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The Africas

  • Subject: The Africas
  • From: gw1944@vermontel.net (Glen Williams)
  • Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 10:52:43 -0400

Dear Hosta Folk,

Yet another day of heat and humidity in Vermont. We have had so much rain
that the hostas still all look great, but getting out to look at them up
close, or better yet to weed them ,  can be done in only small doses.

I took some time off from my garden a few days ago and drove north to meet
Role Dales at the gardens of George and Gail Africa. They run a retail
nursery called The Flower Farm. It's in an area of Vermont called the
Northeast Kingdom. Their town  is located in a small lake/pond district and
has a couple of state forests and camping sites in the area.  It's a
beautiful part of the state.

I had no idea what to expect for a nursery, but theirs is a delight. The
drive to get there is through young and old forests, unrelenting greens and
different textures from various types of foliage, and little roads that
might lead to some place interesting if one had the time.  One comes on the
nursery  as a burst of color imbedded in solid green.  As the clichi goes ,
it was a riot of color. Phlox, astilbe, hollyhocks, asiatic lilies,
daylilies, monarda, hostas, ligularia, sedum, and a another dozen
perennials which dazzled the eye. Coming around the corner and seeing it
for the first time was like an introduction to an  impressionist painting :
dots of color blending into other colors, and textures creating shade and
high lights giving deep shadows  contrasted with points of bright light.
The detail didn't matter but the color and texture overwhelmed you....as
does Monet

Roy and I had a great time wandering through the garden (saw a great new
sport on a H. 'Striptease' (George didn't seem to believe me when I told
him that the sport would overtake his plant and kill it, but that I was
willing to cut it out and throw it away at my garden site so it couldn't
infect his again), and for the first time I was seriously tempted to add
color to my garden through daylilies.  In a lot of ways the Africa's have
an ideal spot and a superb old fashioned garden. Below the main garden is
the crumbling stone foundation of an old barn which George has turned into
a wonderful shade garden with its own Stone Henge, stone stairs and walks,
a bog garden he built where a hundred wheel barrows of peat that
disappeared immediately, and hostas tucked everywhere amidst the old
stones. This area really claimed my heart. Also there was a faciated (sp?)
stem on a trillium which he said made the blossom of the plant into a

The day out at the Africas was a great reminder that there is life beyond
hostas. There was something else too, which came into focus when my
nephew's wife was describing my hosta garden to some other people. I
listened to her and she said that I grew hostas for color not for size. And
that I intermingle them for contrasting colors and texture. I hadn't put
this description together before about my garden, but it's really true. In
one sense, and with a much more subtle combinations, I really do have an
"impressionistic" garden (color and texture at a distance). At about 30
feet it is my attempt at Monet.

Gail and George..many thanks for the pleasure of your garden and your
company. And lunch!

"Yearning to to right on any subject for more than 10 minutes."
Glen Williams
20 Dewey St.
Springfield , Vermont
Tel: 802-885-2839 

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