars (cultivated varieties), are in clusters on top of the stalks similar to its amaryllis relatives. If you have a clivia, or get one not in flower, now is the time to give it a “temperature treatment” in order to get blooms this winter. This South African native needs...
Whatever your feelings about felines, chances are you probably don’t want them digging up your garden. So, what do you do? Cats really aren’t out to destroy your beloved perennials or garden vegetables. What they really like is the dirt. Most cats think the outdoors is their litter box, and a patch of dirt is an invitation to come do their business.  In an out-of-the-way corner of the yard, plant a patch of catnip. Spread some sand for sleeping nearby. Or, if your feline companions prefer to keep you company in the garden, leave a cat-sized play area in one part of the garden. Make sure you...

TO CREATE A pleasing spatial layout, consider both the shapes of the flower beds (the positive space) as well as the shape of the lawn (the negative space) and how they balance one another. Photo by Dick Conrad
As I discussed in my last article — where I talked about the “ages and stages” of a garden — our gardens are living creations that slowly evolve with the passage of time. Surely, one of the delights for every gardener is when our initial creation — or perhaps one that we inherited from a previous gardener — achieves a bountiful and satisfying feeling of maturity. Dick and I have been creating our Goshen garden for over 20 years, and today it has definitely reached adulthood. Slowly but surely those little plants I brought home from the nursery as babies have achieved the “grows to” size that...

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