The VNLA Quarterly Newsletter
Volume 39, Issue 4
Winter Issue, 2013-2014
Megan Moffroid & Kirsten Seibert -
Broadleaf Landscape Architecture
Large Scale Residential Design
Exceeds Excellence Award
Charlie Proutt
Distinctive Landscaping
Small Scale Residential Design
Exceeds Excellence Award
Sarah Stradtner
Distinctive Landscaping
Small Scale Residential Build
Exceeds Excellence Award
Industry Award
Tricia King - Distinctive Landscaping
Large Scale Residential Design
Honor Award
Caroline Dudek - Landshapes
Large Scale Residential Design
Merit Award
Ashely Robinson, Landscape Designer
Small Scale Residential Design
Honor Award
Marie Limoge - Landshapes
Small Scale Residential Design
Merit Award
Industry Award Winners
Inside this
president’s letter
Board of Directors 4
New Green Works
Green Works Industry
Award Winners
Green Works
Celebrates 50 Years -
How it All Started
Winning the Price
Wars - Sell Like a
Shady Places 14
News from the U 16
Agricultural Plastic
Recycling Trial
Hedgerows to
Agency of
Agriculture News
Consider These
Japanese Maples
Meet VT Agency of
Ag’s State
UCONN offers
Perennial Plant
Industry Calendar 27
I just glanced up at the calendar and
then looked out the window and was
struck by how quickly it seems that
another year has drawn to a close and
that suddenly we find ourselves in the
middle of winter. I hope that you are all
enjoying a little down time and some
much needed rest and are looking
forward to spending some quality time
with family and friends in gratitude for all
the blessings that you have in your life.

The off season gives us each some time
to stand back and take a look at the
past season and review our businesses
and evaluate what worked well this past
year and areas where we can make
changes to improve our outcomes as we
plan for the year ahead.

I have spent a great deal of time over the
past few weeks not only looking at the
business end of my life, but at myself
personally. I have spent a lot of time
writing things down which has given me
much clearer perspective on who I am
and where I am going. It has been a
valuable exercise that has been, at times,
both difficult and enlightening. I have
written about my passions, my skills, my
values, my many faults, and the
relationships in my life both personal and

This personal “house cleaning” of sorts has
left me feeling so much more in focus and
balanced and at peace and has helped
to alleviate so much of the stress and
anxiety that I know we all carry around
with us. That stress and anxiety only serves
to sabotage our ability to be the very best
that we can be in all aspects of our lives. I
have also realized the importance of
committing to doing this kind of personal
maintenance on a daily basis if we are to
fully realize our desire to live a fulfilling and
purpose driven life.

I know that by doing this work it will
transfer to my professional life and will
make me better equipped to work
through the challenges that lie ahead in
the coming year. It will help me to make
the changes necessary to ensure greater
success in all my endeavors. I hope that
you will all take some time over the next
couple of months to invest in your own
personal evaluation, knowing that you will
realize the benefit and gain some
valuable perspective.

This year will mark the 50
year of the
VNLA’s existence as a professional
association. We are looking into ways that
we can use this anniversary to raise
awareness of who we are and what we
do that will ultimately serve to benefit all
of our members and the continued
growth and success of your businesses. As
always, we welcome your input and
ideas and value your continued support
of our mission. I look forward to seeing you
all at our annual meeting at The Davis
Center at The University of Vermont on
February 13
and wish you all a
prosperous and fulfilling 2014!
VJ Comai, Green Works/VNLA/President
VJ Comai
South Forty Nursery
184 Tamarack Rd * Charlotte, VT 05445
802.425.6222 *
Ed Burke
Rocky Dale Gardens
806 Rocky Dale Road * Bristol, VT 05443
802-453-2782 *
Claybrook Griffith
Long Leaf Landscaping, LLC
4379 Ethan Allen Hwy.
New Haven, VT 05472
802-999-4558 *

Nate Carr
Church Hill Landscapes, Inc.
287 Church Hill Road * Charlotte, VT 05445
Carrie Chalmers
Quoyburray Farm
239 Lawrence Hill Road * Weston, VT 05161
Hannah Decker
Fairfax Perennial Farm, Inc.
7 Blackberry Hill Road * Fairfax, VT 05454
Sarah Holland
River’s Bend Garden Design, LLC
7386 VT Route 100 B
Moretown, VT 05660
Ron Paquette
Paquette Full of Posies Nursery
10236 Williston Road * Williston, VT 05495
Brian Vaughan
Vaughan Landscaping
40 Mt. Pritchard Lane
St. George, VT 05495

Kristina MacKulin
Green Works-VNLA
P.O. Box 92 * N. Ferrisburgh, VT 05473
Toll Free: 888.518.6484; 802.425.5117
Fax 802.425.5122
Claybrook Griffith
Long Leaf Landscaping, LLC
Brian Vaughan
Vaughan Landscaping
Ed Burke
Rocky Dale Gardens
Sarah Holland
Vermont Wetland Plant Supply, LLC
Ed Burke
Rocky Dale Gardens
VJ Comai
South Forty Nursery
Brian Vaughan
Vaughan Landscaping
VJ Comai
South Forty Nursery
VJ Comai
South Forty Nursery
Nate Carr
Church Hill Landscapes, Inc.
board of directors

For information on
in The Dirt
Kristina at the
Green Works Office
Are you and your

Now is a great time to order VCH
manuals for yourself and/or your employees as the
season gets underway. Prove your level of
professionalism and commitment to excellence to
your clients. Order a VCH manual and take the test
this Summer to become a Vermont Certified
Horticulturist. Contact Kristina MacKulin for ordering
and test information.
Old World Garden Design LLC
Silvia Jope
1073 Pine Street
Burlington, VT 05401
Category: Landscape Designer
Active Member
Pinnacle Properties VT
Matt Cohen
66 Airport Road
S. Burlington, VT 05403
T. 802-658-0809
Category: Hardscaping, Landscape Design/Build,
Landscape Install Maintenance
Active Member
Tuckahoe Turf Farms
Peter DeBrusk
1186 Bound Tree Road
Contoocook, NH 03229
Category: Supplier
Associate Member
Thanks for joining and
New Green Works Members
Green Works/VNLA
Annual Winter Meeting and
Trade Show
February 13, 2014
Join us at UVM - Davis Center
Grand Maple Ballroom
US Route 2A/Main Street
Burlington, VT 05405
Program Highlights
Keynote Address and Profit
Builder’s Workshop w/Jeffrey
Scott, MBA and landscape
business expert
The 10 Principles of Sustainable
Landscape Planning & Design
with David Raphael, landscape
architect and UVM faculty
Industry Award Winner
Visit Trade Show Vendors
50th Anniversary Social
We hope to see you there!
register on-line at
Green Works - Industry Award Winners - 2013
This year’s Industry Award winners will be presented at
Green Works annual winter meeting on February 13, 2014.
This program is in it’s fifth year. This year’s selected
winners are as follows:

Megan Moffroid & Kirsten Seibert
Broadleaf Landscape Architecture
Large Scale Residential Design
Mountain Residence
Exceeds Excellence Award
Tricia King - Distinctive Landscaping
Large Scale Residential Design
Alluring Cottage Garden
Honor Award
Caroline Dudek - Landshapes
Large Scale Residential Design
Mt. Philo Residence
Merit Award
Charlie Proutt - Distinctive Landscaping
Small Scale Residential Design
Small City Garden
Exceeds Excellence Award
Ashley Robinson
Ashley Robinson, Landscape Designer
Small Scale Residential Design
Backyard Expansion
Honor Award
Marie Limoge - Landshapes
Small Scale Residential Design
Shelburne Residence
Merit Award
Sarah Stradtner - Distinctive Landscaping
Small Scale Residential Build
Small City Garden
Exceeds Excellence Award
We received 7 submissions and each submission received
an award. Green Works assembled a panel of
professionals to review and judge the entries. In mid
December they spent a full day together, looking at slides
and reviewing the information submitted with each
project. Any identifying information on the entries was
omitted so the judging could be “blind” and objective. If
one of the judges recognized a project and felt they couldn’t
be objective, they were asked to recuse themselves. The
Megan Moffroid & Kirsten Seibert -
Broadleaf Landscape Architecture
Tricia King
Distinctive Landscaping
Caroline Dudek
continued to page 7
continued from page 6
judges included a landscape architect and professional
horticulturists/garden designers. We do not reveal the
names of our judges.
A big thank you to all who submitted and please, keep
on submitting! We’d like to receive many more entries
and know there is a lot of great work being done by our
members. Each year we get a few more first-time
entries. You can’t be awarded if you don’t enter, but
entering isn’t a guarantee of an award either.
Submitting entries for an industry award is always a
good learning experience and it helps build your
A big thank-you to our judges and to all the
participants! Keep track of your projects this year, take
lots of photos, visit older projects and submit for next
year’s awards!
Please view the winning project photos on the cover and
inside cover of this issue. You can also view a slide
show of the winning projects on our website
Ed Burke, Industry Awards Committee Chair
Charlie Proutt
Distinctive Landscaping
Ashley Robinson
Ashley Robinson, Landscape Designer
Sarah Stradtner
Distinctive Landscaping
Marie Limoge
Landscape Distribution Center
472 Marshall Avenue, Williston, Vermont
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1177_Dirt_April2013.indd 1 4/1/13 12:31 PM
Notice of the first meeting appearing in the Green Mountain
Grower: January 28, 1964 - “The first annual meeting of
Vermont Plantsmen’s Association, 2 p.m. In Horticultural Hall,
Municipal Auditorium, Barre, Vermont, in conjunction with
the Vermont Farm Show. Primary business: Election of officers
and discussion of projects. To date 40 members have
pledged dues for 1964. If you haven’t returned your pledge
card, join this organization by doing it now.”

First Executive Secretary; Richard (Dick) Salter of Reading,
the first Executive Secretary serving for twenty years, was
largely responsible for the management and programs of
the Vermont Plantsmen’s Association. Dick wrote and
distributed the newsletter named The Potting Bench. He
instituted advertising by members and others in the
publication to help defray the cost. He managed the
finances, scheduled the meetings, contacted the speakers
and kept the organization on track. He managed a Blue
Cross/Blue Shield Health Insurance Program for members
and employees families, collecting premiums, filing claims
and keeping the records which allowed the organization’s
members low-cost health insurance. He helped organize
and manage the annual flower shows held in various sites
including the Barre Auditorium, St. Monica’s School in Barre,
the Armory in Berlin, and the Burlington Auditorium. Dick
represented the VPA on the Board of Directors of the New
England Greenhouse Conference where he served as
Hospitality Chairperson many times. He invited and strongly
encouraged the various Vermont Secretaries of Agriculture
and the Deans of the University of Vermont College of
Agriculture to attend and speak at meetings. Dick was well
organized and resourceful. He didn’t hesitate to ask growers
to join or members to participate often resorting to strong
persuasion that didn’t always sit well with others. He insisted
that annual meetings be held where liquor and a good
meal were served. He retired as Executive Director in 1983.
Dick specialized in growing high quality geraniums and
bedding plants at Salter’s Greenhouse in Reading. He died
one month short of his 100th birthday on August 15, 2000.
Perhaps his enjoyment of a martini before lunch and
smoking a cigar after lunch shortened his life.
Highlights of the Past
Changes in the VPA (now, the VAPH) have reflected the
trends in Vermont and the ornamental horticulture industry.
The total value of goods and services provided by the
industry has greatly increased since the founding of the
organization in 1964. Many florists produced some of their
own cut flowers and flowering pot plants in greenhouses in
the 1960’s. The educational programs for members included
more information of interest to these growers. This was
followed in the late 60’s and 70’s by tremendous growth
and sales of foliage plants and gardening items as part of
the green revolution. The number of businesses selling plants
and garden related supplies and equipment grew rapidly.

All through the 40 years of the organization as the
population of Vermont grew many people moved into the
state from other parts of the country where lawns and
landscape plantings were more popular. People became
interested in using a greater variety of plants in their
landscapes. Not only did the interest in membership in the
VPA increase among Vermont plant professionals, but
suppliers from nearby states joined as associate members.
An increasing number of national nurseries and suppliers
have sought customers in Vermont by joining the
organization and participating in the trade shows.
VT Dept. of Agriculture/University of VT Extension: Through
the years, representatives of the Vermont Department of
Agriculture and the University of Vermont Extension Service
(now Extension System) have served as advisors and
supporters of the organization. Dr. Harrison Flint, Extension
Ornamental Horticulturist, was instrumental in helping to
establish the VPA. Wilfred Kelly, Plant Inspector with the
Department of Agriculture Plant Pest Control Division, was a
charter member and active in the early planning. Since the
beginning, a succession of Extension Service and
Department of Agriculture personnel have been active in
supporting the organization and cooperating in program
development and education.
Dr. Harrison Flint was Extension Ornamental Horticulturist from
1962 to 1966. Dr. Norman Pellett was Extension Ornamental
Horticulturist from 1967 to 1980. Dr. Leonard Perry has been
Extension Greenhouse and Nursery Specialist from 1980 to
the present. These Extension Specialists have attended most
Board of Director meetings and seasonal meetings of the
organization. They have organized regional cooperative
educational meetings and tours for members and the
general public, given presentations, supported flower and
garden shows and participated in many ways.
Department of Agriculture personnel in the Plant Pest
Control Section, later changed to Plant Industries Division,
have provided continual assistance in organization,
planning and education in the realm of insects and diseases
that affect plants. Wilfred Kelly was succeeded by Phil
Benedict, entomologist, then Steven Justis, plant pathologist
who later became marketing specialist, Jon Turmel,
entomologist, Ann Dorrance, plant pathologist and Scott
Pfister, plant pathologist. Department of Agriculture people
have helped with promotional programs and pesticide
education and certification. More recently the Department
of Agriculture has been instrumental in providing marketing
assistance and funds for the organization.
Green Works/VNLA CELEBRATES 50 Years - 1964 - 2014!
How it all Started - Excerpts from our History - 1964-2005
By Norman Pellett
continued on page 10
GreenUp Day: VPA members participated in the early years
of the annual GreenUp Day programs by displaying posters
and distributing bags from their places of business. Some
garden centers, encouraged by the VPA, offered discounts
to customers on GreenUp Days as part of the promotion.
VPA Tackles Issues of the Day: The Executive Committee
(later Board of Directors) and VPA have been concerned
about unethical practices in the industry and peripheral
industries from time to time. Dennis Bruckel, as President in
1979-1980, was granted authorization to approve letters of
disapproval mailed to general contractors and architectural
firms considered to be in violation of standard bidding
procedures and business ethics.
The VPA in the 1970’s was concerned about the State
Forestry Nursery offering tree seedlings to the public for low
cost since they were subsidized by the state. Through
negotiation with the Department of Forests and Parks the
VPA was able to develop a less antagonistic relationship. In
recent times the VAPH have co-sponsored annual fall
workshops on urban trees at the Vermont Technical College
with the Department of Agriculture and the Urban &
Community Forestry Program of the Vermont Department of
Forests, Parks and Recreation.
VPA Benefits: The VPA offered a health insurance program
for its member firms and their employees in the late 1960’s
and 1970’s (exact dates not found). The program was
popular and encouraged more businesses to join the
organization. The group policy premiums were lower than
individual policies. The Executive Secretary collected the
premiums and processed the claims for the insurance
company. The program ceased when insurance company
procedures required increased administration and it
became difficult for the Executive Secretary to manage.
For several years in the early 1980’s the VPA purchased “fall
planting kits” which included literature that members could
offer customers to encourage fall planting thereby
extending the sales season. The October 29, 1982 edition of
The Potting Bench displayed an advertisement by
Smallwood Nurseries of Williamstown for butternut trees, 2
-1/2 to 4 inch caliper, B&B. Occasionally other ads followed
until it became common policy to sell ads for the newsletter.
The Board of Directors on September 2, 1985 voted to
accept advertising for the newsletter with prices being $3 for
up to three lines, $5 for 8-1/3 x 3” ads.
Vermont Grown: The VPA started promotion of “Vermont
Grown” plants in 1982-83. Steven Justis, Marketing Specialist
of the Vermont Department of Agriculture, supplied growers
with plant tags as part of an agriculture promotion program
administered by the Department. In 2000 the VAPH received
a one time funding of $10,000 from the Department of
Agriculture to redevelop this program which lapsed in the
late 80’s and early 90’s. Growers and consumers were
surveyed to determine potential effectiveness of the
program (p.5, spring 2000 Dirt).
Awards: In 1982, the VPA offered the first college student
award of $100 to a University of Vermont senior student,
Karen Alpert. The award was given to the student who
showed the most interest and potential in the field of
ornamental horticulture. This first award was presented by
VPA member Holly Wier, Rocky Dale Gardens and Nursery,
Bristol at the annual University Awards Ceremony. Starting in
2003, the first Student Achievement Award was granted to
Vermont Technical College horticulture student, Jeremy
In 1986 VPA instituted an annual statewide Landscape
Contest offering winners in the Residential and Public Space
categories $400 each. There is no information about the
contest or winners in subsequent publications.
As membership grew and meetings were better attended,
concurrent sessions were scheduled at winter meetings for
members with diverse interests. With more funds available for
programming, featured speakers were sometimes brought in
from greater distance. The organization paid substantial fees
in addition to transportation and lodging for some speakers
like Dwight Hughes from Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1992 who
spoke at the winter meeting.
The Name Change: The organization voted to change the
name to Vermont Association of Professional Horticulturists
VAPH) in a close vote at their August 24, 1994 meeting. It was
hoped that the new gender-neutral name would also help
foster professionalism throughout all areas of the plant-
related industry in Vermont.
In the Fall 1997 issue of The Dirt, editor Charlie Proutt raised
the issue of whether some members met the VAPH bylaws
definition of active members. He said the bylaws define
eligible active members as “being.... professionally engaged
in propagating, growing, selling or servicing floral,
ornamental, vegetable or fruit plants.” He was targeting
members such as Basin Harbor Resort, Trapp Family Lodge or
Hildene. In response, Susanne S. Mandigo, Garden/Grounds
Manager of Trapp Family Lodge wrote a letter to the editor
refuting Charlie’s allegations. She pointed out that the Trapp
Family Lodge provides horticultural services in form of plants,
supplies, vegetables and education to their clients. By selling
plants from their greenhouses, providing vegetables from
their gardens and giving tours for their customers, they
qualify as members. The Trapp Family Lodge became the
site for the 1998 summer meeting.
Scholarship Program: The VAPH, for several years, provided
a scholarship to the winning team in the state FFA Nursery/
Landscape Skills Contest. A $500 scholarship was provided to
Missisquoi Valley Union High School team in 1996 to help
defray the expenses of competing at the Eastern States
Exposition held in Springfield, Massachusetts and at the
National FFA Convention in Kansas City, Missouri.
The VCH Program: The Vermont Certified Horticulturist
Program was started in 1988 by the VAPH when Bill deVos,
continued from page 9
continued to page 21
Green Works is pleased to have Jeffrey Scott as our
keynote speaker for our upcoming Winter Meeting &
Trade Show on February 13, 2014 at UVM - Davis Center.
Following is an article Jeffrey has submitted related to his
upcoming presentations.
In this rocky economy, more companies are selling on
price. In turn, price expectations are being pushed
downward. To become a Sales Superstar and succeed
against the low-ballers and shoppers, you’ll need to arm
yourself with new and improved sales skills. Here are a
few strategies that I guarantee will boost your sales
Build emotional bonds.
At the heart of it, people tend to make emotional
decisions, even when they use facts to rationalize their
choices. Your job is to help your prospective clients
realize—from a deep emotional point of view—why they
need your company and the solutions you provide. By
selling on emotion, you can remove yourself from price
There are two ways to sell on emotion:
1. Uncover and explore the anticipated pleasure
your prospect will gain by hiring you.
2. Uncover and explore the problems your
prospect will solve by hiring you.

This second way is generally more powerful than the first.
However, as salespeople, we often focus on the wrong
problems. Mistakenly, we focus on the “landscape”
problem, instead of focusing on the “personal”
problems that are being caused by the landscape
problem. Once you uncover the personal problems, you
can then explore the “pain” this is causing your
prospective client. When you do this, you help your
clients make emotionally motivated (and more
satisfying) decisions.
Path to success. Shift the conversation
from your prospect’s landscape problem => to personal
problem => to personal pain!
Waste less time.
Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese general and author of the
world-famous war strategy book, The Art of War, taught:
"The battle is won or lost before your warriors set foot on
the battlefield." This applies to all of us who have to
travel to make a sales call. You want to make sure you
are set up for sales success before you ever step foot on
your prospect’s property. You can't afford to waste time
in this new economy. Instead, arm yourself with the tools
and attitude needed to reduce wasted time from bad
leads and unnecessary follow-up appointments.
(To help you do this, I have developed a Green Light/
Red Light Screening System. For a free report on how this
works, email me at
Ask the right questions.
A Sales Superstar is not someone with the gift of gab.
Rather it’s someone with the gift of listening and asking
the right questions. You need your clients to do most of
the talking—between 75 and 80% of the time—but you
don’t want to lose control of the conversation. You
maintain control by being the person asking the right
questions—think of it like a talk show host interviewing an
important guest. The guests are flattered, and yet the
conversation is controlled by the effective questioning
skills of the host.
Measure and manage success.
It is said that, "if you measure it, you can manage and
improve it.” In sales this means you can improve your
success by measuring and holding yourself accountable
to certain sales indicators. The problem is that most
contractors are so busy chasing leads! They feel too
busy to stop, measure, and reflect on how to improve
their numbers.
At a minimum, you should track your Win (Loss) Ratio. In
my experience, many contractors accept far too low of
a win ratio. How can you raise the bar on your
company? Identify your win ratio and compare your
results with other high-achieving companies in our
industry. I have found that there is a BIG difference
between industry averages and those performing at
ABOVE-average levels. In my landscape company we
achieved win ratios between 75% and 95% on a
consistent basis. Anything is possible, when you see how
others are doing it.
Don’t over-rely on your strengths?!
You have spent your life developing landscape skills in
e.g. design, horticulture, disease control, hardscaping,
etc. These skills have helped you make sales and win
new clients. But they have also helped you lose sales
and lose new clients! When people become highly
trained, they tend to over-rely on their skill set—maybe
Winning the Price Wars - Sell Like a Superstar
Create emotional bonds, show more value and win more clients.
By Jeffrey Scott
continued to page 13
even showing off those skills to new prospects. But a
Sales Superstar understands how his/her own strengths
can get in the way of building rapport—and get in the
way of uncovering the core customer needs.
The client does not care how much you know,
until they know how much you care (about their issues!)
Ask for the sale.
No matter how good you are at building rapport and
showing value, you need to master the process of
"asking for the sale." This is difficult for many salespeople,
and it is often done incorrectly. Salespeople will put off
asking for the sale, and even put off talking about price,
for fear of being rejected. But it is in hearing your
prospective client’s objections that you learn what’s at
the core of their assumptions and misunderstandings.
You can’t close a sale until you learn about and address
the doubts in your client’s mind.
Increase sales success.
There are four ways to measure sales success.
1. More sales (of the right kind)
2. Higher sales margins
3. More efficient selling (as measured in a higher
closing ratio)
4. More free time—which you can use to spend with
your current customers, your family, or your golf
When you analyze your sales approach, look for
opportunities to improve in all four of these areas.
About the author:
business consultant and
author of “The Referral
Advantage” and “The
Leader’s Edge”. At age 34 he
took over and built his
landscape business into a $10
million enterprise. He now
facilitates peer groups for
landscape business owners
who want to transform and
profitably grow their business.
To learn more visit, email, or call 203-220-8931.
continued from page 12
It’s a common lament among gardeners: ‘My garden is
shady and boring. All I can grow are hostas‘!
I beg to differ. I delight in shady garden spaces—cool,
tranquil places for people, and home for plenty of
interesting plants.
While shady corners may not have the color and sizzle of a
sun-drenched perennial bed, it is surely the contrast
between these complementary spaces that creates a
balanced whole. Think of it
as the ‘yin and yang’ of
the garden. And, to be
complete, a garden
needs some of each.
Since most of us are
familiar with the yang of
an exuberant sunny
border, let’s take a look at
counterbalancing yin in a
cool shady space.
Firstly, to have shade you
need trees. Since trees
also create structure in the
garden it behooves us to
make the most of them.
With a little thoughtful
pruning, you can transform
any tree into a living sculpture. Begin by ‘pruning it up‘:
remove the lowest branches so that you can walk around
unimpeded. This will also let more light reach the plants
below. Now prune off any branches that clutter the tree’s
interior, so that those remaining have space to develop
fully. Make your cuts right back to the main trunk or, in the
case of multi-stemmed trees and shrubs, at ground level,
being careful not to leave short stubs that encourage
As an example of creating structure with trees, about
twelve years ago I planted a trio of Shadblow
Serviceberries, (Amelanchier canadensis), to frame the
corner behind our woodshed. Shadblow Serviceberries are
small multi-stemmed trees that mature at about 12!
diameter so, in the space below my three plants, I have
created a nice shady bed, approximately 24! x 24!, on the
Shadblow Serviceberries have a lot of branches that left
unchecked will grow into in a tangled mess. So I selected
the half-dozen strongest stems on each tree and removed
the rest. I have been rewarded with three delightful vase-
shaped trees that add structure and personality to this
shady corner.
You can also grow shade tolerant shrubs in the vicinity of,
but not right under, larger trees, to create eye-level interest
in a shady corner.
Contrary to many references I find azaleas grow very
satisfactorily in light shade. So, providing the soil is naturally
acidic, when designing a shady space, I like to include one
or two of the ‘Northern Lights’ azaleas, Rhododendron
‘Bright Lights’, ‘White Lights’, ‘Lilac Lights’, etc. developed
by the University of Minnesota, and bred, in part from our
native Rhododendron
prinophyllum. My personal
favorite is White Lights,
which has beautiful
creamy-white flowers
tinged with pale pink, and
blooms in my garden
around Memorial Day.
Most Lights Series cultivars
are hardy to Zone 4a or
below; however some, like
Lemon Lights, are rated as
Zone 5a, so check before
you buy.
There are also a number
of fragrant ‘Summer-
flowering’ azaleas, bred
from our native Swamp
Azalea, Rhododendron
viscosum. They offer a
succession of bloom times,
starting in my garden in early June with Weston’s
Innocence, followed by Pink & Sweet, Parade and finally, in
late July or even early August, Lemon Drop .
The native Ninebark (Physocarpus opufolius) is a robust but
rather boring plant that grows in sun or shade. However
plant breeders have produced a number of attractive
cultivars with either bronze or yellow leaves that add color
to a shady garden all season long.
But, before you specify a particular cultivar, be sure to
check its final height and choose one that is appropriate for
the space. The ubiquitous Physocarpus ‘Diablo’ actually
grows quite large (8- 10 feet), and is too big for many
gardens. However the final height and width of ‘Summer
Wine’ is about 6 feet, and ‘Little Devil’ just 4 feet--- better
sizes for smaller spaces.
The new Physocarpus cultivar Amber Jubilee was
introduced in 2012 and offers a stunning color. However,
because growing experience is limited, the mature height
specifications vary anywhere from 5 feet to 10 feet,
depending on the source. So I suggest you err on the side of
caution and initially use it only where a 10’ high shrub will
not be a problem.
continued on page 15
This shady space under a row of old maple trees uses an interesting
spatial design to show off the Azaleas 'Bright Lights and
'White Lights' .
Shady Places
By Judith Irven: Vermont Certified Horticulturist
continued from page 14
Viburnums also tolerate shade, but many people are shying
away from them because of the recent influx of the
dreaded Viburnum Leaf Beetle.
However there are many species of Viburnum and not all of
them are vulnerable to the Leaf Beetle. As a case in
point, for the past decade I have grown Viburnum
cassinoides, the Wild Raisin Viburnum, which has
been untouched by this pest. Nearby there is a V.
opulus var. americana, the American Cranberry
Bush, that has been completely defoliated in recent
years. Note that these are both native species, but it
is the leafbeetle that is the import!
You can find an excellent list of Viburnum species
and their susceptibility to leafbeetle attack on the
Cornell Extension website. Species are ranked from
‘highly susceptible’ (alas, my American Cranberry
Bush is among these), ‘susceptible’, ‘moderately
susceptible’ (my Wild Raisin is listed here), to ‘most
resistant’ (including the wonderfully fragrant
Koreanspice Viburnum). So don’t shun viburnums,
but be sure to check the species you plan to use!
A compelling spatial plan
Last summer I was struck by a group of in-town
houses, each with a long narrow straight bed of
hostas hugging the north walls. Not too exciting!!
But, with a little imagination, any one of these beds could
be reshaped to create an interesting ground plan. A little
widening along the length and a gently curving arc around
the corner of the house would make all the difference. This
corner spot in turn would make the perfect spot for a small
shade-tolerant tree like our native pagoda dogwood
(Cornus alternifolia).
So, as you contemplate those shady areas close to the
house, create a ground plan that will truly contribute to the
overall picture, rather than just taking up space! Perhaps
you can incorporate a bench as an invitation to stay awhile.
You will be surprised what a difference a few shape
changes can make!
Seasonal dynamics
There are just three seasons in a shade garden: spring
flowers, summer tapestries and winter skeletons.
In spring, the sun reaches down to the ground through the
leafless trees, and the shady corners of my garden are a riot
of early flowers. These early beauties--- Bloodroot, Squills,
Daffodils, Twinleaf, Virginia Bluebells, Lungwort, Forget-me-
nots, Woodland Phlox, Bleeding heart, Globeflower, Blue
Poppies, Lady’s Slippers and many more---epitomize the
excitement of spring. This is a fleeting time, so encourage
your clients to enjoy it while it lasts!
But in summer the shade garden has an entirely different
personality. Now it is the leaves that are the star attraction,
a display that lasts and lasts, right until frost.
Many shade-loving plants have large leaves---all the better
to collect the light--- offering a huge variety of shapes and
textures for the artistic designer to play mix-and-match.
There are even wonderful color variations to stir your
imagination; not all greens are the same and not all leaves
are green!!
Here are some suggestions for creating beautiful tapestries
of leaves:
Beyond green: Heuchera, Ligularia dentata,
Lacy textures: Ferns, Astilbe, Aconitum, Aruncus
Arrowheads: Epimedium, Polygonatum,
Broad, crinkled surfaces: Alchemilla mollis,
Rodgresia, Darmera and ,yes, many beautiful
varieties of Hosta too.
The final season is, of course, winter, when it is the trees and
shrubs that really standout, especially in the snow. So, as you
Viburnum cassinoides offers attractive white flowers in late spring, to
be followed in August with great berries that attracts the birds.
Next to this ancient maple in Judith’s garden, a stand of
variegated Solomon’s Seal has filled in the entire space
behind this low growing hosta.
continued to page 19
Luckily all is relatively quiet and uneventful on campus
now--let's hope for more of the same. Extension is facing
increasing deficits yearly, due to increasing costs, and
level to decreased funds from traditional sources (such
as the federal budget issues you're heard of this past
year). At present they can cover this with savings from
various sources, so let's hope the situation improves.
One factor which will have an impact on budgets
campus-wide, hopefully for the better for our college
and extension, is a new budget model being planned
now for UVM and to be implemented over the next few
years. IBB or Incentive Based Budgeting is a model used
at some other higher ed institutions, and basically
reallocates the funds to the areas best meeting certain
goals and having the greatest impact and needs, such
as number of students and majors. No one really knows
at this point how this will play out, so stay tuned.
As for students in our PSS department and courses, as
you read this another semester will be underway. As I
write this, current courses (and numbers) for the main
courses are a Bug's Life (Lewins, 78), Gardening for
Humans and the Environment (Raab, 22), Greenhouse
Operations and Management (Armstrong, 32),
Commercial Plant Propagation (Starrett, 33), Soil Fertility
(Gorres, 40), Organic Farm Planning (Chen, 20),
Biological Control (Chen 9), Ecological Landscape
Design (Hurley, 14). Then there are my online courses
through Continuing Education, a record number of
sections (8, all filled) and students (over 200 total)
including my new course over Winter Session
on Home Hops Growing. Others include Indoor Plants,
Flowers and Foliage, Garden Plants, and Home
Vegetable Growing. I am now offering my Perennial
Garden Design course as a non-credit option at much
reduced rate, in addition to the summer credit option
through CE, so contact me if interested in learning more
A big current project in our PSS department is a Program
Review, the first in over 10 years. Some bits from this over
100 page report with many more pages of statistics and
appendices may be of interest, particularly to PSS alums.
The timing is appropriate, as in 2014 PSS celebrates its
50th anniversary. Below are some current facts (to study
or put you to sleep), with some of our department history
coming in future issues.
Currently, the department has 7 tenure-track faculty
including the department chair; 4 research or
instructional faculty with extension appointments; 4
research faculty; and 4 part-time lecturers. Half of our
courses are taught by non-tenure track and/or part-time
faculty. Computed by
departmental faculty
instructor, our current
student credit hour to
general fund faculty
member exceeds 20:1,
and is approaching 30:1 in
the past year. (In other
words how many students
are taught per instructor,
the higher the ratio the
more students.) As an
aside For comparison, the
university has a 17:1 ratio (many such
institutions are less), our college latest figures show an
18:1 target with 22:1 in reality--making it the highest on
campus (i.e most students taught in CALS of any
college, per instructor). Perhaps this will help us in the
new IBB model mentioned above? Student credit hours
taught in PSS have increased from over 2200 in 06-07 to
around 3000 each year in 09-10 and since.
The number of our majors and students registering for our
courses has increased by 50% in the past 7 years. We
currently have 24 majors in Sustainable Landscape
Horticulture, 37 in Ecological Agriculture, for 61 total. This
have steadily grown since 05-06 when there were 26 in
SLH and 17 in EcoAg, for 43 total. On the graduate level,
numbers have increased, and gone from more M.S. to
more PhD. In FY05 there were 16 M.S and 3 PhD. in the
department, for 19 total. In FY13 there were 10 M.S. and
15 PhD., for 25 total. This I have seen change over my
years with a change from more applied to more basic
and research oriented, and quite different fields of
study. Thirty and even twenty years ago, the faculty felt
we were unable to offer sufficient courses and training
at the PhD level, so the few then were in soils or
entomology. Percentage admitted has gone down,
becoming much more competitive, at the M.S level
(77% admitted that applied in FY05, 30% in FY13), and
held the same at the PhD level (50% admitted).
In response to the alum survey this past Nov. 2013, to
which 48 responded, 79% are employed with most the
others mainly in other fields or involved in other activities.
Over half (54%) said their PSS training related closely to
their jobs, with 26% saying it related somewhat. Over
85% are using the skills acquired in PSS, and upwards of
90% responded good to excellent in some various other
factors such as advising and preparation for the real
Enough of the facts for now, which I hope gives you a
better understanding of our PSS role on campus. I was
news from the U
by Dr. Leonard Perry - UVM Extension Horticulturist
News from the U—Dr. Leonard Perry
Summer is a great time at universities if you like it quiet
with no meetings, and ability to park even with the much
reduced spaces due to construction! I'm spending much
time outside with perennials, building stock for next year's
freezing studies, working on field trials (currently 190
different plants), and accumulating coralbells (Heuchera)
for both field and freezing studies funded this past year by
the NH Plant Growers Endowment. I"m currently up to
about 60 cultivars of coralbells, including very new
introductions and new villosa hybrids which some growers
question their hardiness (as they are from France), hence
this study. I'll keep you posted here and on my website
( of this and other research your
association has helped fund. Data is collected, I'm just
waiting for some rainy days to get it written up.
We once again planted about 100 varieties of annuals at the
All-America Selections Display Garden at Burlington's
Waterfront Park the first week of June, thanks again to
help and collaboration with Burlington Parks and
Recreation. This is the garden that we won a national AAS
award for this past year. As in previous years, I'll be
posting the plant listing and ratings at the end of the
summer on my website. Here also you can find lists and
results from the past several years. This year my assistant
Sarah Kingsley Richards and I think we have some great
combinations put together, with a focus on about 20
different petunias (near the boathouse), several new coleus
and several new sweet potato vines. One of my favorites
and perhaps most unusual is the new Pretty Much Picasso
petunia, violet purple with a lime green rim. Another
outstanding new and unusual selection is the mealycup
sage Salvia Sallyfun Blue Emotion, tall, blue florets with
white eyes.
This year's AAS garden features about 50% plants from
Pleasant View Gardens (Proven Winners and Selections
and trials), about 40% from DS Cole Growers, and about
10% from seed (All-America Selections and others). I hope
you get to see these gardens if in Burlington (at the foot of
College St. by the ECHO center and boathouse), not only for
the plants, but as the beds are planned to be different next
year. Due to planned construction and road reconfiguration
beginning after Labor Day this year, the main two front
beds will disappear forever, with a new front bed planned
closer to the boathouse in the grassy area.
On campus, the good news is that thanks to federal
stimulus money, the state greatly reduced cuts to UVM and
Extension. Coupled with support from the college, no
on-campus Extension faculty member (to my
knowledge) was cut this coming fiscal year. However once
this money runs out in a couple years, we may be back to
round two of big budget cuts.
So if opportunities arise in your future to support Extension
with your legislators or even UVM administration, it can
surely help. Our new plant science building (Jeffords Hall)
is now enclosed, with connection underway to the UVM
greenhouse. We are still scheduled to move in next
summer. In our department, our fairly recent faculty
member Sarah Lovell will be returning home to take a
similar position in landscape architecture at the University
of Illinois, so her design courses will be taught by yet un-
known person this next year, with a new search hopefully
in our future. Main research at the Hort Farm now
includes two projects of Dr. Lorraine Berkett-- a USDA
funded large project (recently refunded and highly rated) on
organic apple production (the reason many of the crabap-
ples were cut down in order to reduce scab and other
diseases) with full details online
(, and the third year of
trials on hardy grape varieties (
Submitted by Leonard Perry
instrumental in the development of the Learning Landscape
Project at URI. In 2008, he was recognized for his many
contributions to the green industry and received the
prestigious honor of being one of the first to be inducted into
the RINLA Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the
Rhode Island Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Donations in Ken's memory may be made to The Kenneth
Lagerquist - RINLA Horticultural Scholarship, URI
Foundation Acct ED99, 79 Upper College Road, Kingston,
RI, 02881.

Scott Pfister, former VT State Pathologist and Green
Works supporter has left his position in June at the
Vermont Forest Protection Department. Scott has taken a
position with USDA-APHIS in Washington, DC and will be
coordinating the USDA’s programs for the Asian longhorned
beetle, emerald ash borer, and firewood pest mitigation. We
will miss him and wish him and his family well.
(Continued from page 9)
continued on page 18
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going to end saying that I hope to see you at one of
the industry meetings this winter, but you likely won't
due to my health issue. A badly broken ankle (a wet
spot on our nice floor in Jeffords, watch for such and
water and slickness where you least expect it), and
surgery prior to Christmas has resulted in totally
reduced mobility (including no driving) for me over a
long recovery period of months I'm told. So emails
for a while will be my main communication means.
At least this isn't during the field season (but I'm not
sure how this will play out with my winter greenhouse
freezing studies), and will give me a chance to get
caught up and ahead on photo organization, writing
(including the update of the VCH manual and new
test, stay tuned on this), and lots more online.
PS In case you have not heard Leonard broke
his ankle in December and is laid up for the rest
of the winter. We all wish him a speedy
recovery!! Don’t hesitate to drop him a line or
News from the U
continued from page 16
prune, give thought to how they will look in
winter when your efforts will show off to best
Last but not least, use a favorite decoration to
create an evocative highlight.
As we have seen, for much of the year, the
predominate color in the shade garden is
green, making it the perfect backdrop for an
eye-catcher such as a small pool or an
elegant pot.
The result will be serene, tranquil, and very yin.
Judith Irven is a landscape designer and
Greenworks member. She and her
photographer husband, Dick Conrad, live
and garden in Goshen, situated at 1700’ on
the western slopes of the Green Mountains.
She writes about her gardening experiences
at; the
Shady Places post from June 2013 has
additional color photographs that illustrate
this article.
continued from page 15
Casella Resource Solutions is offering free Agricultural Plastic Product
Recycling to all Vermont producers from February 1
through April 30
, at
five locations across the state. Recyclable items include silage and bale
wrap, bunker cover, greenhouse film, nursery pots, trays and flats, maple
tubing and mainline, and irrigation tubing. Only polyethylene (PE) tubing
will be accepted. Producers must follow these simple steps for items to be
Best Management Practices for preparing plastic films/nursery containers
for recycling:
! Keep plastic as clean and dry as possible,
! Shake out pebbles and clumps of soil,
! Roll or fold used film plastic into pillow-sized bundles,
! Store used plastic off the ground, out of mud, gravel and grit,
! Separate difference types of used plastic by color and type.
Collection Locations: Middlebury, VT Hauling533 Exchange St.,
Middlebury, VT; Montpelier, VT Hauling, 408 E. Montpelier Rd., Montpelier,
VT; Hyde Park, VT, 1855 Rte 100, Hyde Park, VT; Highgate, VT 2 Transfer
Station, Highgate, VT; Bennington, VT, 4561 Sunderland Rd., Arlington, VT
This Ag Plastics Recycling Pilot Program is an effort in conjunction with Casella Resource
Solutions, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and Agri-Mark/Cabot Creamery
Cooperative Special thanks to the RAPP Program at Cornell for use of their technical
information regarding agricultural plastic BMPs (see
Recycling.Agricultural.Plastic). Questions? Contact Annie Macmillan, Vermont Agency
of Agriculture via email or by phone 802-828-3479.
RECYCLING TRIAL February 1 – April 30
Thanks to the pioneering work of E.O. Wilson, Doug
Tallamy, Jonathan Foley, Marla Spivak and many others, the
public has begun to accept the need for native plants in
the landscape in order to help increase biodiversity and
protect pollinators. It turns out that people really do like
nature and are willing to change their habitats if the payoff
is more birds, bees, butterflies and wildlife in general. As
ecological landscape designers and installers we have
been lucky to be on the front lines and could help our
clients restore habitats and reduce the spread of invasive
species on over half the acreage in the lower 48 States,
which is the total area currently in suburban/urban use.
That's enormous positive potential.
One of the most successful strategies in this conversion has
been to dispel the myth that natives landscapes are messy,
a word that strikes terror in the heart of even the most eco-
minded homeowner. The 'messy' roadblock is not to be
underestimated - I've found it trumps concerns over budget,
space and time combined. As designers we know what our
clients really want: tidy, low-maintenance gardens, full of
color year-round. So we give it to them - orderly,
predictable designs with simple clean lines, repetition and
symmetry. We replace neatly clipped exotics with their
native stunt doubles and include all the other features that
distinguish them as ecological landscapes. Personally I love
the Eco-Contemporary landscape architecture style found
in the works of Bernard Trainor, Nelson Byrd Woltz, Reed
Hilderbrand, and Oehme van Sweden, and I'm not alone.
These modern native landscapes certainly are a huge
improvement over their exotic and biologically barren
predecessors, but I fear that applied exclusively to an entire
property the style may be too simplified to provide the
complexity we need to avert the biodiversity crisis. I think
that the next step in our progression will be to convince
clients to accept a side order of messy with their main
entree of eco-neat-and-tidy. The reason lies in our
developing understanding of how ecosystems function, and
more importantly our realization of just how little we know.
Peter de Ruiter at Utrecht University in the Netherlands
(Energetic Food Webs) proposes that ecosystems are like a
Jenga tower and individual species are like individual
blocks. The role each block plays in the stability of a given
tower is relative and constantly changing. All species have
the potential to collapse or save the whole, depending
upon the circumstances. So in order to support and protect
an ecosystem (that in turn supports humans) we need to
consider it as an integrated and energetic system and look
at how we can protect dynamic relationships both in large
ecosystems and in smaller backyard habitats. Since we
have only discovered 15% of all species on Earth, I think we
should assume there's something going on with the other
85% that's holding it all together, and aim to protect the
whole, not just the few we think are pretty.
The challenge of understanding and reproducing a
functioning small ecosystem is made more difficult with
rapid climate change. Nothing behaves as it used to. In
the Northeast we are seeing warmer temperatures,
increased precipitation, reduction of snow cover, more
frequent freeze-thaws and an increase in insect and fungal
infestations. In response, our landscape designs will need to
spring from our best knowledge of the local natural plant
communities that existed before human intervention and
then be padded with enough diversity and protection from
invasives to give plants and animals the best chance to
adapt. The more diverse the system, the more resilient it will
But how many plant species does it take to build a diverse
system? As ecological designers this is a question we
debate all the time when creating a new landscape - which
species should be chosen, which cultivars are close enough
to the parent, how many different species should we use
and how many plants per species? We also debate how
those selections should be arranged - should they be
separated or mixed, what density is necessary for optimal
effect. Our most recent meadow project contained over
4,000 plants and 19 species. Is it better and more full of life
than a lawn? Absolutely. Does it act as a visual transition
between the formal space and the wild areas around it?
Yes. Does it begin to replicate the ecosystem service of the
native wet meadow across the street? I doubt it. How
complex does the re-created system need to be in order to
be effective? And who am I to judge what "effective" is?
Travis Beck's recent textbook "Principles of Ecological
Landscape Design" is a thorough guide for translating
ecology into design principles and will help both
professionals and students answer some of these questions,
but in the meantime I think we need to hedge our bets,
literally. We need to preserve wild slices on the outskirts of
our designs. We need these messy slices teeming with
mysterious, integrated and dynamic relationships because
they might contain the stabilizing species that hold the
Jenga Tower upright, and those stabilizing species might not
be the 20 that we find attractive enough to include in a
client's foundation planting. In the multitude of American
developments where there's no wild areas left to preserve
we need to try to re-create them as best we can using
Beck's Principles, and then accept that these areas have a
life of their own beyond our need for a controlled aesthetic.
I'm not under the illusion that hedgerows alone will begin to
replace the habitat that has been lost, or mimic the
dynamics of large-scale climax ecosystems, but
incorporating them into 50% of the acreage of the lower 48
States is probably a step in the right direction.
Hedgerows can be designed as microcosms of the natural
plant communities that existed in a given area before
Re-Introducing Hedgerows to Residential Landscapes:
Why we still need a Side-Order of Messy
by Rebecca Lindenmeyr
continued to page 21
human interference - diverse and complex woodland
margins with trees, shrubs, forbs, grasses and sedges,
enhanced with wildflower species that provide vital
pollinator habitat. Once a hedgerow is established other
native species are likely to introduce themselves, increasing
the complexity and resiliency of the habitat. The difficulty of
course is the unwanted guests - invasive species that take
advantage of the abundant sunshine and disturbed soils.
Maintenance plans will be necessary to control vines and
shrubs problematic in each area, which is no small task, but
worth the benefits that these hedgerows would provide.
The Dept of Agriculture's NRCS has done a lot of work re-
introducing hedgerows between farm fields, and I think their
pollinator hedgerow program could be used as a model in
a residential context.
The side-order of messy might still be aesthetically hard for
clients to swallow. Even in my own yard I find this
challenging despite my knowledge of its scientific benefit - I
have to make an effort to let go in more ways than one -
and it is this type of emotional counseling we will need to
provide our clients for the concept to succeed. We
increase our chances of success by positioning hedgerows
out of peer-pressure view, relegating them to the back and
sides of our clients' yards. Luckily, there's something about
the word 'hedgerow' that most people find acceptable - it
conjures up romantic images of the respectable British
countryside and placidly grazing sheep. Further
acceptance will come through research and education,
trust and patience, and eventually through a shift in our
collective aesthetic.
By including hedgerows we continue our mission of
creating Cooperative Landscapes that contain both
intentionally designed areas and wild areas - some for us
and some for them. While observing these wild areas on our
land, I have begun to develop what I would call Ecological
Faith, as well as a good dose of humility and occasional
designer's block to boot. We're doing the best we know
how, restoring habitats in backyards, integrating science
with aesthetics, ecology with design; but there's so much
more to learn, so many species and relationships to discover.
As an industry I hope we can work together to save room for
the mysteries in our landscape designs - and we can call
them hedgerows.
This article first appeared in the Ecological Landacaping
Association Newsletter, October, 2013.
Treeworks, was one of the first to pass the exam. The number
of certified horticulturists grew to 90 in 1993. Thirty new
people passed the test in 1994. The 2004 yearbook listed 82
active Certified Horticulturists. Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension
Greenhouse and Nursery Specialist, administers the tests at
summer and winter meetings. Students can buy manuals
adapted from a University of Massachusetts manual to
prepare for the exams. In 2004, a Junior Certified
Horticulturist program was proposed for vocational high
school students in Vermont.
By-laws Amendments: The bylaws have been amended
numerous times including: January 1967, August 1971,
August 1976, August 1977, January 1979, October 1983 and
November 1993. Other amendments probably occurred but
dates were not found. The bylaws were sometimes printed in
the annual report.
Two amendments to the bylaws voted in November 1993
had significant effect of the length of officer terms. The two
new bylaw changes read: “Members of the Board of
Director shall be elected for a two year term” and
“Members of the Executive Board may only serve one term
in the same officer position.” The Exectuve Board is made up
of president, vice president and secretary/treasurer. These
changes insured continuity while ensuring changes in
leadership. The bylaws were completely revised at the 2005
annual meeting.
Committees: Officers and Board of Director members have
served as chairpersons for various committees. The kinds of
committees have changed over time, but some have
persisted. In many cases, the committee chairperson has
been the only committee member while in other cases other
members have volunteered or been appointed or asked by
the chairperson to serve. Some committee chairpersons
have been very active while others have accomplished
Executive Commitee: The Executive Committee was the
primary governing body until the name was changed to
Board of Directors as a bylaw change in the mid-1980’s. The
Board of Directors is elected by the membership after
recommendations by the Nominating Committee. Other
committees that have existed over time are: Budget or
Finance, Legislative, Program, Garden Show, Education,
Marketing and Promotion, The Plantsmen’s Promotion Board,
Awards, Evaluation and Planning, Newsletter, Vermont
Certifield Horticulturist. Other committees that have been
appointed periodically include: Research, Long Range
Planning, and Outreach Programs. The Board of Directors
has infrequently appointed representatives to the New
England Greenhouse Conference and the Northeastern
Nurserymen’s Association (NENA).
Another Name Change: VAPH Board of Directors in 2000
proposed a name change to make the organization more
recognizable. The name of Vermont Landscape and Nursery
Association (VNLA), was offered by member Charlie Plonski
in the fall 2000 issue of The Dirt. Members subsequently voted
to retain the name of Vermont Association of Professional
Flower Shows - The organization has held a garden and
flower show most years since the beginning. The shows have
been the primary funding source for the organization. The
continued from page 10
continued to page 27
continued from page 20
Armillaria root rot
Armillaria spp., a group of several species of ground-
inhabiting fungi, that causes root and butt rot of most
coniferous and deciduous trees, as well as some
herbaceous perennials, and is widespread and common
throughout Vermont and the world generally. In Vermont
and New England, Amillaria caused root decay is mainly
a problem in heavy, moist soils, especially in hardwood
species, but in other parts of the US, armillaria root
disease is mainly a pest of conifers in dry sandy soils.
These differences in the disease are a function of
environmental and speciation differences in the genera,
but the overall pattern of Armillaria attack is the same: a
soil borne fungus which is predominantly a decayer of
dead woody material in the vicinity of higher value living
timber, becoming a plant pest concern when it attacks
live trees under stress.
Armillaria root rot disease, the disease caused by the
fungal pathogen, is characterized by decline of the host,
which may be rapid or a slow decline, exhibited through
yellowing/chlorosis, stunted growth, early leaf drop and
crown dieback, or simply failure to leaf-out in the spring.
Armillaria frequently attacks plants already stressed by
environmental or physical conditions, or by another
primary pest. Generally Armillaria is not regarded as the
primary cause of decline and death, but is an
opportunistic parasite, taking advantage of a stressed
plant and exploiting that weakness. Healthy trees are
usually able to resist armillaria in the environment, so
maintaining high vigor and reducing pest pressure in
valuable plants is crucial to effective management of
armillaria root disease.
The species generally encountered in Vermont is
probably Armillaria mellea. However, there are several
other Armillaria species, adapted to a variety of habitats
as varied as the hosts they prey upon; for our purposes
these are lumped into the catch-all name armillaria root
rot. All these species are what is known as facultative
parasites, which means they are primarily saprophytic
(saprophyte - feeding or depending on dead tissue for
survival), but they occasionally will also attack and are
capable of surviving on live hosts (attacking a living host -
parasite). In fact, Armillaria species are often used as the
real-life example of a facultative parasite when defining
that term in plant pathology textbooks. As facultative
parasites, Armillaria species are found on decaying
woody matter in the soil, especially roots and stumps, but
will also move into trunk and branch sections of dead
standing trees as well as logs and debris on the forest
floor. It is from these dead materials that the fungus will
move out into areas where live hosts are susceptible to it,
using the dead material as a sort of ‘home base’ and
source of nutrients and energy for movement into new
Armillaria is capable of spreading through a variety of
methods. The most common and easily transferrable
form is the undifferentiated mycelia that comprise the
fungal body generally. These are typically microscopic
filaments that move throughout the soil, searching for
new woody materials to infest, and are often what
attacks tree roots directly. The second form, which is
frequently found underneath the bark of dead trees
standing in the forest, is a peculiar ropy form called a
rhizomorph. Rhizomorphs look a little like the melted
chocolate ‘shoestrings’ you find on the tops of
cheesecakes, albeit applied sloppily and with a rather
heavy hand, and are usually kind of crispy and firm.
These rhizomorphs are where one of the common names
for armillaria root rot comes from – shoestring fungus.
Rhizomorphs are also capable of moving through soil,
and can infect new hosts through roots. Finally, spores of
Armillaria species are produced in the fruiting body –
mushroom – of the fungus. The mushrooms are
considered a delicacy by mushroom hunters searching in
the fall, frequently appearing in masses at the base of
rotting stumps. Colloquially these are known as honey
mushrooms, for their characteristic golden-yellow color.
Infection of live hosts by spores is reportedly rare, but the
opportunity for spread of the fungus through this method
remains relevant, and probably leads to new infections
and fungal spreading sites through saprophytic means.
Diagnostic methods for Armillaria infection include
detection of the obvious – those yellow mushrooms and
rhizomorphs are conclusive evidence of the presence of
Armillaria. However, these don’t typically show up on live
hosts. The mycelia does however. If you suspect
armillaria root rot as the cause of decline or death of a
tree, a reliable diagnostic technique is to look for and
confirm the presence of the mycelia immediately
beneath the bark, usually at the root crown or close to
base of the tree. If after pulling some loose bark away
you observe what looks like a lacey, fan-shaped whitish
growth, spreading up from the soil line, you can be fairly
certain that armillaria root rot is present. This whitish
growth, which is just the fungal mycelia growing across
the cambium, is called a mycelial fan, and shows up
correspondingly with decline in the host.
Armillaria is widespread across Vermont and indeed
North America, Europe, Asia, and has even been
reported from Australia), so you needn’t worry too much
about whether it is present in your woodlot or nursery - it
probably is. Amount and virulence of the fungus varies
from place to place and through time, as available food
reserves increase and decline as a result of forest
changes. Areas where heavy cutting took place
Agency of Agriculture News - Winter 2013-2014
by Tim Schmalz
continued on page 25
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food,
and Markets appointed Alan Graham as
the State Entomologist last Spring. Alan
has served on staff at the Agency since
2001, most recently as Vector
Management Coordinator. In case you
have not yet had a chance to meet him
we thought we would share some
information about Alan.
Alan steps into his role with a wealth of
experience in entomology, specializing in
mosquito management. His interest in
insects began at an early age. Over the
past decade at the Agency, his work has
focused on Arborvirus surveillance and mosquito
suppression activities. A venerable mosquito expert, he
has assembled an impressive collection of 45 species for
the state. He is a member of the Northeastern Mosquito
Control Association, The American Entomological Society,
The Entomological Society of America, and The American
Mosquito Control Association, among other organizations.
Alan is a graduate of the University of Delaware with a
Master of Science degree in Entomology and Applied
Ecology. He has an undergraduate degree from
Syracuse University in Zoology, with a focus on
invertebrates. He has taught school in Costa Rica and
traveled extensively. For 7 years he worked
at Stroud Water Research Center in
London Grove, PA doing ecological stream
research, studying river systems along the
east coast and as far west as Idaho.
During his tenure at the Agency, Alan has
also worked with various issues involving
exotic pest surveillance, household pest
issues, home owner questions and
agricultural pests. For the past several
years, he has been a member of the state
Invertebrate Species Advisory Group.
“Alan’s hands-on experience and
professionalism will be invaluable as we continue to
address the mosquito population in our state,” said Tim
Schmaltz, director of Plant Industry, who will oversee Alan
in his new role. “Alan understands the complicated
nuances of integrated vector management, and will be
key to our success managing this pest, as well as other
insect issues in our state.” “Vector management is a top
priority for our Agency,” said Secretary Chuck Ross. “The
issue becomes more critical with every season, as we
continue to experience a shift in weather patterns. Alan
has the experience and expertise to lead the state
forward in addressing these needs. I am pleased to
appoint him to State Entomologist.”
Meet VT Agency of Agriculture’s State Entomologist
Acer x pseudosieboldianum
‘North Wind’ and ‘Arctic Jade’
are members of a cool new
series of hardy hybrid Maples
that can serve as a nice
substitute for Japanese maples
in colder climates. They are part
of the Jack Frost Series that Iseli
Nursery has developed in recent
years and they have the
potential to help New England
landscapers that are leery of
planting Japanese maples in
tough conditions.
These trees combine the extreme
cold-hardiness of the Korean maple (Acer
pseudosieboldianum) with the beautiful leaf and artistic
form of many Japanese maples (Acer palmatum). Both
trees perform best in full sun to partial shade and tend to
like well drained soil. The Arctic Jade is a broad upright
tree that gets about 15-20’ and 15-20’ and has cut light
green leaves that are similar in characteristics to the
beautiful Acer japonicum
‘Aconitifolium,’ the Cutleaf
Fullmoon Maple. The green
leaves give way in the fall to a
wondrous variety of orange and
red tones. The North Wind is
similar in form and is said to have
shown no signs of stress after an
Iowa winter that reached -30 F
degrees. Its leaves are less
cutleaf than the Arctic Jade and
more like that of an Acer
palmatum. The leaves pop with
a nice red in the spring and then
turn to a darker green in June,
giving way to a stunning array of
orange and scarlet foliage in fall. Both varieties make an
amazing specimen as a stand-alone small tree near a
patio or anywhere a show-stopper is desired. With their
favorable characteristics for handling the tough northern
New England climates and their bulletproof attributes,
these trees should thrive and help to beautify
landscapes throughout.
Consider These Japanese Maples
by Jeff Edmond, Millican Nurseries Inc.
Courtesy of Iseli Nurseries
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Member of VAPH
continued on page 26
recently, or where there has been an increase in
mortality due to storms or pest attacks are likely to be
areas where Armillaria pressure on live hosts will be
greater than areas where there is relatively little woody
debris and stumps/roots in the soil. Nurseries and
Christmas tree plantations in recently cleared forests
where numerous stumps are left behind are locations
where armillaria is most likely to be aggressive in
attacking young, recently transplanted seedlings, as are
reforestation projects after storms, logging or fire events.
So, be aware of the potential for increased armillaria
disease pressure if you are planting in areas recently
cleared of forest cover, or where there is a lot of woody
debris used for fill. Start by planting healthy stock, be
careful not to damage large roots and the base of the
trees during planting and subsequent activities on site,
and maintain vigor through appropriate watering,
fertilization, proper site/plant selection, and pest
management/control. Although you won’t be able to
eliminate the threat entirely, you can give your plants a
fighting chance for survival by observing good
horticultural practices.
Pruning Woodies
Most of you already know what is considered the proper
method for pruning woody branches, but I see enough
ugly pruning out in the woods I feel it bears repeating.
Those of you for whom this is a rehash, please bear with
me, and take comfort in the knowledge your techniques
are state of the art.
First of all, use a sharp tool (saw or pruners). Dull saws
only make a mess of the branch scar, which slows
healing, and provides greater opportunity for pathogens
to become established in the ragged edges of a pruning
wound. Of course, a dull tool is harder to use effectively,
is more tiring to the operator, and will result in reduced
overall efficiency, all reasons to use sharp tools in
Branch anatomy is an important consideration too. If
you examine a branch in profile, you will notice a small
ridge or swelling just where the branch you want to
remove joins the larger branch or main stem. This
swelling/ridge is called the branch collar, and it is
important to make the pruning cut right up close to the
collar, without actually cutting into the bark of the collar.
The wound heals most quickly when there is no branch
stub remaining after the pruning, and when there is the
smallest possible wound remaining on the stem. Pruning
at the collar provides the best compromise between
stub reduction and wound size minimization. This
method does leave a slight swelling after complete
healing, which may be unattractive to some, but the
benefits of rapid wound closure and minimal damage to
the main stem outweigh the temporary aesthetic
drawback. Whatever swelling is obvious is soon
obscured by the diameter growth of a vigorous tree
Proper pruning involves three cuts. The first cut is the
undercut, cutting upward from below, about an inch or
two from the branch collar. This cut prevents the falling
branch from tearing bark away from the stem as it drops.
If the initial cut is made without an undercut, the result is
often bark on the underside of the branch pulling away
from the tree, stripping a big piece of bark, and
sometimes sapwood, from the larger branch or main
stem. Such a wound is devastating to the tree, and will
hinder healing for a period much greater than a clean
pruning wound would. So, make the undercut first by
cutting upward into the pruned branch anywhere from
" to 1/3 of the way into the branch. The second cut is
made from above, and further out the branch than the
undercut. The second cut is through the branch entirely.
Because the undercut has been made already, you can
take your time with the second cut without having to
worry about the branch falling away, out of control
before you can get through that last little bit which
would otherwise pull bark away from the tree. The final
cut is the clean-up cut, where you slice off the little stub
remaining between the undercut and the branch collar.
This is a surgical cut, so take a moment to line things up,
and don’t rush during the actual cut. It is only a tiny bit
of material left, which shouldn’t have enough weight to
pull bark away as you get through the bottom.
Once the branch is fully removed, and that bark collar is
intact, the tree will immediately begin callousing over
the sap and heartwood left exposed. Ideally, pruning
should occur before heartwood has had the chance to
start forming in the branch. Heart rotting fungi (Fomes,
Phellinus, etc.) will take advantage of exposed
heartwood at a pruning scar to become established in
the mainstem, and will continue to spread within the
trunk, causing log degrade and structurally weakening
the tree until that scar is fully closed and the source of
oxygen and moisture is closed. Staining and decay in
the heartwood is especially problematic for timber
producers, as any decay or staining in the heartwood is
considered degrade, but it makes for good practice for
nursery operators, arborists and landscapers too.
Healing speed is also, obviously, impacted by the size of
the branch being removed. As I mentioned above,
presence of heartwood within the branch is not ideal.
Typically, branches less than two inches in diameter in
hardwoods are less likely to have heartwood intrusion, so
getting to a branch while it is in the # to an inch in
diameter is best. Also, callus tissue given a chance to
form during the dormant period (between late fall and
mid spring) will prevent sap leakage during the growing
season. Sugars in sap are very attractive to insects,
many of which are either primary parasites of trees and
shrubs, and all of them are capable of carrying
pathogenic fungi, bacteria, and viruses between trees.
If sap flow is prevented by pruning in the dormant
period, then the likelihood insects will be attracted to
these wounds is reduced considerably. All else being
continued from page 22
equal, the best time to prune is in the late fall to late
winter period, although circumstances sometimes
dictate pruning activity during the growing season.
Finally, be sure to use good sanitary practice when
pruning, especially when working in trees that exhibit
signs or symptoms of disease, or are known to be
susceptible to diseases easily moved on pruning
equipment. Fire blight in Prunus species is the commonly
cited example of a disease that moves easily on shears
and saws, but all bacterial pathogens are easily moved
on equipment, as are viral and some fungal pathogens.
So disinfect your shears between cuts using a strong
alcohol, bleach, or other effective disinfectant
formulation. And, the use of pruning sealants is probably
unnecessary, and there is evidence that most of these
products actually inhibit healing of pruning wounds.
Imagine putting tar or some other alien substance on a
cut or abrasion on yourself and what the implications for
quick and scar-less healing would be.
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and
there are numerous tutorials online with illustrations of
how the three cuts are made, in sequence. If you
remain confused by my description, check out some of
these online resources for further information and
hopefully clarity.
Nursery Rule
As I have mentioned recently in this column, the Agency
is revising the Nursery rule. The portions of the rule
specific to the nursery and landscaping community will
not change significantly, except for updating language
and adding sections relevant to recent changes in the
law (fees, inspections, licensing) which you are already
familiar with. Your comments and concerns are
welcome and encouraged. If you would like to
comment on the changes, or suggest your own, please
take a look at the document on our website
( or ask me for a hard copy and
send me a letter with your thoughts.
The University of Connecticut is sponsoring the “Perennial
Plant Conference – A Conference for the Landscape and
Horticultural Professional.” The conference will be held at
the Lewis B. Rome Commons on the University of
Connecticut Storrs campus on Thursday, March 20, 2014.
This all-day educational conference will address a wide
range of topics focusing on herbaceous perennial
production, sustainable landscape design, and retail
marketing. Topics were selected to appeal to
professional landscapers and designers, nursery and
greenhouse producers, and retail garden centers. Two
concurrent educational sessions will feature nationally
recognized speakers from both industry and academia.
The speakers featured at the conference will include:

Stephanie Cohen, Horticultural Consultant,
Collegeville, PA who will be speaking on Mixing it
Up: Flowering Shrubs for the Mixed Border.

Nancy Dubrule-Clemente, Owner of Natureworks
in Northford, CT who will be speaking on The
Challenges of Running a Landscape Business with
Today’s Extreme Climate Extremes.

Jim Engel, from White Oak Nursery in Geneva, NY
who will be speaking on Top Native Shrubs and
How to Use Them in Your Landscape.

Robert Herman, Horticultural Consultant from New
Hartford, CT who will be speaking on Garden
Design Trends in Europe.

Jane Nadel-Klein, from Trinity College in Hartford,
CT who will be speaking on Fifty Shades of Green:
Gardeners and the Green Industry.

Cheryl Smith, Plant Pathologist from the University
of New Hampshire, in Durham, NH who will be
speaking on Cultural Practices and Pest
Management Strategies for Low-Input Gardens.

Lloyd Traven, Owner/Partner of Peace Tree Farm
in Kintnersville, PA, who will be speaking on
Bringing THE Awesome EVERYDAY!! as well as
Bringing Fantastic New Plants to Market.

Mark Weathington, from the JC Raulston
Arboretum at North Carolina State University in
Raleigh, NC who will be speaking on Some Like it
Hot- Water Wise Plants that Pack a Punch and
Green Screens AKA Life after Leyland.
Program and registration information, including online
registration, is available at www. A pre-registration fee of $100
per person is due by March 13
. The fee is $110 per
person if postmarked after March 13
or for walk-ins.
Registration is limited and nonrefundable. Please make
checks payable to the University of Connecticut and
send to Donna Ellis, University of Connecticut, Department
of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, 1376 Storrs
Road, Unit 4067, Storrs, CT 06269-4067.
Included with your registration: an information packet,
lunch, morning & afternoon snacks, free-parking, and an
opportunity to meet speakers and purchase
autographed books from the Perennial Plant Conference
bookstore. One pesticide recertification credit will be
offered for attendees from CT, RI, MA, ME, NH, and VT
(pending state approval). Additional CEU’s are
available. For more information contact Donna Ellis
(phone 860-486-6448; email or
visit our web site at
University of Connecticut offers Perennial Plant Conference
continued from page 25
February 5-7, 2014
New England Grows
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston, MA
February 13, 2014
Green Work Winter Meeting & Trade Show
University of Vermont - Davis Center
Burlington, VT
February 15-17, 2014
NOFA-VT Winter Conference
University of Vermont
Burlington, VT
February 26-27, 2014
Ecological Landscaping Association
& Eco-Marketplace
Springfield, MA
March 7, 2014
Tri-State (ME, NH, VT) Extension Nursery
Urban Forestry Center
Porstmouth, NH
March 20, 2014
University of Connection Perennial
Storrs, CT
April 22-23, 2014
VT Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Dept., et. al
Raising the Bar: Green Stormwater
Infrastructure Planning & Design
DoubleTree by Hilton
S. Burlington, VT
July 30-31, 2014
Penn Atlantic Nursery Trade Show
(PANTS 14)
Pennsylvania Convention Center
Philadelphia, PA
July 27-August 1, 2014
Perennial Plant Association Symposium
Hilton Netherland Plaza Hotel
Cincinnati, Ohio
Industry Calendar
first organizational meetings in 1963 and 1964 met at the
autumn Chrysanthemum Shows put on by the Commercial
Flower Growers of Vermont. The name of the shows has
changed over the years as well as the timing. Records were
not found for many of the shows. An annual Flower Show
was held in October, 1967 in Burlington and in November of
1968 in Middlebury. A Flower and Garden Show was held in
March, 1970 in Middlebury. My recollection is a series of
spring Flower Shows in the old Burlington Municipal
Auditorium in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Former President
Dennis Bruckel says “It was a bear to get heavy items up the
steps into the old auditorium.” Bruckel also remembers that
he and student (now VAPH member) David Keszey, helped
set up the garden show at the Essex Junction ice skating rink
for one or more years in the 1970’s. The Flower Show and
Plant Sale was held in March, 1980 and 1981 at the Armory
in Berlin.
The Lawn and Garden Show was held at the University Mall
in South Burlington in March 1985 through 1993. Andrea
Morgante, John Padua and V. J. Comai were chairpersons
for the show in different years. Exhibitors each made their
own display, but there was no central display until 1993. In
that year, members organized a central display and
conducted seminars for the public in a vacant store space.
These changes met with much public acclaim and resulted
in plans for a bigger show the following year.
The first Annual Flower Show at the Sheraton Hotel and
Conference Center in South Burlington was in March 1994.
Records show that 4,300 people attended that show. The
1995 show attracted over 7,000 people. In 1997 the name
changed to The Vermont Flower Show. The 2000 show
attracted over 9,000 people and the 2001 show attracted
over 16,000. The admission fee was raised to $10 for 2002
when 7,000 attended but the show netted $10,000.
The Annual Flower Show has become more sophisticated
over the years and is a primary funding source for the
organization. Many member firms and local organizations
contribute many hours of planning, labor, plants, products
and creativity throughout the year to insure a successful
show. Large central displays showcase growing trees, shrubs,
perennials, and bulbs forced at several local greenhouses.A
model train organization, The Vermont Garden Railway
Society, has displayed an active landscape complete with
electric trains each year since the show moved to the
Sheraton. Concurrent sessions of educational programs on
gardening and nature subjects are offered throughout the
show. Many non-profit organizations as well as commercial
exhibitors display their wares and information throughout the
show. A children’s room offers numerous hands-on activities
as well as hosting story tellers, mimes and musicians. Floral
design competition for commercial florists is an attraction.
The 2003 show had a lower attendance and lost $19,000
putting the organization in debt. The $21,000 owed the
Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center was mostly
absolved by VAPH members working several days and
supplying plants and labor for beautification of the grounds.
An event management company was hired to handle
many of the details for the 2004 show which resulted in a
To read the complete history as published in 2006, visit
continued from page 21
PO Box 92
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