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Sustainability and the gardener

Posted on May 29, 2016 |
By Judith Irven



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Sustainability is surely the buzzword of the century, tacked onto anything and everything. But despite its overuse, the concept of “sustainability” is still a great yardstick to guide all types of human endeavors — including gardening.

Spring speaks of new beginnings in the garden, a time when we make new plans and fervent resolutions. So let’s take a look at what it means to grow a sustainable garden and some of the ways we can achieve this goal.

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'Snow' returns in springtime as serviceberry blossoms

Posted on May 5, 2016 |
By Judith Irven



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Serviceberries are beautiful little understory trees that flourish along the hedgerows of our backcountry roads. For most of the year they are completely anonymous. Then, one spring morning, almost like magic they burst out of the shadows to cover themselves with delicate white flowers — it is like snow in springtime!

Serviceberries bloom before the forest leafs out. So it is an unforgettable sight on a misty spring morning to see this lacy white veil peeking out from under the still bare canopy of taller maple and ash.

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The hidden gardens of Middlebury

Posted on September 28, 2015 |
By Judith Irven



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The success of any garden is measured by the pleasure it brings to the people who use it. And, when many people use a garden, there is much pleasure to go around.

Hidden behind the walls of the Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Middlebury is a garden that is enjoyed by hundreds of people in sundry ways. It is a garden that serves the entire Helen Porter community — not only the residents and their visitors, but also the many staff and volunteers associated with the nursing home.

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Gardening on the wild side

Posted on September 14, 2015 |
By Judith Irven



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I love our pond bed. Filled with robust perennials and grasses, many of prairie origin, it is more reminiscent of a meadow than a garden bed. And, situated at the far end of our back garden, it creates the perfect transition to the true meadow, full of the wild, dusky-pink Joe Pye Weed, on the other side of the pond.

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Shade adds tranquility to a garden

Posted on August 17, 2015 |
By Judith Irven



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It’s a common lament: “My garden is shady and boring. All I can grow are hostas!”

I beg to differ. I delight in shady garden spaces — cool, tranquil places for people, and home for plenty of interesting plants.

Dick and I love to retreat, cup of tea in hand, to a favorite garden bench under the trees, a private outdoor room complete with leafy ceiling, richly patterned carpet and a view to the sunny border beyond.

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Montreal Botanic Gardens is a destination that will please

Posted on July 9, 2015 |
By Judith Irven



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We Vermonters are so lucky. Just three hours’ drive from Middlebury we can experience the world-renowned Montreal Botanical Gardens, a vast parkland in the heart of a major city.

From the three Cultural Gardens to numerous specialty display gardens, plus a hundred-acre arboretum (home to almost every species of tree capable of growing in Montreal’s climate), this 190-acre complex offers delightful and varied experiences for everyone. Here are some of my favorites:

Imposing arrival

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Garden expert offers tips on planting a new flower bed

Posted on June 8, 2015 |
By Judith Irven



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We have all seen pictures in garden magazines of stunning flower beds full of gorgeous plants, and these same magazines often have useful design suggestions about how to choose and combine these plants in pleasing ways.

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Tough Goshen winter can't stop the flowers

Posted on April 30, 2015 |
By Judith Irven



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Spring comes gently to Goshen; even now, in late April, the woods are brown and the weather often chilly.

But by early May dainty ephemeral wildflowers — Spring Beauties, Dogs Tooth Violets, Bellwort, Trillium and Dutchman’s Breeches to mention some favorites — will blanket the forest floor as the delicate green veil gradually creeps up the mountainside.

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Goshen gardener welcomes spring

Posted on April 27, 2015 |
By Judith Irven



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Spring comes gently to Goshen; even now, in late April, the woods are brown and the weather often chilly.

But by early May dainty ephemeral wildflowers — Spring Beauties, Dogs Tooth Violets, Bellwort, Trillium and Dutchman’s Breeches to mention some favorites — will blanket the forest floor as the delicate green veil gradually creeps up the mountainside.

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Parent-Child Center Greenhouse: Helping to grow healthy futures

Posted on March 30, 2015 |
By Judith Irven



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On a recent Thursday, with a foot of snow on the ground and the outside temperature hovering around 15 degrees, spring seemed a long way off indeed.

So it was pure delight to step into a warm, sunny greenhouse filled with growing things: trays of green mesclun ready to harvest; a prolific red nasturtium casually draped around a window and an enormous pink New Guinea impatiens.

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