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Vermont Flower Show

03/03/05 12:00AM By Ron Krupp
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(HOST) Commentator Ron Krupp says it's time to get the jump on spring - and he has some tips for how to go about it.


(KRUPP) I'm tired of scraping ice off my windshield and wondering what the weather will bring. Of course, the winter blues get me down now and then, but the sun is stronger every day. And a few weeks ago, I heard the birds singing, and I knew it was time to jumpstart my 2005 garden. I planted onion and snapdragon seeds in a germinating mix of sphagnum moss, perlite and vermiculite. And soon I'll start eggplant and peppers, and then some early tomato seeds, all in the confines of my home.

I've also begun to plan my summer garden. There are so many questions that come up when designing a home garden, like what plants to grow in the shade and the sun and how to protect them from the north wind and cold temperatures. Should I try out a windbreak this year or build another cold-frame? And there is the fun part, like what plants I would like to paint my garden with. Will I be bold with lots of yellows, reds and oranges or more subdued with blues and grays? And what about all those bird baths, saints, Buddhas and fountains that are in these days, along with grasses and container plants that have a tropical feel?

I call my front yard my "Gardening Off My Stoop" garden. This small 50 by 20 plot is jam-packed with red roses, tulips of many colors, daffodils, purple clematis, day lilies and herbs such as chives, chamomile, rosemary, thyme, lemon balm and mints, which love to spread. There are flowers like orange poppies, tall yellow golden glows, blue irises, spider worts and lilac and forsythia, with a crabapple tree to boot and a hummingbird vine that won't quit. And in the spring my cold-frame is full of lettuce, spinach, radishes and onion greens. I can't wait.

Every year I look over what I've grown and make lists of new plants I'd like to try. I go through seed catalogs and look at all those great pictures of plants in all shapes and hues. And on this first weekend in March, I'll go to the annual Vermont Flower Show in Burlington for more ideas.

This year a Japanese garden will be featured, along with a train running through the blooming shrubs and bulbs. Other visual treats will include, not only flowers in bloom, but also the work of botanical artists, with the theme of "The Art of the Garden". Gordon Hayward, nationally known author and landscape designer, will talk about his latest book, The Intimate Garden and another one called The Uses of Stone in the Garden.

Gordon, his wife Mary and son Nate have been developing a garden around their 200-year-old farmhouse in Westminster West. The garden combines its New England heritage with Mary's Cotswold English roots.

This is Ron Krupp, the Northern Gardener.

Related Links:
Vermont Flower Show

Ron Krupp is a gardener and author who lives near Lake Champlain on Shelburne Bay.
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