Vermont Garden Journal: Award-Winning Plants

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I’m Charlie Nardozzi and this is the Vermont Garden Journal.

Well, the Academy Awards have come and gone, but the plant awards are still rolling in.

It’s always great to hear what the experts think are the best vegetables, flowers, and shrubs available. Some may be new to the trade, while others are just under appreciated.

So, let’s take a look at one. The envelope please … the Perennial Flower of the Year for 2013 is …. Variegated Solomon’s Seal.

There’s a reason this shade lover was voted perennial of the year. It’s an easy-to-grow beauty.

Variegated Solomon’s Seal, is hardy to Zone 3, has 1-to-2-foot tall, arching stems with green leaves edged in white. It produces fragrant, white flowers in spring, bluish-purple berries in summer and has a yellow fall color. Plus, it grows well in shade.

Solomon’s Seal is found as a wild flower under deciduous trees such as maples, on moist, yet well-drained sites.

When growing in the right location is spreads by underground rhizomes creating a mass of bright foliage in the dark forest. You can grow it in a shade or part shade garden as well. It makes a great companion to hosta, astilbe, and ferns.

This week in the garden you should be pruning your grapes. There are many ways to prune grapes, but the easiest is pruning your vine to be trellised on two wires hung 3 and 5 feet off the ground.

Prune so the main trunk has left and right arms attached to each wire. By the third winter, each arm should have grown to have 10 branches coming off it. Prune each branch coming off the arms to have only two to three buds.

Remove all other shoots coming off the main trunk and branches. This means removing up to 70 percent of your grape vine. Don’t worry, you’ll have a more manageable vine and better grape production.

For a taste treat, try growing the new seedless table grape, Somerset, which produces red fruits on plants that are hardy to -30 degrees.

Next week I’ll be talking about planting apples. Until then, I’ll be seeing you in the garden.


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