The Middlebury Landscape

February 19, 2011

The Vermont Flower Show

Filed under: Random Thoughts,Uncategorized — Tim Parsons @ 12:40 pm

Much like the Shameless Commerce division of Car Talk, I’m veering slightly from the ‘educational institution’ blog to plug one of the finest things you should be doing this winter, which is attending the Vermont Flower Show at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds in Essex Junction, on March 4-6.

It’s been my pleasure to help set up this show for many, many years (10, 15?) I was the central display designer twice-a herculean task that was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I look at set up for the show much like baseball players going to spring training, the smell of soil and green plants, the movement of mulch fork and shovel getting your muscles in shape for the upcoming year.

I’ll tell you what goes into the display, but you won’t believe me. More than 150 yards of mulch ( a yard of mulch fits in the back of a small pickup truck), an entire commercial greenhouse of forced bulbs, hundreds of perennials, and trees and shrubs forced for blooms as well. Yes, entire trees. We’re a little crazy, admittably. And that’s just the plant material. Read about more of the design for more of the scoop, including a sketch of the design.

What makes the construction of the flower show all the more remarkable, though, is the hardest to explain. At most flower shows, individual landscapers and garden centers construct their own booths, miniature landscapes amongst a green mall for a week or weekend. In Vermont, though, the green industry is a little smaller, and not many firms have the resources to pull off a booth of forced plant material. So, many years ago, the Vermont Nursery and Landscape Association teamed up to hold a flower show, then at the Sheraton, where everybody got together and built one central display, for the betterment of the industry on the whole. Competitors the rest of the year, everybody teams up and shares tasks, and creates a spring world inside on a snowy weekend.

There are many other things to do at the show as well, not just walking through the central display. The admission price alone is a steal for all the talks and hands-on seminars that are possible to attend, and kids have their own room to ‘craft’ in as well. There are even cooking demostrations, along with vendors selling gardening merchandise, and plants. I dare you to walk out of there without some forced flowers in your hand.

November 2, 2010

The True way leaves fall

Filed under: Random Thoughts,Uncategorized — Tim Parsons @ 9:55 am

I was all wrong in my previous post on Leaf Color, the how, why, and when of leaf drop. Sorry about that. Take a little break from work, and watch this video for the correct biology.

April 26, 2010

Leaves Emerging

Filed under: Trees,Uncategorized — Tim Parsons @ 6:34 pm  Tagged ,

“What a rich book might be made about buds and, perhaps, sprouts!”

Henry David Thoreau

Red Maple

Red Maple

Norway Maple

Norway Maple

Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple

Katsura Tree

Katsura Tree

Camperdown Elm-Flowers

Camperdown Elm-Flowers



White Spruce

White Spruce


October 24, 2009

Leaf Blowers-An Apology, of sorts

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tim Parsons @ 1:40 pm  Tagged

Landscaping is pretty non-controversial, for the most part. After all, we’re out there, in all weather, making things better. Healthier trees, mown grass, clean and safe walkways, to name just a couple of things we do. In fact, I dare say, we’re only unpopular one time of the year, and we’re right in the middle of it now. Leaf Blower season. (more…)

August 3, 2009

Black Willow

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tim Parsons @ 5:22 pm

The Black Willow that fell over by Battell has been written about in Middlebury Magazine. It’s a great article for a lost friend. For pictures of the tree, as well as the first time I wrote about it, check out Art Around Campus. The article that was quoted was My Brief Career as an Art Critic. Then, to end the saga, the replacement tree is written about in Mobile Trees. Enjoy!

May 12, 2009

Art Around Campus

Filed under: Outdoor Art,Uncategorized — Tim Parsons @ 7:03 pm  Tagged ,

Around the end of the term, our department starts seeing all sorts of outdoor art appear out of nowhere. It generally seems to involve trees, with varying degrees of consternation on our part. (yeah, I worry too much) Truthfully, most of the art is very respectful of the trees, and the environment, and disappears as quickly as it is born.

Once in a while, though, a particular piece jumps out. I don’t know the artist, the class, or the professor, but hats off to this piece. Next to one of our favorite trees, a massive Black Willow disintegrating before our very eyes, this piece (don’t even know the name) has captured, I think, the spirit of the surrondings perfectly. I’m no critic, and the only art classes I’ve had are in landscape design, but I know what I like. And, to whoever made this piece, well, I’ll quote my grandfather when I’d graduated high school. “You done good”.

April 14, 2009

Early Spring Work

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tim Parsons @ 7:03 pm

Any good gardener knows this is the best time of year for working. It’s cold, only about 50 degrees, the wind is strong, and the ground is wet and very cold, but who cares? 50 feels a lot warmer in the spring than it does in the fall. And besides, this is the finest weeding of the year. (more…)

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