Monday, June 05, 2006

Weekend with Friends 2: Carol's Vermont farmhouse

We zipped up to southern Vermont for the day on Saturday, originally intending to go to see the Strolling of the Heifers in Brattleboro. The steady rain kept us away from the heifers, but we did visit my friend Carol and saw her new home, an old Vermont farmhouse on 3 acres. Carol and her partner Bruce have lots of plans for the house, and Bruce is already hard at work on some of them, including their current project, gutting and renovating the bathroom. Gardening projects also abound, they are currently planting large vegetable gardens, and some strawberries. The steady rain made the garden tour a bit wet but clearly she has lots of potential, including a huge lilac hedge between her house and the road, and a spectacular beauty bush that was in full bloom. The bush was huge, it must have been planted many years ago, and was in full blossom, just covered with light pink tubular flowers. The hummingbirds must love it. I tried to show in the photo the interesting peeling texture of the bark, which will add some winter interest. Note the large trunk remaining on the left after a past pruning.

Carol had lots of pale lilac iris, oriental poppies, some old roses and more. A giant bleeding heart nearly covered one end of the split rail fence. In all, a gorgeous palette to work from as she settles in and has more time for gardening when some of the more immediate house projects are done. In the back yard, a split rail fence divides the lawn from vegetable beds, currently planted with garlic and potatoes. Just beyond the fence at one end is a native dogwood, and the entire vegetable bed area is surrounded by a lilac hedge. Through the lilac hedge are more vegetable gardens, or in this case, a big strawberry bed. Beyond that area is fenced in pasture. The future will call for some livestock I'm sure.

As we drove to town to get some lunch, we saw a huge plant --over four feet and still growing -- on the side of the road in a boggy area, where the road had washed out recently, and new culverts installed. If there had been pavement, the tires would have screeched as we stopped to look, speculating that we might be seeing a giant hogweed, considered a noxious weed as the sap causes severe dermatitis in most people.

We sent Dan into the rain to document the plant, with cautions against touching it or brushing against it accidentally. Once we got home, I looked it up and discovered it was instead wild angelica, angelica sylvestris, which is often mistaken for hogweed. It would be spectacular in the back of the border, I will need to do some research and see if it is suitable and not likely to become overly aggressive towards it garden mates.


Lynne said...

I wondered what that was called. I have friend who has a creek running though her 'what was once farmland years ago'. She has dozens of scary looking plants! I let her know not to mess with them.

Ali said...

If they are angelica, they are safe to handle. If she thinks they are giant hogwed, she might be able to get the state to help her remove them.