Vermont Garden Journal

This chelone plant or "turtle's head" is a hardy native perennial that comes in dark pink, white and red.
By Wouter Hagens - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2802803

I used to own a camp with a swimming pond in the Northeast Kingdom. I remember in late summer swimming in the pond and admiring these plants growing along the pond edge. They were 2- to 3-feet tall with rounded stems, deep green, boldly veined leaves and white or pink flowers on the top of the stems. The flowers reminded me of an animal's head. Do you know the animal I'm talking about? Yes, it was chelone or turtle head.

Many herbs from your garden will survive the cold of winter; however, some herbs like rosemary need to be brought indoors.
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This time of year, it's easy to just let the herbs in your garden go. Maybe you've made enough pesto to feed an army or used all the dill you'll need for pickles. But there are good reasons to stay on top of your annual and perennial herbs. Some can be protected from winter, some brought indoors and you can  collect seeds from others.

Eutrochium Purpureum, also know as Joe Pye weed, is a favorite of butterflies and bees and makes a nice addition around a pond or grouped with shrubs.
Zwilling330 / istock

I love plants with interesting stories. One example is Eutrochium Purpureum. Don't know it? Well, back in colonial times there was a Native American medicine man who made tea from a certain wild plant to help cure typhoid fever. He saved the colonists and his name then became synonymous with the plant; Joe Pye weed.

Plant breeders have created many hybrids of Verbascum, some of which have flower spikes up to eight feet tall.
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This European native wildflower is in the snapdragon family but you'd never know from its shape and size. It has a tall flower spike, was used medicinally to treat respiratory problems and now has many showy hybrids created by plant breeders. I'm talking about Verbascum.

When harvesting apples, keep in mind that fruit on the south side and outside of the tree ripen faster than those on the inside.
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It's been a great fruit season and now's the time to pick the late summer fruits and berries. But how and when you harvest can make all the difference.

Modern Nurseries, courtesy

Many of our favorite flowering shrubs bloom in the spring and early summer then are nondescript for the rest of the growing season.

The warm, summer soil allows for quick germination when planting in unused beds for a fall vegetable harvest.
CJP, courtesy / iStock

We're at that in-between time in the vegetable garden; spring crops are done and summer ones are coming on strong. But one philosophy I live by is to never leave a bed unplanted!

The Chinese bell flower, also known as the balloon flower, slowly blows up like a hot air balloon before blossoming into the shape of a star.
maeterlinck, courtesy / iStock

The Chinese bell flower is a common perennial but better known as the balloon flower. It's a fun flower to grow with kids because of the shape of the flower buds.

Planting a fruit bush, like the beach plum, is a great way to enjoy the flavors of summer if your yard is too small for a fruit tree.
KJ Murphy / iStock

Not everyone has enough yard space for growing fruit so, luckily, there are bush versions of many classic fruit trees. They grow easily in small, sunny spots and stay a manageable size.  

When it comes to Daylilies, the Stella de Oro variety is considered the queen of the repeat bloomers.
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They're a classic Vermont summer flower. They've been grown for medicinal and edible use in Asia for millennia. The individual flowers only open for one day but the plants produce lots of them. Yes, they are daylilies!

Now is a good time to add extra compost or fertilizer so plants continue to produce fruit throughout the growing season.
Michael Jung / iStock

It's been an interesting summer so far. Lots of rain and humidity but not necessarily high temperatures; however, the vegetables are growing and now it's time to give them a mid-summer boost.

Training can go a long way when teaching your dog to stay out of the garden.
Alexei TM / iStock

If you struggle with the combination of a garden AND dogs, I've got some tips on how to have a dog-friendly garden and a garden-friendly dog.

Euphorbias plants, also known as Spurge, come in many varieties and develop colorful flowers in late spring.
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This group of plants is extremely varied. Some are large, cactus-like trees and shrubs, while others are ground covers. Poinsettias and crown-of-thorns plants are included in this group. Some can also grow as hardy, herbaceous perennials. That's why I'm excited about Euphorbias!

Sweet Potatoes grow well during Vermont summers but be careful not to lose your crop to voles and deer.
Birkholz / iStock

You would think this subtropical vegetable wouldn't have enough time to grow large, edible roots in Vermont. But amazingly, sweet potatoes thrive during our short, intense summers.

Tree peonies are just what they sound like. They have woody stems that survive the winter. Though they may never grow into "trees" in our climate, they do have a shrubby appearance.
OGPhotos / iStock

One of my favorite spring perennial flowers is the peony. While many of us grow the herbaceous peonies, there's another type gaining popularity; tree peonies.

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Blueberries are a great home garden crop to grow. They're well adapted to Vermont's climate, easy to grow and productive for years. But some gardeners have a difficult time growing blueberries.

After some up and down spring weather, Memorial Day is usually a safe time to plant most of your veggies and flowers. Most gardeners plant in beds or containers but we should also think vertical.

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As the weather warms up, plants are popping out of the ground and so are the insects.

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It's Mother's Day and what better gift to give mom than a flower basket for her garden or patio.

Mojito cocktail with lime and mint in glass.
AnnaPustynnikova / iStock

This common perennial herb is known for its many medicinal and culinary uses. And since it's almost Kentucky Derby time, I'm talking about mint!

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