ah spring…

May 17, 2011

The Nursery is looking good!  And the gardens, despite needing so much attention this time of year, are producing bloom after bloom- just gorgeous and fun!

Snowdrops under the contorted beech

It’s a late spring in the northeast, but we’re quickly catching up.  Two years ago hellebores and witchhazels were blooming in the 3rd week of March- and this year- they are two to three weeks behind that- still blooming now- and some just started!  The snow piles have depleted with some warm rains and it’s looking hopeful!

Here are some photos of what’s blooming now.

Helleborus purpurascens

Helleborus niger (Christmas rose)

Hamamelis Jelena (we think)

Chionodoxa labitica (Glory of the Snow)

Hamamelis Arnolds Promise

Hamamelis x intermedia Hiltingbury (we think)

Iris reticulata

iris histrioides Katherine Hodgkin

Crocus chrysanthus Cream Beauty

Crocus sieberi Tricolor"

Crocus chrysanthus Blue Pearl

Petasites japonicus giganticus Variegatus

Erica carnea cultivar (Heath)

Pulmonaria- self-seeded. First to show color this spring.

What a week it was!  It’s amazing how things have sprung back including the nursery which is looking better than ever.  I hope I don’t see that again anytime soon- a pretty demoralizing event- but we’ve picked up the pieces and it’s looking beautiful again.  And the yellow Magnolias are in full bloom- just missing the snow event.  We look forward to seeing you here!

Yellow Magnolias are blooming!

The Snow is gone! How about those Merrill Magnolias- tough!

The Nursery is looking great!

The snowstorm that came through Vermont dropped about 18 inches of snow on Rocky Dale Gardens.  It’s been a tough couple of days and we have a lot of clean-up to do!  Hopefully we’ll be open by the weekend.   We’ll know more about the state of our inventory and the garden once the snow melts.  We have lost a lot of limbs and there are trees down.  No doubt we’ll be cutting back perennials and bulbs that have been broken and frozen.  It may take some time, but things will bounce back.  Hopefully I can update the site with some more spring-like photos soon.  Here are some photos before the storm followed by the latest photos of “during”.

Once February comes, I know that the dreariest part of winter is over.  The sun is higher, though long shadows persist.  While winter seems so long, I’m already concerned about getting my pruning done before spring.  And in the office- the new plant additions for the catalog, new signs, filing- all of that stuff needs to get done before the onslaught of spring’s paperwork and motherload of work outdoors.  Winter is long, but it’s short too!

Speaking of the catalog.  We will not be printing a catalog this year- and perhaps no longer print one at all.  Simply put, we can’t afford the almost 5 figure cost and we don’t consider it the most environmentally friendly option among the choices we have today.  The catalog will be available on-line to download, sort through and print any pages you’d like.  In light of this, we will be outfitting the nursery with updated plant information signs and various other on-site tools that will fill the void of the physical catalog.  All the information that was in the catalog will still be available, just in a different form.  We’ll be updating and expanding our information and plant selection guides- those will be available at the nursery in hard copy and also downloadable online.  We’re optimistic that these changes are in keeping with a more efficient and sustainable way of doing business.

This blog will be taking a back seat as well while we engage you through our email newsletter and our online photo galleries.  There are so many means of communicating electronically, and we want to make sure our efforts are efficient and meaningful.

Where we’ve used the blog to share photos of the garden, we’ll now use our Flikr account where we can share photo albums.

Where we’ve used the blog to keep you informed of events and promotions, we’ll now use our email newsletter which you can subscribe to.

Where we’ve used our blog to connect you to like-minded businesses and businesses in our area, we’ll connect you through our website- rockydalegardens.com.

Amy, our Nursery Manager, is writing our first newsletter this week. Her topic is “Hype and Circumstance”- her thoughts on new cultivars and her search for feedback from you. She hopes to engage you in feedback and compile your comments in an on-going discussion in our newsletter which we will email regularly.  Sign up here. If you’re hot to get started, you can reach Amy by email- amy@rockydalegardens.com right now!

These changes sound big, but they’ll hardly be noticeable.  Our goal is to run a sustainable business and provide you with the greatest selection of healthy and interesting plants while providing expert advice.

As always, we’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for tuning in!


November 30, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Come on in and see us in our December home in Bristol village next to Almost Home Market on North Street.

Every Saturday in December we host an Open House with Almost Home, with a special Wine Tasting on Saturday, December 12th from 2-5pm to sample bubbly and sparkling Holiday Wines!

Our Christmas Shanty is filled with a wide selection of beautiful hand-made ornaments from Europe and a selection of hand-blown glass ornaments from John Chiles Glass in Cornwall, VT.

We have fresh wreaths and garlands of balsam, pine and a mix of cedar-pine-fraser in several sizes.  We also have numerous loose greens for arrangements including black spruce tips, berried juniper, incense cedar, and silver fir.  Also available- boxwood tree arrangements and boxwood kissing balls, amaryllis and paperwhites.

We can help you with any custom work and we’re happy to ship these Vermont wreaths for you.

We hope you have the time to stop in and enjoy this brief festive time, gather ’round the fire and share in some Holiday Cheer.

Please enjoy the sounds of A French Christmas- Andre Claveau singing “Noel Sans Vous”

Rocky Dale has set up its Christmas Shanty next to Almost Home Market in Bristol Village.  This is a tradition in the making- marking our 5th season with the Christmas Shanty this year.  We decided to spruce it up with a new paint job.


Kathy touches up our paint job- her theme for the Shanty this year- “Shantasia”.


We have great Amaryllis that we’ve started forcing in eco-friendly rice pots.  They’ll be available for purchase inside Almost Home Market.

RD Shanty4

We create a number of floral pieces from small boxwood trees, to an assortment of greens and berries arrangements.  We use a number of greens from our own garden.

RD Shanty2

Each wreath is unique.  We start with a fresh wreath assembled from balsam, pine, fraser fir, and/or cedar from the Northeast Kingdom.  We then add Rocky Dale greens and an assortment of other decorations.

RD Shanty3

Inside the Shanty, we have beautiful and unique European hand-made glass ornaments, as well as items from our store including Felco Pruners, hand tools, and garden ornaments.
RD Shanty8

Even it you can’t make it to the Shanty- we’re happy to help you share in the festivities.  Let us know if you’d like us to ship something to you.

RD Shanty9

If you need something special made up- let us know in advance.

RD Shanty5

Every night we have a fire going and all the ingredients for s’mores.  It’s a festive time and even though it’s cold outside- we’re warm on the inside!  Hope to see you in town!

RD Shanty6

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