GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2005 show20
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Show #20

The beauty of Vermont is showcased in its' pastoral farms and gorgeous gardens. Today we're visiting a 120 acre vegetable and flower garden, The Intervale, on the outskirts of Vermont's largest city, Burlington. The Intervale features lush river bottom land that's perfect for farming and gardening. There are farms and demonstration gardens here that grow organic vegetables, berries, cut flowers, even chickens. We visit some of these gardens and learn small space techniques and how to deal with deer in your garden.

Kate LaRiviere is the communications director for the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce in Burlington. She welcomes Garden Smart to the area and invites our viewers to come and visit, to explore the wonders of one of the nations most beautiful regions. This area has everything from outdoor activities to the best shopping and dining to cultural activities, everything you could find in the bigger cities in this country. But Burlington is a manageable size of 40,000 people and only 140,000 in the county area. Don't think of the Burlington region as just a summer destination, a fall foliage destination or a winter destination. 4 seasons a year there is something going on. One of the jewels of this wonderful urban garden setting is the Intervale. It is a renaissance project and has been ongoing for some time, importantly the Intervale is an access point, it opens the city for farmers and gardeners and makes their healthy, fresh products readily available citywide.

Today we're visiting with Kathy LaLiberte, Director of Gardening, at the Gardeners Supply Company located in the Intervale. Gardeners Supply has all different kinds of demonstration theme gardens that provide ideas about what to do in your home garden. The purpose of these gardens is to demonstrate different kinds of plant material that people might not normally see. We start in the vegetable garden although it doesn't look like Charlie's or Kathy's home garden. The gourmet treats garden is a good example. It is has garlic, onions, leeks, purple carrots, beets, even some artichokes. Growing artichokes in Vermont is unusual but there some new varieties that are hardy and do quite well in this environment. Although one normally thinks of California when thinking of artichokes these new varieties grow from seed. You can start them in the spring and they actually produce fruit. On a teepee they are growing Pole Beans which are great in a steamed or French salad. They're also growing Kale, Radicchio, Radishes, all great ingredients for a salad. All this in a 10 by 9 raised bed.

There is also a butterfly garden which Kathy designed. She designs all the gardens, which she says is a lot of fun. There is a riot of color in the butterfly garden and there are plants here not only for butterflies but for birds and bees as well. When selecting plants for a garden like this Kathy selects plants that will provide a full season of color. Something that blooms in the spring, nice and early when the bees are first coming out, and plants that will still be in bloom towards the end of September. This garden has Echinacea and Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) that has a nice round dome on top which provides an easy place for the butterflies to land and it puts the nectar close for them so they don't have to work so hard. There are Lilies with big trumpet shaped flowers which is good for some birds, especially Hummingbirds. There are plants one might see on the roadside, things like Queen Annes Lace, although a weed, it is great for beneficial insects. The umbrels will be covered with tiny flies and bees, good beneficials to have in the garden. Wild plants that self sow move into the garden and they don't pull them. Wild Mustard is another and it too is nice for beneficial insects. Water is also important in a garden like this. There are several bird baths and little trays of water and mud that the butterflies like. They also like shelter so shrubs such as Blue Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) and Spireas. These are a nice mix into a border, they provide some structure to a garden and provide cover and cool places for them to hang out. Kathy leaves flowers that may be past their prime, flowers like Black Eyed Susan and Echinacea through the fall because the birds will visit and as the seeds mature in the Echinacea head the birds eat them.

We next view a cutting garden and Charlie grabs a basket. Kathy tells us what she is thinking when planting a flower cutting garden. This garden has all annuals which were started from seed this spring. The good thing about annuals is they provide lots and lots of flowers, plenty for cutting. With perennials there is a period of blooms, usually several weeks, then they stop. Annuals will bloom up until frost. In this garden there are a lot of different types of similar flowers. For example, with the Zinnias, there are big ones, little ones and some with multiple colors. That is because in arrangements it is nice to have a variety of different sizes of flowers. All huge Zinnias would make a peculiar looking arrangement. Thus there are big and small Zinnias, some Salvia Horminium, Ageratums, Snapdragons and Cosmos. There are many different colors and this garden is in rows so it will look different than a home flower garden. It is set up to be easily maintained and to provide the maximum amount of flowers for cutting. That is a good thing to remember with a cutting garden, you may not want to put it in the front yard because it may not look great all the time and all season long, because you'll be cutting a lot of flowers to bring indoors. So put it in a place where you can easily access it but it isn't the focal point of the garden. Kathy and Charlie start cutting flowers for later use in an arrangement. When cutting think of the vase the flower will go in. Oftentimes the flower will determine where to cut. Kathy cuts the stem as long as possible and when in the garden she cuts off the foliage because she doesn't want the foliage in the water. It will color the water and attract bacteria. Thus she uses other foliage to fill out the arrangement, but not the flower foliage. Kathy picks some flowers that are a little immature and some that are fully open, she likes a variety in an arrangement. Some may be buds, some big and mature. She compares a big pink mature bloom with a bud and likes the contrast, it adds interest. In this case they're all Zinnias but all different. Some people may choose flowers that have a common color throughout the mix of flowers, yellow for example. Others just cut a bunch of flowers then figure it out when arranging. Charlie notices that there are unusual flowers in this bed. One is a Salvia Horminium, it is a neat plant, the flower is small but the bract, or leaf, on top has a color like a Poinsettia. Kathy strips off the bottom part, so there is no foliage in the water, they add a nice vertical element to an arrangement. There are blue, pink and white variations and this flower is frost hardy. Even in Vermont you can be cutting these in October. They look great with Asters, Chrysanthemums and other fall flowers. They pick some more flowers then go to a table to pull together a beautiful arrangement.

Kathy, in designing an arrangement, starts with the filler plants. She has some Lady's Mantel (Alchemilla mollis) that provides a monochromatic base to start which allows you to design in a lot of different directions. The bland green allows bright colors to bounce off. She next adds yellows, some Yarrows (Achillea millefolium). She makes the arrangement look good 360 degrees because she envisions that this will be in the middle of the dining room table and wants all guests to have a good view. Next she adds Veronica, to provide an idea about ultimate height and importantly she likes taller things in the middle. As far as colors, it is an instinctual thing, what looks good to you. Forget the color wheel, if you don't like it, forget it. In the middle of summer with lots of color in the garden it's hard to go wrong. Kathy saves the Zinnias till last because she finds them difficult to arrange because they have a big saucer head and take up a lot of space in an arrangement. The Zinnias scream "look at me" so Kathy balances them with Black Eyed Susans. She next adds some smaller Zinnias and they, as discussed, add interest to the arrangement and also add a kind of echo. The Salvias are used as accents with their purple flowers and they balance the blue of the Veronica. The neat thing about a cutting garden is it allows you to bring flowers indoors and really see them up close, when in the garden there are too many other things that are often distracting.

Thank you Kathy for showing us these beautiful gardens. It has been an enjoyable experience.

Now that Charlie has flowers for the table he is going to the New England Culinary Institute to see what they're cooking up. We meet Chef Tom Bivins the Executive Chef at the New England Culinary Institute. The flowers are apropos because today Chef Tom says we'll be eating those flowers because he is making an edible flower garden salad. Chef Tom has a garden at home and an impressive garden at the New England Culinary Institute located at the Inn at Essex from which to choose the many fresh ingredients. He has Clary Sage, lots of fresh greens, Signet Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Johnny Jump Ups and Pansies. He will also use some peaches in this salad. Tom uses not only fresh flowers but dried flowers, dried Lavender and buds. He will crush these and add a pinch of salt. As well there are fresh herbs so it's a very picant salad that should peak your tongues interest and keep you excited about what you're eating. What we have here is a number of really wonderful edible products that are grown locally and easy to pick out of your garden. It probably took 10 minutes to gather and will take another 5 minutes to pull together. Everything on the plate is edible, the flowers either have a floral or peppery taste so are perfect for a salad. But first he makes a quick vinaigrette. He adds 2 vinegars. One is a Nasturtium vinegar that has a beautiful light pink color and has the peppery taste of a Nasturtium flower. To accomplish this he steeped a fairly large number of Nasturtiums in vinegar over a six month period. This infuses the vinegar with as much Nasturtium flavor as possible. He adds about 2 tablespoons of the Nasturtium vinegar then adds a little bit of raspberry vinegar (a blend of raspberries and red wine vinegar) which will change the color a little but adds a fruity flavor to the salad dressing. Next he adds a bit of pepper because you want the flavors to marry together before you add olive oil. The olive oil will enhance the flavor but doesn't adsorb salt, thus make sure the salt is dissolved in the vinegars first. Tom whisks in the olive oil, he doesn't need more than about a half cup. He doesn't like a lot of dressing and it is easy to make each day for your family. It blends nicely together. Then crush the Opal Basil leaves very lightly in between your fingers and you'll get a nice scent throughout the salad and it adds a little color. He next adds some Sorrel that he grew in his garden. It has a very fresh, tangy flavor. He makes his salads more interesting by adding a variety of different flavors. Although the Beets in his garden are small the Beet Greens are a perfect size for a salad. When making a salad tear the leaves as opposed to cutting them. That will get more flavor in the salad and also the blade of the knife will discolor the leaves of the lettuce. Tom throws in some Radicchio that has a nice vivid burgundy color. He next throws in a little Red Oak Leaf Lettuce, a lot isn't needed thus you don't need to grow a lot. Tom feels that in this country we tend to overeat, even greens. Instead enjoy the flavors, sometimes you can muddy the palate by having too much going on. Thus Tom has started with the basic greens then follows with the flowers later. He next adds some roses, which like all the flowers, haven't been treated with pesticides. Even though the flowers have not been treated with pesticides they should be washed or cleaned before eating. But be careful, use cool water and don't weigh them down, you sort of submerge them in water and shake them off. It is almost like dunking them and pulling them up. If left in the water or if sprayed with water you will crush them. Chef Tom next adds some lovely Marigolds, then some Nasturtiums which add a peppery taste. There is a cottage industry of people who are growing edible flowers. Toss all these together, it is personal preference how much of each item you add. Tom now drops in the peaches and the salad is beautiful, very colorful. Since he doesn't like a heavily dressed salad he drizzles a small amount of the dressing over the top. It only took a few minutes to put together, with gathering and preparing yet is something elegant to create for family and friends and a dinner party. Edible flowers right from your garden. What could be better?

Thank you Chef Tom for showing us how to put greens and flowers together in a scrumptious salad. This is truly something unique and special. We appreciate the lesson.

Diane Fuchs is the horticultural technician at the Gardeners Supply Company. Deer are a problem all across the country whether it be vegetables, trees, shrubs, perennials or bulbs they will eat most anything. There is a list of deer resistant plants but if deer are hungry enough they will eat the bark off trees, they'll eat about anything. Diane has a few products that might help with deer. Deer are very smart so she has a few different products to keep the deer guessing. One kit comes with 3 different repellent products. One week you might spray the hot pepper, the next the garlic and the next the smelly rotten eggs. If you keep the deer guessing and they don't get used to any 1 product these can be more effective. These do need to be reapplied after rain and it is a good idea to put them down before deer are a problem. Another product looks like a post but lures the deer in then gives them a shock. The lure smells like an acorn which deer love. Put the acorn scent all around the garden, even on the post. Place the posts around the garden, 3 posts will cover about 1,200 square feet. The deer come in, get excited about the acorn scent, go for the acorn, get shocked and learn to stay away from that area. The coil is connected to batteries which provide the electrical shock. The final product is hooked up to a hose. It has a motion detector with an infrared sensor and when the deer come close they get a sharp stream of water. It will reach about 35 feet so anything that moves will activate it. If you have deer and from our email it seems almost everyone does, these products may offer some relief. Let us know.


The Inn at Essex

Gardeners Supply

New England Culinary Institute

Recipe: Nasturtium Vinegar

Recipe: Nasturtium Vinaigrette

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GardenSMART Featured Article

By Delilah Onofrey, Suntory Flowers
Photographs courtesy of Suntory Flowers

It’s that time of year for poinsettias and Suntory has six new varieties that are stunning. To learn more click here for an interesting article.

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