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.

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.

Dean Lyeteffi / iStock

With the exploding production of hard ciders, there has been a renewed interest in antique or heirloom apple varieties. Apples were originally grown in our country not for fresh eating, but to drink. And hard cider was especially prized. You can see why everyone was so excited with Johnny Apple Seed running around the countryside sowing apples. Back a hundred years ago, there were many more varieties of apples than grown today. Specific varietal blends were used to make tasty ciders.

prensis / istock

These flowers were gathered in the wilds of Turkey by Ottoman sultans and were depicted on paintings, wall covering and in decorative arts throughout the 1500s. Later on hybrid versions of these blooms spurred a whole flower industry in Europe, including a market crash. But the species versions have gathered less attention.

Peter Topp Enge Jonasen / iStock

When is a tomato, not a tomato? When it’s a cherry? If that doesn’t make much sense, you’ll understand the confusion over ground cherries. These tomato family fruits grow close to the ground. The “cherry” refers to the yellow fruit inside the papery husk. The fruits have a sweet flavor with just a hint of tomato.

Andrew Teman / Flickr

These fruits have been grown for more than 3000 years in Japan and China. Although they share a name with a similar European fruit, they present themselves totally differently. They are round, crisp textured, and juicy. We call them Asian pears.

Mercedes Rancaño Otero / istock

I’m moving on in the hydrangea world. When the first ‘Endless Summer’ blue hydrangeas hit the market I thought it was the holy grail of hydrangeas for our climate. But unfortunately, many times ‘Endless Summer’ has turned into Endless Bummer for lack flower production.

hsvrs / istock

Late summer can be a frustrating time in the perennial flower garden. The rudbeckias and coneflowers are fading, but the asters and sedums haven’t come into their glory yet. There is often a color gap in the garden. The answer could be Japanese anemones.

Ekely / iStock

When I first saw monkshood, it was in September in coastal Maine and the garden was ablaze in purple color. This, I said to myself, is a plant I need for my fall garden.