Drea Tremols

Saxon Hill Co-operative Preschool Visits Arcana!

This week we had the Saxon Hill Co-operative Preschool come to Arcana for a farm adventure! They were such a fun group to have and we did lots of learning and exploring.

We went on a tour of the greenhouses and talked to the kids about different stages of  growing plants. It was a blast to walk through the greenhouses with them and hear their surprise at how hot it was inside! After exploring the veggie plots around the farm, we hung out on the porch of the farmstand and read books about growing gardens.

Can you spot the snake in the above picture? A couple of children found this reptile slithering down our mulch mountains while pretending they were visiting Smuggler’s Notch!

Spinach was big hit! The children also taste tested edible pansy flowers and shiso! Their reactions were varied and very entertaining. Many of them liked the pansies and while a few tried the shiso, an edible plant used mainly in Japanese cooking, it wasn’t as big of a hit.

At the end of the morning, we planted sunflowers and shared our favorite things about the visit. It was a wonderful time and we can’t wait for another field trip!

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Posted by Drea Tremols in Education, Events, Farm Events, 0 comments

Five Fantastic Springtime Pollinator Plants

Spring feels like it’s finally arrived! Our neighborhood robin contingent has returned to build their nests in nooks and crannies throughout the greenhouses. The bees have finally come buzzing around our gardens and we have several lovely plants that help feed our pollinator friends. We’ve come up with a list of our top 5 favorite springtime plants that provide ample food for pollinators after the long, cold Vermont winter.

Caltha palustris (Marsh Marigold)

Marsh marigold has cheerful, bright yellow blooms that sit on glossy green heart shaped leaves. While every part of the marsh marigold is poisonous to humans, it has large amounts of nectar early in the season that makes it an important food source for bees and flies. Our eyes see a bright yellow flower but the bees see a delicious purple bloom with a black center which helps guide them to the nectar.

Marsh marigolds bloom from April through June and, as its name suggests, enjoys wet soil. It can be seen happily growing by ponds, rivers and marshes making it a lovely rain garden addition.They enjoy full sun to part shade and are low maintenance plants with no known serious insect or disease problems.  Zone 3-7.

Convallaria majalis (Lily of the Valley)

This cool weather perennial is a lovely sight in spring with its delicate, sweet smelling string of white bell shaped flowers and elliptic green leaves. It is easily gown in moist, fertile, organically rich and well-drained soil. It is a native to Europe but has naturalized throughout the Northeast.

It is an excellent ground cover for areas in your garden with shade, although they do well in dappled sun. They can spread aggressively so best to plant them where they have room to grow without disrupting your tidiest garden beds. It is also a lovely cut flower. It does not have any serious insect or disease problems but be on the lookout for aphids and spider mites. Zone 3-8.

Tiarella cordifolia (Foam Flower)

Foam flowers are another easy to grow perennial that loves to be grown in the shade and will spread widely over time. With its lovely mounding habit with its semi-glossy, heart shaped leaves with tiny white flowers on a tall stem. The flowers have a airy, feathery quality that is charming in the garden. Bees love it and can be seen buzzing busily around the flowers in our pergola.

It needs wet, organically rich soil to thrive and has no serious insect or disease problems. Great for shaded rock gardens, woodland gardens, border fronts, wild gardens or moist areas along stream or ponds. If planted en masse, they create a lovely ground cover. Zone 4-9.

Aquilegia canadensis (Columbine)

This classic spring beauty is a wonderful early bloomer. They have an ethereal quality to their flowers and are some of the earliest nectar producers for hummingbirds in the spring. Aquilegia is the Latin word for eagle, because the flower petals can be imagined as a bird’s claw. Its common name, Columbine, comes from the Latin word Columba which means ‘dove’. The variety ‘Little Lanterns’ is a wonderful dwarf form of the native columbine with red and yellow flowers. We have many other species of columbine including Aquilegia caerulea with three varieties, ‘Red Hobbit’, ‘Rocky Mountain Blue’, ‘Songbird Dove’ as well as 7 varieties of the Aquilegia vulgaris.

While Aquilegias tend to like rich soil and part shade, we’ve seen them growing at the farm in gravel! They are a wonderful pairing with ferns and they reseed themselves readily so once you have them, you can trust they’ll be nodding their beautiful blossoms at you each spring. There can be issues with leaf miners, so if damaged foliage presents itself just cut it off after plants have flowered and new healthy foliage will regrow. Zone 3-7.

Thalictrum dioicum (Early Meadow Rue)

A beautiful Vermont native pollinator that thrives in woodlands, this perennial blooms early to mid-spring. The male and female plants have distinctly different color, the male having showy, tassel-like yellow flowers and the females have pink to purple pompom-like flowers. Growing 1-2’  tall, its feathery, gray-green foliage is a lovely contrast to later blooming perennials as well.

While it prefers moist, rich soil and dappled light, it will also easily grow in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. These plants do not tolerate hot and humid conditions. They are lovely paired with ferns, anemones and columbine for an array of early blooming pollinators that offer color after a long New England winter. Zone 3-8.

Come check out all the other lovely perennial pollinator plants at our nursery! This list is just a drop in the bucket of our collection of plants that make beautiful garden plants and feed our pollinator friends.

What are your favorite early perennial pollinators?

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Arcana visits the Boston Flower Show!

Daffodils bring their brightness to a wintery weekend!

Last week we traveled to the Boston Flower Show. Here at Arcana, we are getting ready to launch our mail order business so we can ship our beautiful, organic plants across the US! It’s a big task but one that we are incredibly excited about! As with any new venture, lots of research goes in to expanding business so we headed down to Boston to find out if we should start bringing our plants and mail order plans there. What a great event!

Hattie, our marketing guru, enjoying the lovely rhododendrons and tulips at the flower show!

The Boston Flower Show sees thousands of visitors each year. We saw several other friends and farmers from Vermont and went to some awesome classes on climate change, best perennials for drought and herbal infusions among others! The climate change workshop was given by NPR meteorologist David Epstein and illustrated with extensive graphs how New England has warmed over the last 100 years! We also attended a great workshop by Kerry Ann Mendez, an award winning garden designer, who spoke on the subject of flashy foliage perennials. Some that she recommended Achillea ‘Moonshine’, Tiarella ‘Fingerpaint’ and Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’ just to name a few! We also had a chance to meet and connect with vendors and plant lovers alike. Overall, it was an excellent time!

Amazing building constructed over 3 days with 2 tractor trailers worth of stone!

One thing we found was that the show had few people selling live plants for the garden. There were several great houseplant vendors as well as seed companies, bulb producers and a few perennials here and there. Luckily, we were able to connect with one of the organizers of the show and she was thrilled to hear we specialize in perennials and herbs! Looks like we may just be at the Boston Flower Show next year!

Grape hyacinths blooming.

Plants encased in copper and made into incredible jewelry!

Statue made from flowers, bird seed, garden tools and foliage.

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Vermont Flower Show 2017

Rooftop gardens and tulips bring a feeling of spring.

Winter blew back in to Vermont with a vengeance but that didn’t stop us from attending this year’s Vermont Flower Show! It is no easy task setting up for such a big event but it’s worth all the planning, schlepping and hard work. Hundreds of volunteers built an amazing indoor landscape and over 100 vendors brought their businesses to the show. This year’s theme for the installation gardens was Neverland and it was absolutely magical. Tulips, flowering magnolias, hyacinths, 15-foot birch trees, daffodils and azaleas were just a few of the wonderful plants enjoyed in the gorgeous gardens. It truly brought the world of Peter Pan to life as well as an excitement for spring and planting our gardens. Along with lectures, kids crafts, documentary showings and hands-on workshops it was a fun filled weekend!

Pink tulips and azaleas.

We started getting ready for the show months ago. We brought several perennials, including a new variety of Hellebore called ‘Midnight Ruffles’ which was the all-star eye catcher of the weekend. With its lovely purple coloring  they couldn’t help but get the attention they deserved! Second runner up in the perennial eye-catching division were the primulas. We had several varieties and many exclamations of oohs and aahs as folks walked past. Herbs and houseplants also made an appearance at our booth. The herbs included dill, lavender, rosemary and thyme. The rosemary were blooming in abundance and drawing people in to pet and enjoy their aromatic presence. Here’s a question: did you know you can eat rosemary flowers right off the plant? A fun fact that many at the flower show didn’t know! Rosemary flowers are sweet, delicious and in some cases quite pungent!

Teepees and tulips.

Our most popular houseplant was definitely our little hens & chicks, which delighted children and adults alike. Another exciting part of the weekend for us was the debut of our 2017-2018 catalog! Check it out here.  It’s chock full of wonderful information on perennials and herbs including recipes and medicine making ideas. It’s an awesome resource!

The Vermont Flower Show is a wonderful retreat from winter where we can all begin dreaming about spring. It was a lot of fun to talk to folks about plants and start getting excited about planning the garden! It’s worth the months of prep and long weekend to get to connect with our community through the plants we love and care for.

Life size crocodile sculpture!

With the flower show come and gone, we here at Arcana are continuing to get seeds sown in our heated greenhouses. This month we are buckling down  for our HUGE tomato seed run. With over 100 varieties to plant plus all the annuals and herbs we are planning to have, there is a lot of seeding to keep doing!  This month we will also be visiting the Boston Flower show to start promoting our wholesale flower opportunities as well as the opening of our on-line retail store which will be coming soon! We are so excited to be able to offer folks far and wide our amazing selection of perennials and herbs. It’s a pleasure to grow and provide our community with organic, healthy and often rare plants so we can continue to grow and spread biodiversity, health and wellness to the Earth and her inhabitants.

 

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Posted by Drea Tremols in Events, Farm Events, Perennial, Perennial Catalogue, Whole Sale Flower, 0 comments

Vermont Stage Comes To Arcana!

Cast of Native Gardens.

Last week we hosted our first official event in collaboration with Vermont Stage. They did a first reading of their latest production called Native Gardens, a play based on two couples who share a fence and have some very different views about how to grow a garden.

The audience gets a behind the scenes talk about production.

On the one hand you have a young couple, just moved in to the neighborhood, who want to plant a native pollinator garden while their neighbors, an older couple that has lived on the street for decades, are more traditional gardeners.  The younger couple dreams of a garden that helps the bees and brings beneficial insects to the area but the older couple can’t  understand why they want to grow what they consider to be weeds! Enter the 5th character, an old oak tree in the younger couple’s yard. They love their tree but their neighbors have a very different opinion.  The conflict only grows from there!

A few cast and crew from Vermont Stage.

Prior to the reading, we had a wonderful social hour with drinks, appetizers and live music by a local jazz trio. The Vermont Stage cast and production team were a joy to work with and we hope they come back to do another reading in the near future!  Overall it was a very fun night and we look forward to hosting more events  in our lovely farm stand.  If your organization is interested in renting space please contact us through our website for further details.

Social hour before the reading was well attended! Around 50 people came out on a cold, icy night!

If you’re interested in being a part of a gardening discussion after the play then book your show during the Talkback Thursdays (January 26 & February 2 and 9). After the show, gardening experts from Arcana will be present to have deeper discussion about native, non-native and invasive species of plants as well as to answer any and all of your gardening questions. We look forward to seeing you there!

The actors reading the first scene.

Wonderful musicians bringing lovely music to the event.

A fun night with friends and colleagues.

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Posted by Drea Tremols in Farm Events, Garden Care, Monthly News, Perennial, Pollinators, 2 comments

Fall Garden Clean-Up Tips

 

Arcana in Winter

It’s Chilly!

We’ve had our first snowfall here in Vermont and if you haven’t already started your fall clean-up it’s time! Energy for garden work is low this time of year but just a few chores will give your garden a head start come spring and make planting a breeze. Below are some guidelines and tips for bedding down the garden for winter.

FarmWait! Before you clean up….. It is best to leave some stalks, brush, logs and groundcover. Cutting back all the dead stalks in your garden eliminates food for birds and hiding spots for overwintering beneficial insects. Plants with seeds or berries, especially native ones, are essential for the overwintering bird population, so Sunflowers, Echinacea, Rudbeckia, etc. should be left standing. You know that dead ground cover you were going to cut back or that brush pile you were going to move?  Leave it and make less work for you and more cover for those beneficial insects, including spiders, some beetles and solitary bees that you want in your garden come spring!

Clean up! This may seem a straight forward task, and for the most part it is. You want to clear any foliage from diseased plants. You can bag it and put it in the trash, or preferably, toss it somewhere well away from your garden. It is also good to do one final weeding so that any seeds on stalks won’t plant themselves in your garden when the weather warms up. Take up any inorganic material, such as black plastic and stakes, so they don’t break up in your garden. Cleaning your garden tools is also a good idea before storing them for the winter.

ArcanaAdPicks - 177Divide spring plants and dig up bulbs. Iris, Dianthus, Primrose, and late bloomers such as Rudbeckia, Geraniums, Hemerocallis, Hostas, Echinacea and Achillea can be divided. Summer bulbs, including Dahlias, tuberous Begonias, Cannas, Caladium, Elephants Ears and Gladiolas, should be dug up, packed in newspaper or for some, in moist soil (as with Dahlias) and stored in a dry place. Check on them occasionally over the winter months and anything that is soft or starts to rot, remove it immediately. Each bulb has its own needs, so check out this article from the University of New Hampshire extension for overwintering details.

Get soil tests and amend. Before the ground begins to freeze, get a soil test and amend this fall, and if you need to, adding lime to organic compost and mulches. The mulch will break down into organic matter and make for a richer environment for your plants in spring and summer. It’s also helpful to stockpile manure in the fall and cover it with a tarp so that nutrients to do not leach out. You can also cover crop 4-6 weeks before the first frost with Rye, Oats, or Legumes that will condition your soil and fix nitrogen into your garden. Cornell University has an amazing tool for figuring out which cover crop is best for your situation. Check it out here!

Our Farm

Save your leaves. If possible, save the leaves you rake up from fall and leave them in a pile to decompose. Over time, this will become an excellent garden amendment called leaf mold. If you want to speed up the decomposition just use a leaf blower on reverse or chop the leaves with a lawnmower.

Protect your garden. Harsh winter temperatures and winds can do a lot of damage in New England. Make sure to mulch with 3-5″ of straw preferably but sawdust, pine needles or wood chips. Wrap fruit tress to protect from winter sunburn and rodent damage. Protect blueberry bushes from harsh winter winds with burlap to minimize drying out of foliage.Vintage Anne with some of her garlic

Plant garlic! Get your garlic in the ground before the end of October or before the ground freezes, which ever comes first. Garlic likes a pH of 6.2-7.0 and needs a cold treatment of 40 degrees for a minimum of two months to sprout. Cover with a thick layer of straw to prevent any damage from the cold.

 

 

 

 

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Posted by Drea Tremols in Fall, Garden Care, How-To, Monthly News, Perennial, 0 comments
Favorite Fall Perennial Pollinators

Favorite Fall Perennial Pollinators

September may not be the New England gardener’s most exciting month for getting out in the yard, but it is actually a fantastic time to add pollinator plants to the garden. Most folks this time of year are splitting wood, putting up food from the harvest and getting gardens ready for those cold winter months that are just around the corner. However, here at Arcana, we also want to remind you of the fun and beauty that September can bring to our outdoor spaces and pollinator friends!

This is the time of year when bees and butterflies are trying to stock up for the winter as well, collecting the last bits of nectar they can find for honey stores or perhaps a long migration trip down South! We’ve collected a list of our top five favorite fall pollinator plants that not only help these insects but also bring lovely flowers to your garden after many perennials have finished their blooming season.

actea-simplexActaea simplex (shown left), also known as Bugbane, is a lovely 3′-4′ shade perennial. It adds great architectural height to the garden and is best planted in groups. It attracts hordes of butterflies and beneficial insects. It needs consistently moist, fertile soil and is best planted where it will be sheltered from strong winds. it looks lovely planted along with our next favorite late blooming perennial pollinator! Zone 4.

Anemone x hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’, also called the anemone-x-hybrida-honorine-jobertJapanese Anemone or windflower, is a stunning 3-4′ tall part shade plant that bears pure white, semi-double, slightly ruffled flowers with a yellow, fluffy center. It lends height, brightness and elegance to overall garden design it is no wonder that it is The Perennial Plant Association’s “Perennial of the Year” for 2016.  It may be slow to establish but once it does it is a low maintenance plant. They are helped by winter mulch in colder climates. They look especially lovely when planted with hostas and astilbes and they thrive in rich, loamy, consistently moist soil in Zone 5 or lower.

anemone-x-hybridaAnemone tomentosa ‘Robustissima’, or Grapeleaf Anemone, A native of north and central China, it is one of the hardiest anemones, bearing hundreds of mauve flowers with yellow centers on 18-36″ branching stems. A wonderful plant in the perennial boarder, cottage or woodland garden and a great flower for arrangements as well. The plant will spread to eventually create a 4-5′ wide colony; one of the best solutions for adding color and elegance to the shade garden. Prefers part shade and moist, humus-rich soil. Zone 3.

Chelone lyonii ‘Hot Lips’, common name Turtlehead, is a 3′ tall plants with snapdragon-like, brilliant chelone-lyonii-hot-lipsrose pink flowers that resemble the heads of turtles. Forms a graceful clump and looks lovely planted with asters which provide an excellent contrast of color. Grows best in part shade and may need staking in full shade sites. It is a native of wet woodland areas in the Southern United States but has naturalized to areas of New York and New England. Prefers rich, moist soil and is excellent planted in shade and woodland gardens as well as along ponds or water garden peripheries. Attracts butterflies, is an interesting cut flower and is also a rain garden plant. Zone 4.

buddleia-davidiiBuddleia davidii ‘Black Knight’ is a gorgeous pollinator with fragrant dark purple blooms that truly is a Butterfly Bush, as it’s common name claims. Grows easily in average to medium moisture but needs good drainage in full sun.  A deciduous shrub that is native to China, it grows between 6-8′ and has a bushy habit. Looks lovely in borders, rose gardens, cottage gardens and, of course, pollinator gardens! Also a lovely cut flower that brings it’s beauty and honey fragrance to a bouquet. Mulch well in the fall and cut down to 6-8″ from the ground in late winter as flowers grow on new wood. Zone 5.

There are many more pollinator plants that we love this time of year, such as New England Asters (noteworthy is its new latin name Symphyotrichum), Scabiosa Caucasia, and Hibiscus Moscheutos all of which can be found ON SALE at our nursery in Jericho, VT! Come on out and see these splendid late flowering pollinators in person! Leave a comment telling us what your favorite fall perennial is, pollinator or otherwise!

 

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Posted by Drea Tremols in Fall, Monthly News, Perennial, Pollinators, 0 comments

July at Arcana!

Our New BuildingHappy summer and boy has it been a hot one here in Vermont! We got some much needed rain this past week which means lots of mowing and weeding out in our crop fields and nursery but it also means we have gorgeous flowers in bloom and delicious crops to harvest! We have so many wonderful, organic crops growing and one of the stars of July is garlic! Garlic is one of the oldest cultivated plants and we’ve been growing it for our market stands and CSA shares for well over a decade. This year we are growing ten varieties-some for sale and some for seed. Garlic is a fun and relatively easy crop to grow. A great choice for farmers or gardeners who want to grow a crop that requires minimal effort with delicious and lucrative rewards!Eva Weedwacking

A few of our other crops currently being picked and enjoyed are snap peas, onions, gooseberries, currants, beets, radishes, mesclun, tomatoes, and cucumbers as well as herbs! July is an abundant time of year here in Vermont and we are taking full advantage of it! We harvest twice a week at Arcana-Tuesdays for our CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and Fridays for the Burlington and Stowe Farmer’s Markets! We’ve been attending Burlington’s Saturday market for more than 20 years and Sundays at Stowe for over 10 years! We really enjoy the community, customers and connection to other local vendors through these markets and hope to see you there!

We also take many plant starts to markets and offer beautiful veggie and annual starts to our CSA Echinacea ensemblemembers! This year we grew over 150 varieties of tomato starts, over 25 types of basil starts and 120+ varieties of peppers both hot and sweet! In our herb department we have lovely feverfew in bloom as well as arnica and thyme. We also have many beautiful flowering perennial plants such as liatris, echinacea and asters just to name a few.

If you’re local, be sure to stop by the farm in July for awesome deals on plant starts. Veggies, annual flowers and herbs always go on sale this month so it’s a great time to come by and see what beautiful,organic plants you can find for half the price! Also, be sure to come back to our blog for future profile posts on our staffs favorite herbs, perennials and crops of the month.

market berriesWe couldn’t end a blog post in July without recommending a recipe, could we? Check out this tasty gazpacho-a favorite cold summer soup of ours that is perfect with July crops! Don’t hesitate to leave a comment letting us know your favorite summer recipes, which crops are growing in your garden or your favorite perennials of July!

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Posted by Drea Tremols in Monthly News