As Vermonters, we have an expression that connotes the meaning of summer: "Summer is the 4th of July." On either side of this date, "expect the unexpected." The weather temps can range from 90 degree daytime heat to 40 degrees at night from June through August. In September, temps range anywhere from the mid-60s in the day to an occasional hard frost at night.
Gardeners, and there are many of us here, learn to adapt to the dizzyingly short growing season. Because winter lingers for so long here, with snow totals averaging 100 inches, by the time April rolls around, many gardeners are eager to get their hands in the soil, having thought about and planned their gardens all winter. However, Vermont is known for its great skiing, challenging winter sports, award-winning maple syrup, and fall foliage display. Not so much for its gardening prowess, although we have many innovative and lovely gardens here.
To compound the difficulties of this short growing season, my garden is located on the side of Mt. Lincoln, in a major Vermont ski area. I live about 1800 feet above sea level. "Bed-Rock" could be considered my middle name. My daylily garden faces due south, which the dayliles love, but the pitch(slope) of my garden is about 25 to 30 degrees straight downhill. Nope, I cannot walk up and down this slope. Sliding down on my derriere is the preferred form of transportation (often with a big bucket of soil and mulch trailing behind). Taking pictures of my blooming daylilies can be a bit of a problem at times because of the severe pitch, with many of my older daylilies planted on that precipitous slope. And daylilies never face the way we want them to when we are taking pix. My daylily garden is basically a "rock garden." Each daylily has its own housing, surrounded by a circle of rocks freshly dug from the earth during planting. "Ay yup," I recycle my rocks! The rocks prevent soil erosion, hold the mulch in place, and keep those pesky weeds at bay........or at least, somewhat under control.
Despite all of these problems, my daylilies thrive here on my mountain. This year, my season began in late June, when the first blooms appeared. After 54 days of rain beginning in mid May, and lasting through all of June, I had the best growing season ever. I had daylilies blooming for 2 1/2 months, and I still have scapes with blooms in late September, even as I prepare the garden for winter. Of course, those blooms are only opening halfway because of the cold mornings in the low 40's. I eventually will cut those rebloom scapes off to prevent blooms from growing below the foliage next year. We are experiencing lovely days of sunshine right now without any rain, and the weatherman states that this weather will continue through next week. With peak fall foliage arriving around Columbus Day weekend, the hills are alive with gold, red, orange, yellow, and greens right now. The colors of the surrounding landscape, with mountain ranges as far as the eye can see, just boggle the mind.
There are about 160 daylily plants and 20 seedlings in the main daylily garden and there is a small seedling bed located in front of the house, with approximately 75 more seedlings. I start my seeds during the long winter months in my house with a bio-dome seed starter system. Bio-domes come in many sizes and take up very little space. Picture courtesy of Park Seed.
The system incorporates bio-sponges that maintain an ideal moisture level, deep individual cells especially needed for root growth, and air flow vents that allow for the control of heat and humidity levels. I have had great success with the bio-dome system, which takes away any angst about growing seedlings from seeds. Because I have only a half-acre of land, I am running out of space for my passion. I either have to open new territory or be more discriminating. Hmm. I have a sneaking suspicion that the daylilies will win the needed space. They always do.
Here are a few pictures of blooms taken this summer from the garden.
I was very excited about these two seedlings that bloomed for the first time ever this summer.
English Lavender X Elvis (3 year old seedling)
This 13 month old seedling happily surprised me and sent up a scape with 5 buds on it. A miracle of nature.
Blue Grass Music X Royal Cypher