Vermont Garden Journal

Fridays at 5:55p.m., Sunday at 9:34a.m.

The Vermont Garden Journal is a weekly program hosted by horticulturalist Charlie Nardozzi. Each week, Nardozzi will focus on a topic that's relevant to both new and experienced gardeners, including pruning lilac bushes, growing blight-free tomatoes, groundcovers, sunflowers, bulbs, pests and more.

Hear the Vermont Garden Journal Friday afternoons at 5:55pm and Sunday mornings at 9:34am.

Subscribe to the Vermont Garden Journal Podcast and RSS

Visit the VPR Archive for Vermont Garden Journal programs before 4/19/2013.

By Perlick Laura / Wikimedia Commons

Holly shrubs used to be placed around houses to ward off evil spirits, bad luck, animals and even fairies. The leaves and berries were used medicinally and in Celtic folklore the Holly King ruled the land during the winter.

Algirdas / Wikimedia Commons

A tenacious vine, the Virginia creeper is best known as the plant gracing the walls of Ivy League Schools. It has five leaflet leaves and small tendrils that adhere to just about any surface that allow it to climb to great heights without falling over.

Jeff Aldrich / Flickr

Kale continues to amaze me, especially this time of year. Not only does it survive cold temperatures, it shines. The flavor gets sweeter and the texture more tender with the shorter, cooler days. It's a vegetable that's hard not to love.

Kale is actually a primitive cabbage, related to the rutabaga. Kale will last into winter, and even into the spring if protected in the garden with a winter row cover.

GomezDavid / iStock

American Chestnut trees used to fill forests on the East coast from Georgia to Maine, providing food and rot-resistance lumber. Unfortunately, an Asian blight in the early 1900's killed most American Chestnut.

H. Krisp / Wikimedia Commons

Edible mushrooms are available in more places than just your local grocery store's produce section. Mushrooms can be locally found by foraging in your area or cultivated in your garden. 

An easy mushroom to cultivate is the native wine cap or Stropharia mushroom. They have a mild flavor, are easy to recognize and hard to confuse with harmful species. Stropharia are visually similar to Portabello mushrooms and the caps can grow to be rather large.

Nigel Chadwick / Wikimedia Commons

The larch, also known as the tamarack, is a large deciduous tree native to Europe and North America.

The rot-resistance wood of the larch was used to built most of Venice, Italy. It is also used to make bonsai trees and is one of the last trees to change color in the fall. 

Radoslaw Ziomber / Wikimedia Commons

schnuddel / istock

I always feel a bit sad this time of year for my annual flowers. Some have just come into their own, only to be nipped by frost. While it’s easy to buy new plants in spring, some varieties just beg to be overwintered. But before you go digging up your prized flowers to bring indoors there are a few tips to keep in mind.

jtyler / istock

This common flower symbolizes fall as much as pumpkins and corn stalks. It’s been grown for thousands of years in China and Japan not only for its beauty, but for medicinal and culinary uses. A Chinese proverb says, “If you want to be happy for a lifetime, grow chrysanthemums."

Amanda Shepard / VPR

Like many gardeners, for years I would diligently clean up the veggie and annual flower gardens this time of year, pulling out dead plants and adding them to my compost pile. But in the last few years I’ve decided to compost in place. Instead of feeding the compost pile, I feed the garden soil in the beds directly.