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Heather’s Vermont Garden – FineGardening

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Today we visit Heather Kelman.

I’ve been gardening in northern Vermont since 2007. When my husband and I wanted to buy a home here, mature gardens were high on my list! Happy to say I got what I wanted. I’ve made various changes since then, but the previous owner created so many wonderful flower beds and lots of raised vegetable beds too. I’ve added four more garden beds and more will follow. I take care of the flower gardens while my husband takes care of the vegetable beds.

This is a garden that I created over ten years ago. The grass was challenged because of the pine roots, so creating a different garden was the perfect solution! This photo was taken in May.

yellow fairy bellsDisposum Flavens (yellow fairy bells, zones 5–8) bloom in May

A lush garden with a house in the backgroundThe front yard in June. The focus is on lilies of the valley (Convallaria majalis, zones 2–7), creeping thyme (Thymus praecox ‘Coccineus’, zones 4–9) and Vinca (Vinca minor, zones 4–8). On the left are raised bed vegetable gardens.

A path flanked by bushes that leads to a pergolaTo the left of the path is a lilac (Syringa vulgaris, zones 3–7) under which vinca and creeping thyme form a cover of the ground. On the right side there is a spotted willow (Salix integra ‘Hakura Nishiki’, zones 5–7) with conspicuous white-pink variegated new growth.

Raised bed filled with flowersFrom right: Silvermound Artemisia (Artemisia schmidtiana, zones 3–7); Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Zones 3–8); Chrysanthemum ‘Emperor of China’ (Zones 4–9); Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus, annual); Dracocephalum ruyschianum ‘Blue Dragon’ (Zones 3–7); Gentiana ‘True Blue’ (Zones 4-7); Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea, zones 4–8), with the Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ (zones 4–10) in the back ready to take on the lead; and butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa, zones 3-9).

An Actinidia kolomikta vine (zones 3–8) forms the background for this bed. This variety must have a male pollinator, but some varieties such as ‘Issai’ are self-fertile and do not require a separate pollinator. I pruned it a lot this year, but it doesn’t take long to replenish. It produces wonderful grape-sized, smooth-skinned kiwi fruit that taste just like store-bought kiwi fruit, only sweeter!

Garden bed with rows of vegetables behind itHere is another new garden that was laid out four years ago. It has yet to be filled in, but I am very happy with the progress made so far. Some plants serve as placeholders while I wait for the blue spruce to follow (Picea pungens ‘Procumbens’, zones 2–8). In the front there are more vegetable gardens.

Gentiana True BlueGentiana ‘True Blue’ – and it is blue! I only planted these last year so I’ll wait and see how they like their new home.

Chinese magnolia vineThe scarlet berries of Schisandra chinensis (Chinese magnolia vine, zones 3–8) are known as fruits with five flavors (sweet, salty, bitter, hot and sour). They are used in traditional Chinese and Russian medicine, but they are definitely not for eating!

Astilbe chinensisAstilbe chinensis (zones 4-8) blooms later in the season and is a wonderful plant for the front of the border in the front entrance garden in August.

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Robert Dunfee