The Mountain Times

°F Fri, April 25, 2014

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Is Gardening Changing?

Gardening was one of the original 'arts' included in the Killington Arts Guild. I remember visiting Louise Hansson's house to see how to grow gardens in a limited space and to George Lyons place where he had a nursery of plants for the Sherburne Memorial Library gardens. We didn't form a garden club; we joined KAG instead.

This winter the Green Mountains had no permanent snow cover to reflect the sun and to keep temperatures cold. Alan Betts of Pittsford, a climate scientist, and a gardener for thirty years, writes that the ground was frozen 67 days instead of the historic 150 days. This is the second shortest winter on record in Vermont; the first one was 2001-02. The weather in March was by far the warmest for that month. This year gardeners are facing a mild winter, an early spring, and damage from Irene. Less snow means less moisture in the ground. Climate change also means increased extremes of precipitation that are less predictable.

In the mid 1990s, my husband and I came from New Jersey where forsythia bloomed prolifically. We were disappointed that it was difficult to grow it in Vermont. This year forsythia is thriving and has bloomed for weeks. Daffodils came up early, have opened and closed and opened again. The yellow is bright and cheerful in the gray days of early spring but it is a definite sign that the climate is changing. 

KAG will meet twice to talk about gardening, including adapting to climate change. On Monday, June 18th at 7 p.m. in the Sherburne Memorial Library, there will be a Plant Swap and idea exchange. On Monday, July 23 at 6 p.m., "Landscaping: Art in the Garden" will be held with Susan Maples, at 446 W. Hill Road in Killington. A couple years ago, Susan and her husband gave a slide presentation for KAG at the library about their landscape garden business. It started with working on drainage problems around homes; at the same time, Susan saw it was a way to solve the problems and build rock gardens. She has invited us to see what they have done in their own garden. At both occasions, "Irene" and climate change will become part of the discussion. You can't talk about flowers without talking about weather.

Tagged: Killington Arts Guild, KAG