Gotta Garden

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Visit to Andre Viette's Farm and Nursery

It wasn't my first stop, but it was certainly the best one. I was down around Charlottesville for the Open Gardens on Sunday and thought I would check out Andre Viette's Nursery. He's familiar to me as a radio voice that I catch bits and pieces of on Saturdays (sometimes his son, Mark, too).

The day was scorching hot. I saw the rows of daylilies blooming as I approached and their welcome told me I was close. I passed a beautiful brick home with lush gardens and there, right there, was a small sign which directed me to the business. More signs told me where to park and I did. Getting out, I took a quick look around and was told that Andre was giving a lecture on daylilies right then. Eager to hear, I took a short walk down (led by very helpful staff) and took a chair under a shady tree.

There was Andre with the voice I recognized but now I could attach a face to it. He was showing and talking about tools for gardening. He moved on to sprays and sprayers. I learned that he waters for 24 hours straight, maybe three times per month. Those are certainly long deep waterings! Everything looked wonderfully healthy and green. It gave me pause as I remembered that I thought I had deep watered when I let the sprinkler run for an hour in one place.

The chat was amusing and informative. Andre told us he had now infected us with daylily-itis after he showed us the ease with which we, too, could create our own daylily beauties. It wouldn't take much convincing for me as I am already interested and the 200+ seedlings on my back deck are testament to it.

After speaking, we were thanked for coming, invited to wander any and all of the gardens, and reminded that there was cold water and tea above for us. There were handouts to pick up and Andre was willing to answer questions.

That's the way to run an Open Garden, don't you think! I did wander and take pictures. I've visited other gardens that become nurseries that appear to be a hobby run amuck (affectionately), as a front yard or a back yard becomes taken over by pots upon pots. Not here. This was more someone who lives their work and just walks out the door to it. The gardens were gorgeous, the greenhouses neat and tidy, and the sales areas were well stocked.

Okay, I confess. I did buy a few things...just three, which is remarkable for me. I had been meaning to replace one of the newer coneflowers that didn't return for me this year. It's a particular favorite called Sundown. Large pots of healthy flowers made it easy to choose one. After seeing how those light leaved hostas light up a shade area, I opted for one called Orange Marmalade.

Finally, as time was running on, I limited myself to just the daylilies potted up, thinking this would make it easy for me. It did. I had thought I wouldn't buy any, but I can't resist large...and large and pink was a match. It will join around 500 companions in my garden (I do love daylilies).

I did enjoy my time at the Andre Viette Nursery and Farm. As I drove away, I enjoyed (again) looking at all the blooming daylilies (many hybridized by the Viettes).

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