A majestic view of Lake Champlain from Union St.
Vermont is a very cool place, especially Burlington. Besides producing famed recording stoner-band, Phish, and providing the munchies to accompany the tunes, Ben and Jerry's ice cream, it's got a lot of groovy places to discover. While it can be one of the coldest states in America (last visit in March barely yielded temps above 7 degrees during the day), this time of year it's as green as its license plates and organically grown food. As a matter of fact, it's technicolored, with prolific blooming flowers and gardens all over town.
Black eyed Susan's grow everywhere here...even in sidewalks
I went for a weekend jaunt to visit some friends and came back with a full stomach and camera. I ate my way through town, and on the way, I found the most amazing gardens and sites.
Phlox peeps out of picket fence
The neighborhoods are as quaint as can be with Victorian homes painted in a variety of intense hues that make you realize there are a lot of artists living here. The nicest part is most homes have a garden in some capacity, from container pots to hanging baskets to well manicured perennial beds. It's an explosion of color against the austere backdrop of the Green Mountains. For a flower lover, it's practically paradise.
The weather in Burlington in August is perfect; it's sunny for the most part and in the mid 70's. After a brief respite hanging out on the piers of Lake Champlain, my friend and I poked around town and got down to some garden spying. I lucked out with the summer season, all gardens are full and brimming with perennials. One type in particular surprised me to see it in such magnitude--Maryland's black eyed Susan. The flower seemed to somehow follow me up north, it was popping up in garden beds all over the place. It seems that black eyed Susan's love Vermont just as much as much as I was starting to.
Winter King Hawthorn trees were all over neighborhoods in town
And Vermont loves flowers. So much that they that planted a Wildflower Farm right outside Burlington in Charlotte, right on Rt. 7. It's open to visitors and flower lovers alike, and has a 1/4 mile wildflower path bursting with color. Part of it is shaded, so you can find all sorts of woodland ferns and trees there too. If you want to start your own wildflower garden, they have plenty of seeds and bulbs in their gift shop, as well as huge assortment of funky garden decor.
We spied on a ton of flowers, there was: Queene Annes lace, wild lupine, carninal flower, coreopsis, ageratum, liatris, phlox, echinops, Asiatic lilies, oriental lilies, snapdragons, roses, cornflower, cosmos, purple loose strife, sunflowers, echinacea, cleomes, wild poppies, sedums, thistles, dahlias, heliotrope, larkspur, zinneas... and phew!... so many more. All were in full bloom-- my timing couldn't have been better.
Bee digging on some echinacea
Vermont Wildflowers in bloom
Tree tags help identify arbols at the Vermont Wildflower Farm
If you visit the Wildflower Farm, you must go down the road a bit further, where you will find the Charlotte Berry Farm (it's pronounced Char-lot). It's blueberry season now and there were bushes in all varieties-- ranging from tart to sweet. Added bonus, you pick blueberries to music; they had speakers all around the barn, which was a beautiful thing.
The Magic Blueberry Farm
Our soundtrack: Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Picking berries to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is hard to describe, but it was pretty magical, as you may imagine.
We scored almost 5 pounds for nine bucks
Although my focus was in the fields and gardens, the color I encountered was not only limited to flowers. We found this guy circling on his bike in Burlington's outdoor shopping square, sporting a bizarre message: Stop Shopping. Wait, aren't we in a recession? The other side of his sign read: Good Germans. We have no idea what all this meant but it doesn't matter...his acid trippy signage and wacky energy forced us to avoid his path and take his picture instead. Right on Good German, man.
Weekly messenger of doom or international public relations savant?
So, if you're lucky to be up north this time of year and find yourself in Vermont, make sure you stop off in Burlington. It's a way colorful town with a beat of its own. And amidst those endlessly green mountains, be sure and spy out some of the front yards and city plantings. Don't forget to stop by the Co-op, the food selection is endless and healthy (surprise), and the outside garden has at least 20 varieties of perennial, wild and annual flowers. In all, Burlington is pretty darn green, I mean technicolored green.
All pictures taken by the International Flower Spy.
Black-eyed Susan's and echinacea
For optimal effect: view while eating Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia, and listen to "Bouncing Around the Room" by Phish. As always, double click on images for acid-trip colors to download.
Maidenhair ferns in the woods at Vermont Wildflower Farm
State Flower: Red Clover
State Bird: Hermit Thrush
Home of celebrities (well kinda): Fred Pabst (as in Pabst Blue Ribbbon), Rudy Vallee and Orson Bean.
Weird Law (but good law): There is no McDonalds in the state capital of Montpelier.
Just plain Weird Law: It is illegal for women to wear false teeth without first obtaining permission from their husbands.
Name Origin: From the French, vert mont (green mountains)
Lake Champlain on a very sunny day