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Spring Issue 2016, Volume 42, Issue 1

Dr. Pellett Award
Green Works Awards
Habitat Landscapes on Solar Sites

page 5

page 12

page 21

Ed Burke
Rocky Dale Gardens
806 Rocky Dale Road
Bristol, VT 05443
Hannah Decker
Fairfax Perennial Farm, Inc.
7 Blackberry Hill Road
Fairfax, VT 05454
Nate Carr
Church Hill Landscapes, Inc.
287 Church Hill Road
Charlotte, VT 05445
David Burton
Ginkgo Design, LLC
22 Pearl Street
Essex Junction, VT 05452
Carrie Chalmers
Carrie Chalmers Design
239 Lawrence Hill Road
Weston, VT 05161

VJ Comai
Bartlett Tree Experts
184 Tamarack Rd
Charlotte, VT 05445

Nate Carr - Church Hill Landscapes, Inc.

Marlys Eddy
Vermont Technical College
PO Box 500
Randolph Center, VT 05061

Ed Burke - Rocky Dale Gardens
Shannon Lee - Sisters of Nature

Shannon Lee
Sisters of Nature
135 Phyllis Lane
Waterville, VT 05492

Ed Burke - Rocky Dale Gardens

Ashley Robinson
Ashley Robinson Landscape Designer
PO Box 28
Charlotte, VT 05445
Kristina MacKulin
Green Works/VNLA
P.O. Box 92
N. Ferrisburgh, VT 05473
Toll Free: 888.518.6484
P: 802.425.5117; F: 802.425.5122

VJ Comai - Bartlett Tree Experts
VJ Comai - Bartlett Tree Experts
Ashley Robinson - Ashley Robinson
Landscape Designer
VJ Comai - Bartlett Tree Experts
Nate Carr - Church Hill Landscapes, Inc.

Connect with Green Works
on Social Media!

For information
in The Dirt
Kristina at the
Green Works

Connect with us, post to our pages, or let us know
something special you would like to share and we'll share
it. It's another way for us to help your business thrive!
Join the conversation! You can find us here...
Facebook: @greenworksvt & @vermontflowershow
Twitter: @greenworksvt & @vtflowershow
Instagram: @greenworksvt & @vtflowershow



Ed Burke, Rocky Dale Gardens

T.S. Elliot called April the cruelest month. This year his words ring
pretty true. We started out with a very mild winter and mild
March and then, wham! We’re reminded of where we live!
Working through the fluctuating temperatures of spring is always
a challenge. Just when we think we’ve gained a couple of
weeks on the season, we’re forced to cover up the plants we
just uncovered, put our staff on an on-call work schedule and
stay glued to looking for the long
range forecast with low temps not dipping below the 20’s!
For nursery owners and landscapers alike, there is nothing quite
as exciting and frustrating as spring!
But spring is what has gotten most of us into this business in the first place. Whether it
was a childhood immersion in the gardens of our grandparents, a fascination with
nature, an indomitable desire to climb trees and stay outdoors as long as possible- we
are creative & capable people who appreciate nature and love to be outside.
Our creative and “can do” spirit shows in all we do with Green Works, the Flower Show
being a wonderful example of creativity, ability, as well as tenacity and humility. There
are many of us looking forward to the next Flower Show, “Neverland”. Read about our
ambitious plans on page 5 and consider joining in the fun!
Our love of nature also puts many of us at the forefront of creating landscapes that
offer habitat and food for pollinators, whose populations are in decline due to habitat
loss and pesticide use. We have the knowledge and the “boots on the ground” to help
reverse this trend. Claudia West, our keynote at the winter meeting, gave an inspiring
talk on sustainable plantings that resonated with many members. Read more about
our winter meeting and Claudia on page 6.
This new and improved issue of The Dirt is full of examples of how engaged and
creative we are collectively and individually. Everything from the Landscape Awards to
“Getting it All Done” to Pycnanthemum muticum, we can learn from each other’s
experiences and share our successes.
You'll also notice a new look to The Dirt that represents the talents and hard work of our
administrator Kristina and several board members. We wanted to give The Dirt a little
more energy, fill the pages with important and engaging content and make it fun to
read. This is a direct result of members thinking together, creating together and even
having a few laughs together! We hope you like it!
Clearly, we all benefit from the committee work, collective networking, social
gatherings, programs and events of our organization.
No one represents our spirit of camaraderie better than our outgoing President, VJ
Comai. VJ is a one-man band, doing many things at once while maintaining a smile, a
laugh and time to talk. He's incredibly dedicated, accessible and sincere, with a heart
as big as all of Vermont. As President, VJ served us well for the last four years and we
are better, stronger and happier because of his leadership. Next time you see him,
thank him for all he’s done and continues to do!
By the time you read this, we’ll be through most of April and we’ll be scattered
throughout gardens and landscapes, behind drafting tables and computers and
restocking plants at nurseries and greenhouses: we’ll be in our element. Just remember
people who spend their entire working life indoors and you’ll be able to keep working
those 10 or 12 hour days, 6-7 days a week. We sleep well!
Best of luck to all, and enjoy the season!


inside this
Board of Directors


The President’s Letter


The Buzz


New Members & VCH

Dr. Pellet Honored
2017 VT Flower Show
Winter Meeting
Calendar of Events
Green Works Awards

News from the U!


Industry Award
Winning Photos


The Lab


Observations from
UVM Diag. Lab
Be Tick Smart

The Idea Factory


Strictly Business


Time Management Getting it All Done
New Member
Pollinator Friendly
Landscapes on
Solar Sites

The Plant Lounge


Cover Photo: Silvia Jope,
Old World Garden Design,
Industry Award Winner 2015;
Small Scale Residential
Design - Honor Award/
Judges’ Choice

the low down on what’s up!

Welcome New Green Works
Members and VCHers!

Zachary Berger Associates, Ltd.
Ronny Stelly
PO Box 1204
2160 Mountain Road
Stowe, VT 05672 - 802-585-7767
Active Member
Category: Landscape Design Build, Landscape Design,
Ecological Consultant

Allison Johnson
Allison Johnson Gardens, LLC
1738 North Road
Waitsfield, VT 05673 - 802-371-8430
Active Member
Category: Landscape Install Maintenance


Ecolibrium, LLC
Sarah Hoffmeier
51 Terrace Street
Montpelier, VT 05602 - 802-522-5840
Active Member
Category: Landscape Design Build, Hardscaping

Heather Bullett
96 Village Green
Burlington, VT 05408

Garden Therapy
Jennifer Mills
14 Barber Terrace
S. Burlington, VT 05403 - 802-310-3152
Active Member
Category: Landscape Design Build, Landscape Install
Lillian Snow
594 Weybridge Street
Middlebury, VT 05753 - 802-770-4252
Active Member
Category: Landscape Design, Espalier
The Farm Between
John Hayden
3727 VT Route 15
Jeffersonville, VT 05464 - 802-644-8332
Active Member
Category: Wholesale/Retail Nursery, Educator,
Propagation, Garden Writer, Native Wetland Plants,
Organic Farm, Ecological Consultant


Dr. Norman
Pellett Honored
as Recipient of
the Sinclair Cup

The 2017 Vermont
Flower Show
Planning is underway for our next Flower Show and we
have some exciting news to share! WE ARE
EXPANDING! The crowds keep getting larger and we
are bursting at the seams so we have decided to take
the leap and expand the show to include “Expo North”,
an additional 35,000 square feet.

Norman Pellett, retired

The dates for the show are March 1-3,
2017 at Champlain Valley Expo. The
Garden Display Committee has met
several times and has chosen a theme Neverland - relating to Peter Pan. The
design of the garden display is sure to
please all ages.

professor from the University of Vermont College of
Agriculture and Life Sciences has been named to
receive the 2016 Sinclair Cup Award. This award
honors dean emeritus and distinguished alumnus,
Robert O. Sinclair whose exemplary career
spanned more than four decades of outstanding
service to UVM Extension and the College of
Agriculture and Life Sciences.

I would like to extend an open
invitation to any member who would
like to join either the Garden Display
Committee or the Flower Show Committee, which
oversees all the other aspects of the show. Please
contact Kristina in the office for more information.

The award is presented at the discretion of the
Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life
Sciences (CALS) and the Dean of UVM Extension as
a means of recognizing those individuals who, like
Dr. Sinclair, served CALS and/or UVM Extension with
distinction as a member of the faculty or staff for a
major portion of their professional career. Recipients
are individuals who have retired from full-time
employment having completed a long record of
service to CALS and/or UVM Extension, have
demonstrated professional advancement in their
field of expertise, and have achieved special
recognition, awards and/or honors which reflect a
noteworthy and exemplary career.

Committee work not your thing? That’s okay because
we have many other ways our members can be
involved. It takes hundreds of volunteers and many
generous donors of plant material, hardscaping, time,
labor - you name it - to produce our show. We will be
calling on our members and beyond as the planning
steps into full swing later in the season.


Dr. Norman Pellett certainly meets that criteria and
we congratulate him on this recognition. Norman
has been a mentor and professor to a number of
current Green Works members and is an honorary
member of Green Works. He retired from UVM in
1996 and was awarded the Horticultural
Achievement Award from Green Works in 1993.

Friday, May 6, 2016
8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Vermont College of Fine Arts
Montpelier, VT
This year, the Vermont Urban & Community Forestry
Program is hosting a NEW one day conference on
Friday, May 6th in honor of Arbor Day and all of the
hardworking professionals and stewards that care for
our community trees. Green Works is excited to be
one of the sponsor/partners for this upcoming event!
Join us as we learn about, celebrate and recognize
people who care for Vermont’s urban trees and
forests. For more information and to register please

He will be honored at a UVM College of Agriculture
and Life Sciences Alumni Dinner on Saturday May
14th at the Davis Center at the University of


Winter Meeting Recap - 2016

Experts gave two presentations “Planning for Sustainable

Management”. Topics included the importance of
landscape diversity, selecting pest resistant plants,
matching species to site, site preparation and planting
procedures. Bruce also spoke about recent research on
pests & plant diversity, organic soil amendments, including
biochar, and the latest in planting procedures. His second
presentation was “Challenges with
Organic Plant Management and
Sustainable Alternatives” Bruce’s
presentation focused on advances in
detection, assessing and managing
plant pests and problems and
organic and sustainable products
and techniques to manage plant

The Green Works, VNLA Winter Meeting was held on February
12 at the Sheraton Burlington Hotel & Conference Center in S.
Burlington, VT. This was a change in venue for us and was well
received by all who attended. We were not sure what a Friday
meeting would bring for attendance but
we broke our record of previous years.
We had 160 people attend and 25
vendors participate (up from last year).
Thanks to all of you who were able to
join us for the day! As out-going
president VJ Comai stated our meeting
always feels like a “family reunion”.
We were very pleased to have Claudia
West as our keynote speaker. Claudia is
the ecological sales manager at North

Two other afternoon sessions
included “Getting Down to Business –
A Roundtable Discussion” led by
Green Works board members Ashley
Robinson and David Burton.
Approximately 20 people sat down
with fellow colleagues to have “real”
conversations about running a
business. Please see the short
summary of what fellow members
talked about that day on page 8.
The second afternoon session was
“Designing Plant Community Based
Meadows in Vermont” presented by
Rebecca Lindenmeyr of Linden
L.A.N.D. Group and former Green
Works president. Rebecca’s
presentation built upon Claudia’s
morning presentation as she applied
the “Plant Community Design”
approach described by Claudia
West and Thomas Rainer in their book
"Planting in a Post-Wild World" to an
actual landscape she designed in
the Champlain Valley.  Becca
described how she selected mostly native species adapted
to local site conditions and arranged with niche space/
competition in mind, using "structural plants, seasonal
theme plants, filler plants and groundcover plants" to
create a densely layered meadow community.  This
landscape can be used as a local model that can be
adapted and replicated to help reduce lawn and increase
biodiversity on many properties.

Creek Nurseries, a wholesale perennial
grower in Landenberg, PA and coauthor of her new book ‘Planting in a
Post-Wild World’ (Timber Press).
Claudia wowed everyone with her
presentation “Creating Stunning Plant
Communities that Stand the Test of
Time”. With a focus on plants, Claudia
spoke about how to use plants in
stable, layered, natural combinations
which in turn increases the
ornamental, functional, and
ecological value of the landscape. A
Q&A followed Claudia’s presentation
as well as a book signing. Claudia has
agreed to be our keynote speaker at
the 2017 Vermont Flower Show so if
you missed her she will be returning!
A HUGE thank you to UVM Extension and
the USDA for their help in securing an
RMA grant to fund our speaker costs for
this meeting.
Green Works annual business meeting
was held next. During the business meeting the Industry
Awards, Green Works Awards, the NENA Award, and student
merit awards were presented. Please see the following article
on page 8. The Board of Directors recognized VJ Comai for
his 4 years as president. This is VJ’s second time around as a
board member. VJ will remain on the board of directors as
past-president. We thank VJ for his many years of service and
continued work on the board. A slate of candidates for the
board of directors was presented and elected for two year
terms as follows: Ed Burke, Rocky Dale Gardens, as president,
Hannah Decker, Fairfax Perennial Farm, as vice-president, Nate
Carr, Church Hill Landscapes, Inc., as secretary/treasurer, and
VJ Comai as board of director (past president). Following the
business meeting the Industry Award Winners presented their
projects to a captive audience.

We want to congratulate John Padua, the winner of the
annual ID contest, which was more of a challenge this
year! Looking back February seems like so long ago but it
was a great day of conversation, good food, laughs, new
and interesting ideas, and sharing of information. It was
the makings of a memorable “family reunion”.

The afternoon sessions were very well attended and had a
great deal to offer. Bruce Fraedrich, Ph.D from Bartlett Tree


May 6, 2016
Vermont Arbor Day Conference
VT College of Fine Arts
Montpelier, VT
May 23, 2016
Greenhouse Shopping Tour
w/Leonard Perry
August 1-5, 2016
34th Perennial Plant Symposium
Minneapolis, MN
August 8, 2016
Northern VT Perennial Garden Tour
w/Leonard Perry
August 24, 2016
Green Works/VNLA Summer Meeting
Rocky Dale Gardens
Bristol, VT

September 12, 2016
Montreal Botanic Garden & Chinese
Lantern Tour w/Leonard Perry
September 23, 2016
Perennial Inspirations & Concepts
Northeastern Regional Symposium
Mass Hort Center
Wellesley, MA
November 9-10, 2016
Northeast Greenhouse Conference
& Expo
Holiday Inn
Boxborough, MA
November 30 - December 2, 2016
New England Grows
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston, MA

2016 Winter

Green Works
Summer Meeting
Save the Date!
August 24, 2016
Rocky Dale Gardens

Delegating makes time management easier, therefore
providing space for more or larger projects, increasing
cash flow & profit.
How do you manage the challenge of cash flow
throughout the season?

These questions were
posed at the “Getting Down to Business – A Roundtable
Discussion” session at the February 12, Green Works Winter
Meeting. The session was led by Green Works board
members Ashley Robinson and David Burton. Below is a
synopsis of that session.

Establish a line of credit
Good banking relationships 
Leverage with vendors 

Capitalize on savings by taking advantage of sales or
time of year to buy equipment, materials, etc. Stock up
when the savings are good. Stay liquid - credit is helpful &
key. Rent - find someone you can do business with, share

What is one of the biggest challenges you face as a small
business owner?

March 3-5, 2017
Vermont Flower Show
Essex Junction, VT

Do you have a marketing plan and if so what has worked
and what has not?

Cash flow 

Cash flow seemed overwhelmingly the #1 challenge.  It
was suggested that setting up a contract or schedule for
a more steady cash flow helped.  In other words, getting
paid in January for work yet to be done.  A contract
established upfront makes this possible.


Limited - whatever you do & get results, keep
doing it
Networking, word of mouth and referrals 
Chamber of Commerce
On-line presence is key, and can be inexpensive
Advertising on-line can be free, take advantage
of: Front Porch Forum, community bulletins, radio
ads, mailers, holiday cards
Do something different: 'They zig, you zag'

Industry Awards - 2015

Green Works Awards - 2015

The Industry Awards Program is in its 7th year.

We received
a total of twelve submissions for the Industry Awards
Program at the end of 2015. Green Works assembled a
panel of professionals to review and judge the entries. In
January the judges 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.
The judges included a landscape architect, nursery grower,
educators, and professional horticulturists/garden
designers. We do not reveal the names of our judges. A
big thank-you to our judges for their time and energy!

The presentation of Green Works awards also occurred
at the Winter Meeting on February 12, 2016. We are
pleased to recognize those individuals below.
Horticultural Achievement Award - 2015
Paul Wieczoreck
Champlain Valley Landscaping & Lincoln Hill Nursery
Hinesburg, VT
This award is given to
individuals connected to
the horticultural industry in
Vermont, who are over 40
years of age and whose
accomplishments have
advanced our industry
educationally, by plant
development or growing,
through literature, or
through outstanding
personal effort. This award
is the most prestigious and
distinguished that can be
received from Green Works/Vermont Nursery and
Landscape Association.
Environmental Awareness Award - 2015
Liz and Jake Guest
Killdeer Farm - Norwich, VT

Front Row: Ashley Robinson, Andrew Newton, Marie Limoge,
Mike Vannostrand, Silvia Jope, George Wohlgemuth, and
Jack Rossi. Back row: Josh Cohen and Caroline Dudek.

This award is given in
recognition of an individual
that has implemented an
environmentally sound
practice that contributes
to the protection of our

A big thank you to all who submitted and please, keep on
submitting! We always welcome more entries and know
there is a lot of great work being done by our members.
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 portfolio. Keep track of your projects this
year, take lots of photos, visit older projects and submit for
next year’s awards!

Retailer of the Year Award - 2015
Ed Burke
Rocky Dale Gardens - Bristol, VT
This award is presented
annually to a retail garden
center or greenhouse
operation that stands
apart for their excellence
in any or all of the
following categories:
customer service, quality
of plant material,
knowledge of staff,
creativity and innovations
in marketing and
presentation of retail space, and overall customer
experience and satisfaction.

Please view the winning project photos on pages 12-13. A
slide show of the winning entries can be seen on the Green
Works website. Presentation boards of the winning projects
were on display at the Green Works winter meeting and will
be displayed at the summer meeting as well as all three
days of the 2017 Vermont Flower Show.
This year’s Industry Award winners received their awards at
the Green Works Annual Winter meeting on February 12,
2016. Award winners also gave a slide presentation of their
winning projects. Winning projects were also featured on
the television show Across the Fence and in a newspaper
insert in April, 2016 in Seven Days Newspaper.


Allen B. Crane Horticultural Employee
Acknowledgement Award - 2015
Sally Dunkleman
Cobble Creek Nursery - Bristol, VT

Horsford Gardens & Nursery.  He also attended the
American Society for Horticultural Science conference in
New Orleans as the Horticulture Club representative from
UVM.  In the fall of 2015, Michael was voted in as the Vice
President of the UVM Horticulture Club (an active group
with over 1,000 students on their listserv and over 450 on the
Facebook page).  This coming summer Michael will be one
of 8 summer interns at Bailey Nursery in Oregon.

This award is presented annually and is sponsored by
member Claussen’s Florist &
Greenhouse in honor of Allen B.
Crane, head grower there for over
42 years. Allen was “a great
friend, wonderful colleague and
an incredible grower”. This award
recognizes employees that make
a difference in the horticultural
industry. The winner receives a
cash prize of $275. Nominees must
meet the following criteria: be
employed by a member business
for a minimum of 5 years and be
employed in the horticultural
industry. Nominees should be
exemplary leaders and display an ability to grow and excel
in the workplace and beyond.

The $500 VTC Student Merit Award for 2016 was presented
to Lucas Buckley-Jamison. Lucas graduated with his
Associate’s degree in
Landscape Design and
Sustainable Horticulture
from VTC in 2011, and
began working in the field.
He then decided to return
to further his education by
enrolling in the Bachelor of
Science degree in LDSH,
while continuing to work for
Church Hill Landscapes in
Charlotte, VT. VTC nominated Lucas for balancing his work
in the field with school, thus showing his dedication to
continuing to learn and grow in the profession.

NENA Young Nursery Professional of the Year Award
Hannah Decker - 2016
Fairfax Perennial Farm, Inc. - Fairfax, VT
This is an annual award established by the New England
Nursery Association. Its purpose is to reward, to honor and
to encourage participation,
achievement and growth by an
individual who is involved in a
related horticultural industry and
has not reached the age of 40
years, who has shown involvement
in his or her state and/or regional
nurserymen’s association, has
contributed to the growth and
success of their company of
employment and has portrayed
an image to the public of what
our products and services can do
for them.

earn your
associate degree:

Design &

The $500 UVM Student Merit Award for 2016 was
presented to Michael Murphy,
who grew up in S. Royalton, VT.
Michael started out his college
education at the University of
Tampa, FL and after two years
transferred to UVM to study
Business Administration.  He took
the course, Home and Garden
Horticulture in Fall 2014 and
realized that he had a keen
interest in growing plants.   In
summer, 2015, Michael worked at

800 442 8821 |


by Dr. Leonard Perry
As you are reading this (if soon after
it appears), another year is done at
UVM and summer session underway
or soon to be. Course offerings (and
instructors) include Home
Hydroponics (Armstrong),
Composting Ecology and
Management (Herlihy), Permaculture
(Morris), Fundamentals of Soil Science
(Gorres), Sustainable Farm Practicum
(Bradshaw), and Advanced
Agroecology (Mendez). Tom Herlihy is
a visiting instructor from New York
State. With an M.S. in Agriculture and
Biological Engineering from Penn
State University, he is currently
Founder and Scientist of RT Solutions,
(d/b/a Worm Power) in Avon, NY.
In addition to these courses are my
two online courses in Perennial
Garden Design and a new one on
Home Herb Growing. As of this
writing, enrollment in summer courses
range from 1 to 8 students, with a
minimum of 4-5 needed to run a
course. In faculty meetings this spring
the "Summer Institute" of course
offerings has been discussed at
length, with various reasons for low
enrollment mentioned including lack
of funding in summer, diversity of
course offerings, need of students to
work, etc. This should partially be
solved in the future as the PSS faculty
voted to make one summer of
courses required in the future for
Ecological Agriculture majors.
In other PSS news, including that of
• Terry Bradshaw (HREC and
Catamount Farm manager, and
Research Associate now in PSS,
with all 3 degrees from UVM) was
awarded the CALS New Achiever
Alumni award.
• Dr. Norman Pellett received the
CALS Sinclair Cup Award. "The

Sinclair Cup Award honors dean
emeritus and distinguished
alumnus, Robert O. Sinclair. It is
given as a means of recognizing
those individuals who, like Dr.
Sinclair, served CALS and/or UVM
Extension with distinction as a
member of the faculty or staff for a
major portion of their professional
• PSS alum Adam Wheeler (studied
with Mark Starrett) visited Deb
Neher's Professional Development
class to speak to our Undergrads.
Adam is Chief Propagator at
Broken Arrow Nursery in
• Mollie Silver, ECAG alum class of
2010, after traveling and working in
LA and the UK, she has come back
to VT and begun work at a local
ag start up company called
Seedsheets in Middlebury https://
• Congratulations to our former
graduate students, Hisa Kominami
and Susan Monahan, who have
purchased Locust Grove Farm
from the VT Land Trust.
• Sarah Kresock (SLH '13) interned at
the Arnold Arboretum to enhance
her Masters in Landscape
Architecture program at the
Boston Architectural College.
PhD student Annie White is finishing up
her thesis this spring on the
attractiveness to pollinators of native
species of perennials compared to
cultivars of these. She has posted a
general summary on her website
(, with
more details to come there on in this
column in the future, and has begun
giving presentations on these results.
In brief from her web posting:
"Since 2011, I have been studying
this topic at multiple field sites in
northern Vermont (zones 4a and


4b) as a PhD student in Plant & Soil
Science at the University of
Vermont. Under the guidance of
Dr. Leonard Perry, I established
replicated experimental pollinator
gardens to monitor pollinator
visitation to 12 native species and
14 native cultivars, to evaluate
their garden performance, and to
study patterns of nectar
production in an additional two
native species and four native
Some native cultivars attract just as
many insect pollinators as the
native species. This was seen
mostly for open-pollinated seed
cultivars such as Asclepias
tuberosa ‘Hello Yellow’ and
Monarda fistulosa ‘Claire
Grace.’ (However, it’s noteworthy
that ‘Claire Grace was not as cold
hardy in zone 4 given that it’s a
selection from a southern
ecotype.) One native cultivar
selection, Veronicastrum virginicum
(Lavender Towers) actually
attracted significantly more total
pollinators than the native species
and had a longer bloom time. This
illustrates that there’s potential for
pollinator-friendly cultivars (with
long bloom periods and high
nectar production) to be selected
for and marketed.
One clear trend was observed
across all species; the more
manipulated the cultivars became,
the less attractive they became to
pollinators. Cultivars such as
Achillea millefolium ‘Strawberry
Seduction’ and Symphyotrichum
(formerly Aster) novae-angliae
‘Alma Poetschke’, which are the
result of repeated selections in
breeding programs, attracted
significantly fewer pollinators in
nearly all pollinator groups. The

same held true for hybrid varieties
from breeding programs such as
Baptisia x varicolor ‘Twilite
Prairieblues’ and Tradescantia
‘Red Grape,’ Echinacea ‘Sunrise’
Big Sky and Echinacea ‘Pink
Double Delight.’

Although our research doesn’t
answer why some pollinators
strongly preferred the native
species, we hypothesize that
color differences and decreased
nectar and pollen production in
hybridized cultivars are the
leading factors."
In my own perennial trials in USDA
zone 4 (a or b, depending on the
year), this should prove a good test
winter for hardiness. Most of my
trials (not including the Echinacea)
are now in low (6-inch) raised beds.
One bed has 15 Coreopsis,
including several new introductions.
While field beds remained
constantly at or near freezing this
winter, even with little or no snow
cover (due to the mild winter), soil
in the uncovered raised beds
dropped below 25F on quite a few
days, and even into the low teens a
few times. In comparison, an
adjacent raised bed with 4-inches
of straw cover remained constant
and similar to the field beds. Stay
tuned for the results in a future
column, as well as updates on our
All-America Selections and new
annuals display garden being
planned once again this summer
for Burlington's Waterfront Park.
As of this March writing we're over
half full for the May 23 Greenhouse
Shopping bus tour in the
Connecticut River Valley of Vermont
with plenty of spaces left for the
August 8 Northern Vermont
Perennial gardens and nurseries
tour (
vt816an.pdf). Thanks to your

association for sponsoring both
these tours, plus the September 12
Montreal Botanical Gardens and
Chinese lanterns festival. Thanks
also go to one of your association
members for offering two seats on
the first tour in a raffle drawing to his
customers. A nice marketing idea
for him and the tour. Perhaps this is
an idea you might use as well if you
have a retail sales or even service

on garden design. She holds a
masters of landscape architecture
degree from the Technical
University of Munich, Germany. Prior
to her current position at North
Creek, Claudia served as a design
consultant for Wolfgang Oehme/
Carol Oppenheimer: Landscape
Architecture Organic Gardens LLC
and was employed at Sylva Native
Nursery & Seed and Bluemount
Nurseries, Inc."

If you were able to attend the
summer meeting last August, you
may have attended the workshop
on proper body movement and
warm-ups by Dr. Jason
Wohlstenholme of Movewell
Vermont (himself formerly a
landscaper). You can view his
recent show on this topic we taped
for gardeners on Across the Fence,
as well as the Landscape Awards
program with Ed Burke from earlier
this winter. (
user/acrossthefenceUVM, click on
the Uploads link)

The draft program is together, and
speakers being contacted, for the
upcoming biennial Northeast
Greenhouse Conference to be held
this year at a new Holiday Inn
location in Boxborough (MA)
November 9-10, 2016. (Actually this
was the second location this
conference was held in the past, in
the early 80's when I first became
involved with it, then a Sheraton
property). The NEGC Board felt this
location better sized now for our
meeting, and a better location for
the majority of our attendees.

And from the more recent annual
meeting of your association, if you
were able to attend you heard the
keynote speaker Claudia West on
the topic of her recent Timber Press
book with Thomas Rainer, Planting in
a Post-Wild World. If you missed this,
or would like to hear her again on
this topic, along with Creating
Stunning Plant Communities that
Stand the Test of Time, you're in
luck. She is on board to be the
keynote speaker for our 2017
Vermont Flower Show. Claudia
currently is an Ecological Sales
Representative with North Creek
Nurseries in Landenberg, PA. (from
New England Grows bio) "Claudia
grew up in a family-owned
landscape and nursery business in
Meerane, Germany specializing in
perennial, woody and cut flower
production with a strong emphasis


Join Dr. Perry on his
Upcoming Green Works
Sponsored Tours:
May 23, 2016
Greenhouse Shopping Tour
August 8, 2016
Northern VT Perennial
Garden Tour
September 12, 2016
Montreal Botanic Garden &
Chinese Lantern Tour
for complete details visit


diStefano Landscaping, Inc.- Marie Limoge
Large Scale Residential Design - Merit Award
Lakeside Retreat

George Wohlgemuth Landscapes - George Wohlgemuth
Large Scale Residential Build - Merit Award
Hanover Installation

Jack Rossi Landscape Architecture
Large Scale Residential Design - Honor Award
Talcott House


Andrew Newton & Mike Vannostrand diStefano Landscaping, Inc.
Large Scale Residential Build - Merit Award
Essex Residence

Old World Garden Design - Silvia Jope
Small Scale Residential Design - Honor Award/Judges’ Choice
Front Porch Habitat Garden

The Grass Gauchos, LLC - Josh Cohen
Small Scale Residential Build - Merit Award
Depot Road Backyard Resort

Landshapes - Caroline Dudek
Small Scale Residential Design - Merit Award
Mallets Bay Terrace

Chris diStefano - diStefano Landscaping, Inc.
Commercial Build - Honor Award
Center for Communications & Creative Media
Ashley Robinson Landscape Designer
Small Scale Residential Design - Honor Award
Perennial Planting Plan


putting it under the lens . . .

Observations from the UVM
Plant Diagnostic Lab

very non-toxic one that has been used for over 100 years
to kill or suffocate overwintering mite and scale insects
and eggs. These pests suck plant juices and weaken
trees. It does not mean you don’t have to follow up with
another spray (horticultural oil) in the summer to kill the
crawling stage of the scale but it will reduce populations
over time. This organic spray must be applied before bud
swell or bud break or else you will see damage to
foliage. Use thorough coverage in bark crevices, etc. This
product is available at any garden center and relatively

Ann Hazelrigg, PhD.

When grape buds were

checked for mortality this
past week at the
Horticultural Research Farm
there was little damage, so
we probably will not see
much if any winter
damage in trees and
shrubs the way we did last
year. Also, since our snow
cover was light, I have not
seen or heard reports
about vole or rabbit
girdling at the base of

Witches brooms (proliferations of growth) may be more
obvious this time of year. These diseases are caused by
rust fungi and often require 2 hosts to complete their
lifecycles. The alternate host of the blueberry witches

Blueberry witches
Watt, University of

Without leaves on the trees, yellow bellied sapsucker
injury may be obvious. This migratory bird is in the
woodpecker family and has been known to attack over
250 species of trees looking for sap. The damage
appears as round or
square holes drilled in
rows in the bark. This
damage can
weaken or girdle the
tree over time. Birch,
maple and hemlock
appear to be their
preferred hosts.
These protected
birds tend to have
favorite trees so wrap burlap around to prevent their

Yellow witches
broom of fir

broom is the balsam fir. If you eliminate one of the hosts,
you eliminate the disease! Otherwise, control is difficult.
Pruning out the brooms in the blueberry (often spongy
and orange-ish) does not really help since once the
disease has infected the bush, it is systemic. This is why
growers might want to think twice before starting a
blueberry farm in the Northeast kingdom where balsam
fir is prevalent. There is also a witches broom disease on
balsam fir that causes this proliferation of growth on the
branches (often turning yellow) with the alternate host of
chickweed. Good luck eradicating chickweed. Any
questions, please contact Ann at UVM Extension

We saw a fair amount of fungal diseases on crabapples
and apple trees last year so it is important for home
gardeners/landscapers to open up fruit trees to light and
air to minimize these diseases. Best to prune now, while
dormant. Cut out any weak or dead limbs, crossing limbs
using thinning cuts (cuts that go back to a branch)
rather than heading cuts (cutting off end of the branch)
that will promote a lot of bunchy growth that you will
have to prune later.
This time of year is a great time for dormant oil sprays in
fruit trees and magnolias. This is an important spray and a

Be Tick Smart!

Tick Bite Prevention

The Blacklegged Tick,
also called Deer Tick, is
throughout Vermont.
They can carry the
that cause Lyme
disease, Babesiosis,
and Anaplasmosis. All
three diseases are on
the rise. While tickborne illnesses can be
very serious if
untreated, they are

that cause Lyme
disease, Borrelia
burgdorferi, enter the body when an infected tick attaches
to the skin to take a blood meal. In most cases, an infected
tick must be attached for at least 36 hours in order to transmit
Lyme disease. Prompt removal of ticks can prevent infection.
Not all types of ticks carry Lyme disease. In the eastern United
States, the black-legged tick, commonly known as the deer
tick, is responsible for transmitting the disease. Deer ticks are
common in Vermont, but not all of them are infected with
the bacteria. Deer ticks acquire the bacteria when they feed
on infected small animals, especially mice. Lyme disease
transmission can occur as long as ticks are active, which is
typically from early spring through late fall. However, most
infections in people happen in the spring and summer when
the small nymphs are most active. Adult ticks can also
transmit Lyme disease, but they are larger and easier to find
and remove promptly. The tiny larvae cannot transmit Lyme

Can Deer Ticks Spread Other Diseases? Deer ticks can
also transmit anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Powassan virus. In
Vermont, reports of anaplasmosis have been increasing since
2010, but it is less common than Lyme disease. Anaplasmosis
is a bacterial infection treated by the same antibiotics used
to treat Lyme disease. Babesiosis is caused by a parasite,
and only a few cases are reported each year in Vermont.
Powassan virus was only recently shown to be carried by
deer ticks. It’s not known how common it is in Vermont, but
illness appears to be uncommon.

Tick Facts

Tick Removal: Remove ticks immediately and correctly!

How is Lyme Disease
Spread? The bacteria

Tick habitat is in shady, damp, brushy, wooded areas
including shrubs and gardens.
Ticks cannot jump or fly. They attach to people, pets,
or other animals that brush up against them.
Nymph stage ticks are found mostly at ground level.
Adult stage ticks can be found up to a couple of feet
off of the ground on vegetation.
Once ticks attach to your shoes, socks, or pant leg,
they typically crawl up, looking for a place to feed.

Do a tick check after coming inside and tumble-dry
clothes for 20 minutes.
Wearing light-colored clothing makes it easier to see
Tuck pant cuffs into socks.
Consider repellents; read and follow all label
instructions. There are two types of repellent:
1. Products containing DEET may be used on skin.
2. Products containing Permethrin may be used on
clothing, not skin. Use Permethrin to treat clothing
(active through six washings), or purchase pretreated clothing (active through seventy

Using pointy tweezers, grasp tick by the head and pull
straight up. Avoid twisting.
DO NOT USE: matches, cigarettes, petroleum jelly,
gasoline, nail polish remover, etc.
After removing tick, apply antiseptic to bite area.
Note date when tick was removed.
Save tick for identification.

Which repellents should I use? Use repellents that are
registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
those products have been evaluated for safety and
effectiveness. Look for the EPA number on the label. Read
the label carefully for information about effectiveness and
proper use.
DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is effective against ticks
and has been used safely for many years. A higher
percentage of DEET in a repellent does not mean that the
protection is better—just that it will last longer.
• Do Not use DEET on infants younger than 2 months old.
• Do Not use DEET in concentrations greater than 30%.
• DEET is safe for children in concentrations up to 30%.

Other repellents that may be effective against ticks:
Picaridin (KBR 3023)
Oil of lemon eucalyptus or its synthesized version,
IR3535 (3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl
For use on clothing:
Permethrin is an insecticide and insect repellent that can
be used on clothing, shoes, bed nets, and camping gear.
Permethrin should never be applied to skin. Permethrintreated clothing repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes, and other
insects and retains this effect after laundering. For more
information, go to EPA’s website:

Tick Testing: Laboratory of Medical Zoology: For a fee, testing can be performed
for all three diseases.
This information is courtesy of UMASS Extension and VT
Department of Health. Visit for
more information and to download the Be Tick Smart
Pamphlet. Report ticks at


Spray Season is Soon!

What Are You
Planting Today?

Call OESCO for sales, maintenance & service
of your spraying equipment.



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medium & full size pickup trucks.
Mount hose under pump/engine
for van use.

CALL for a catalog, or just stop by

7AM - 5PM, Monday - Friday & 7AM - noon Saturday
You’ll always be able to speak to a knowledgeable and
friendly person who can help.



n g G ro we r s, G a rd




P.O. Box 540, 8 Ashfield Road/
Route 116, Conway, MA 01341



and Gr

o u n d s k e e p i n g Pr o fe s s i o n a l




tips & trends, food for thought…

A recent article in Gardens Illustrated
magazine reiterated the very topics
discussed at the Summer Meeting.
Both Claudia West and Rebecca
Lindenmeyr led talks on the wild side
of landscape design. You can read
the article in Gardens Illustrated
Magazine Issue 226 “Wild Flowers in
Gardens” by Sarah Price.

“Bigger isn’t always better.

Back from
the Philadelphia Flower Show to report,
they’ve got nothing over us! It may be
high drama, but it lacks the feeling, sense
of place and creativity of experience
that we impart. Yes, I’m partial but mostly
proud. We all deserve a pat on the back
for bringing our flower show to even
bigger heights!” Ashley Robinson

Download Greenhouse Grower’s 2016
State of the Industry Whitepaper at:

Did you know the Vermont Small

For anyone interested in learning more about the
wild side, try Rambunctious Garden,
Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World by Emma Marris.
Book Review:
“A paradigm shift is roiling the
environmental world. For decades
people have unquestioningly accepted
the idea that our goal is to preserve
nature in its pristine, pre-human state. But
many scientists have come to see this as
an outdated dream that thwarts bold
new plans to save the environment and
prevents us from having a fuller
relationship with nature. Humans have
changed the landscapes they inhabit
since prehistory, and climate change
means even the remotest places now bear the fingerprints
of humanity. Emma Marris argues convincingly that it is
time to look forward and create the "rambunctious
garden," a hybrid of wild nature and human management.
In this optimistic book, readers meet leading scientists and
environmentalists and visit imaginary Edens, designer
ecosystems, and Pleistocene parks. Marris describes
innovative conservation approaches, including rewilding,
assisted migration, and the embrace of so-called novel
Rambunctious Garden is short on gloom and long on
interesting theories and fascinating narratives, all of which
bring home the idea that we must give up our romantic
notions of pristine wilderness and replace them with the
concept of a global, half-wild rambunctious garden
planet, tended by us”.
Bloomsbury Publishing USA

Business Development Center offers
no-cost, confidential, one-on-one
business advising to new and existing
businesses? Contact one of their
business advisors for more information!
The VTSBDC also offer FREE training,
programs and resources to Vermont
businesses. To learn more visit:

Spring is nature's way of
saying, 'Let's party!'
Robin Williams

no kidding …

Time Management
... getting it all done!
by Carrie Chalmers

At our last board meeting, I was intrigued about a

For those already doing work on their phone, digital
task management apps will be yet another way your
phone helps you to stay organized and effective. The
key to any of these apps is successfully integrating it
into your daily routine. I recently opened Things and
found my blog project was 1,400 days overdue, and
my desk is still cluttered with lists, so clearly I have yet
to make a full transition to digital time management

notebook Nate Carr developed to manage his to-do
lists. I was actually facetiming into
the meeting, so was sitting amidst a
pile of sticky notes and lists
What’s in
scattered about my desk. The topic
of managing tasks and time is
APP Folde
central to all business owners, but
the seasonal intensity of the nursery
and landscape business heightens
the necessity for us to have an
effective means of tackling the
r the Mil
never ending lists. I know I could
make some big improvements in
that area, so let’s take a look at how
some of our fellow Green Works
members manage their tasks.

Along with the more basic list style
time management apps
mentioned above, there are
sophisticated apps to help your
business manage projects, work as
a team, and engage your clients.
A couple of folks mentioned Trello
as an app they use for more
complex project management.
Rebecca Lindenmeyr wrote that it
is a “great tool for visual people
since it allows you to track projects
with photos and works well with
teams; you can also add clients to
the boards and keep all your
interactions in one place.” David
Burton uses Insightly which is a
The advent of the smart phone has
google app that integrates with
certainly transformed how we keep
google email, calendar, mail
track of our lives, and many that
chimp and some versions of
responded to my query on the
you to create projects, track
Green Works listserv rely heavily on Google or iCal
delegate tasks to
calendars and the reminders that they generate to
and contacts.
track meetings, client dates, and personal events.
of our members
Then there are the apps to digitally manage your tomentioned,
helpful when
do lists and projects. These can be helpful as they
sync across devices and sometimes integrate with
other commonly used software. Both Chris diStefano
becomes the central meeting place for discussions,
and I use Things , an iOS app. You can create
schedules, tasks, and documents. Any of these more
projects, and related to-do lists, with due dates and
sophisticated apps might be valuable for those
priority levels. Remember the Milk, a similar task app
juggling multiple projects and looking to build a
available for both android and iOS, has the added
collaborative environment at their company.
benefit of integrating with gmail and google
calendars. It allows you to enter tasks from email or
I was not surprised though to find that many members
using Siri, and sends reminders, which is a helpful
still rely heavily on pen and paper. Sarah Salatino has
feature for those like me that suffer from out-of-sight
an annual “palm pilot”, a/k/a small notebook, that
out-of-mind syndrome. There are many more apps
she carries in her pocket to make notes and quick to
available and a quick online search will soon
do lists. She writes,”I’ve tried my iphone for notes and
overwhelm you with choices.
calendar, but my ‘mature’ eyes and fingers are


Legislative Update
March, 2016

unable to quickly use the keyboard.” Rebecca
replied that while she relies on a number of different
apps, her husband Tim still prefers a small spiral bound
notebook and pen. Sandy Anderson reminds me that
a simple spreadsheet can be effective and offers
readability and computer editing with almost the
ease of a handwritten note. Miller Farm writes that
they use post it notes and a pocket timer, but are still
looking for the app that will put more hours in the
day. Hmmm, that would be nice.

Listed below are a number of bills that have been
introduced and are awaiting action by our states'
legislators. For first hand review of the legislation noted
here, please use the following website:

I especially liked Nate Carr’s creative solution he calls
his graphic to-do list. He designed a page divided
into empty boxes titled with the different aspects of
his business responsibilities that he needs to keep on
his radar. For example, he had boxes for admin,
sales, projects, payroll etc. He writes in any tasks he
has for the day into the various boxes, knowing that
he is giving attention to the critical components of his
business. He found a company online to print and
spiral bind the notebooks so his lists are always at
hand, under one cover, and easy to thumb through.
Another variation of this was adopted by Tim Parsons.
He wrote that he experimented with different apps,
but what he settled on that has been very successful
for him is a method described in I
will refer you to the website to see it in action, but it is
a system to create very organized and easily
searchable handwritten to do lists. For those that
prefer the ease of pen and paper but need to bring
cohesion to the loose lists or unfinished tasks, either of
these solutions may be the answer.

The VNLA would like to take our members opinions into
consideration while crafting positions on legislation
affecting our industry. Please contact Kristina in the
office or Shannon Lee, our Legislative Committee Chair
at with your feedback.
H137- from 2015- in House Committee on Natural
Resources & Energy -Bans leaf blowers and leaf
vacuums. Similar measures have been passed in
Arizona and certain municipalities
S147- 4/9/15- in Senate Committee on Finance -Tax
exemption of mulch for resalle. Retroactive
reimbursement of tax paid since 7/1/08 .
S200- 1/5/16- in Senate Agriculture Committee Regulate neonicotinoid pesticides. Actions taken from
past efforts (H236,S232) include Agency of Agriculture
study and reporting. Growing grassroots effort and
public understanding.

Mark Wright sums up perfectly how many of us
approach the topic of time management... “ I have
no problem with my own time management - I just
work all the time!” I’m not sure any of these solutions
will help us work less, but they might make us feel a
little less crazy in the process. The trick is finding the
method that works best for you and is easy to
incorporate into your daily routine.

H773, H867- 1/28/16, 3/15/16- in House Committee on
Commerce and Economic Development.
Classification of employees and independent
H861- 3/11/16- in Senate Committee on Agriculture
-Authorize Secretary of Ag to regulate 'treated article'

Thank you to everyone who offered their insights!

H864- 3/15/16- in House Committee on Ways and
Means. Modify and clarify current exemptions on sales
and use tax of Ag supplies, machinery, equipment and
fuels. Exemption of seeds, plants, fertilizer, and
pesticides. Changing language of statutes to allow
exemption from tax of equipment and machinery used
less than 96% of time on farm.

Look for these time management related topics in
upcoming issues of The Dirt. What systems do we
have in place to assign and manage our employees
tasks and time? Tips to avoid procrastination and turn
the lists into action.

Got a Business Tip- send it in!

Cobble Creek Nursery, LLC


e offer quality Vermont Grown trees and

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and true, and hardy new cultivars are grown at
our nursery in Monkton.
Knowledgeable, experienced, Vermont Certified
Horticulturists on staff. Support your local
economy, buy Vermont Grown plants.
Call for a catalog or stop by for a visit.
John Padua
991 Tyler Bridge Road, Bristol, VT 05443
phone/fax: 802- 453-3889 / e-mail:

Prides Corner Farms

We are all about
You need fewer hassles
You need someone who will listen
You need a partner that believes in you
You need someone who has your back
You need product that will not be in big box stores
You need a company that will be there now
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Member Profile

What do you find most rewarding? The great variety of
clients, their rough properties with abundant potential
and finding that rare gem of a client who is genuinely
passionate about sustainable design and living it.
Share a business tip. Work with the best people you
can: clients, colleagues and associates and don’t
assume a prospective client with a modest home
doesn’t have the
means and will to
embrace your ideas
and allow you to
create a spectacular

Zachary Berger Associates, Ltd
We sent new member Ronny Stelly and Zachary
Berger of Zachary Berger Associates, Ltd. a list of
questions to answer as a way for us to introduce one of
Green Works’ newest members. We would like to
welcome Ronny and Zachary!

Share your favorite
plant. Zachary:
Hamamelis virginiana
Ronny: Quercus alba.

Please Introduce yourself and your business. We are
two landscape designers, Zachary Berger and Ronny
Stelly. We design residential gardens and landscapes
throughout northern and eastern Vermont. We adhere
to a sensible, sustainable design approach with
emphasis on native plants and stone.

Where would you like
to be five years from
now? Designing
almost exclusively
with native plants
and local materials
for great clients
throughout the

What is your background, education, etc. – how did
you get started in this field? Zachary gardened with his
family as a teenager and assumed control of the
family’s large organic garden at 14. After high school,
he worked in the Maine nursery and landscape
industry for 4 years before embarking on 3 years of
college for horticulture and design at Andrews
University in Michigan and Southern Maine Technical
College. Ronny pursued a degree in the landscape
design profession after three years of hobby farming in
South Royalton, Vermont. When Hurricane Irene
washed his hard work and effort down the White River
in year two, Ronny became determined to better
understand the intricacies of our built world. He went
on to earn an Associate of Science degree in
Landscape and Environmental Design at NHTI in
Concord, New Hampshire.

Top: Ronny Stelly;
Bottom: Zachary Berger

Why do you like
being a member of
Green Works? We
believe it is a crucial
aspect of our
professionalism and
anticipate that as we get to know our association
colleagues we will learn and share horticultural
What’s your favorite restaurant? Hen of the Wood Waterbury.

How long have you been in this business? 19 years the firm was founded in 1997 - Any other businesses?
Zachary also co-owns an estate gardening company
in NH and ME.

What do you like to do during your down time? Hike
and ski the Green and White mountains of Vermont
and New Hampshire.

What do you find the most challenging/biggest issues
in running your business? It is challenging finding the
ideal balance between timely completion of
profitable projects and promoting our higher
ecological ideals, which are continually advancing as
we gain knowledge and experience. There seems to
be an abundance of academic knowledge and
theory regarding sustainability but the ecological
concepts-to-design-to-implementation-tomanagement process is misunderstood and
mishandled all too often by industry practitioners and

A recent


Pollinator Friendly Landscapes
on Solar Sites =
an Enormous Business Opportunity

Ecological Landscapes on Solar Sites
Multiple Benefits: With no moving parts and a free fuel
source rising and setting each day, the predictability of
solar energy makes it valuable to developers and
buyers. Land owners — typically farmers — also benefit
from the predictable long-term lease revenue
generated by having acreage in solar.

by Rob Davis

Dramatic changes in cost can drive dramatic changes
in customer behavior—and create extraordinary
business opportunities. Such is the situation right now
with solar energy — hardware costs have plummeted by
80 percent in the last five years and the more we build,
the cheaper it gets. The majority of solar installations will
be built on arable land, creating business booms for
strategic ecological consulting services and in providing
bulk seed for low-growing forbs and shade-tolerant
native grasses.

Adding a native landscape to a solar site creates even
greater public and private benefits:
Pollinator Habitat: One-third of our food production
requires pollinators, as does livestock forage, and most
wild plants that produce seeds. However, bees, birds,
monarchs, and critical pollinators are disappearing by
the hundreds of millions according to research from the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A significant factor in the
decline is habitat loss.

In the United Kingdom, where thousands of acres of
solar sites with vegetative groundcover were built over
the last five years, ecological service providers and seed
companies have reported a surge in solar-specific
And now throughout the United States more than
100,000 acres of managed landscapes—around and
under solar panels—will be built in just the next three
years. The change is driven by demand from
corporations, states, and electric utilities seeking fueland emissions-free energy. Savvy ecological service
providers can help maximize the market opportunity by
educating the public—creating more demand for
vibrant and diverse landscaping on solar sites.

Native plants may add habitat on solar sites.
Photo: Guy Parker.

Meanwhile, observational studies from the UK and
Germany show bees, birds, and butterflies thriving on
solar sites planted with a mixture of native grasses and
flowering forbs.
Improved Water Management and Soil Conditions: In
cooperation with a consortium of 19 cities and towns,
the U.S. Geological Survey completed a five-year storm
water study that revealed “striking differences between
turf and prairie vegetation.” The study found “prairie
vegetation had greater median infiltration rates than
those with turf grass,” and roots in the prairie vegetation
plot were “found to a depth of 4.7 feet compared with
0.46 feet in the turf.”
Ecologists have proven that increasing plant richness by
the addition of legumes and forbs to the traditional
grasses enhances the functional diversity and stacks
benefits provided by these systems. A native landscape
on solar sites will both hold the soil in place and
significantly improve its quality over the life of the

Compared to row crops, solar sites with biodiverse plants
show statistically significant increases in pollinator
populations and variety. Parker, GE & McQueen, C (2013)
Can Solar Farms Deliver Significant Benefits to Biodiversity?
Preliminary Study July-August 2013. Unpublished Report.


Reducing Fire Risk & Increasing Solar Performance:
Though there is not yet research available on the
subject, ecologists expect that a higher percentage of
native forbs will help reduce the risk of grass fires in
some climates. And the National Renewable Energy
Laboratory recently began a study to test the
hypothesis that solar panels above a vegetative
groundcover operate at greater efficiency—due to
cooler operating temperatures—compared to panels
operating over concrete or gravel.

plant, and habitat management business. Each year
Mann contributes 50 percent of all his profits from online
sales back to conservation organizations. Mann has
secured several large
corporate clients
including Nestle and
Solar Century and
has provided seed
consulting and
planting services on
more than 50 multiacre solar parks
throughout the
United Kingdom.
Nationwide, the 2016
outdoor construction
season is upon us.
And seed and
landscape service
companies including
Ernst Seeds and
Prairie Restorations
Photo: Guy Parker
are actively
marketing their solar
services and contributing to nonprofits. Now is the time
for the ecological landscape industry to get involved,
grow the market for their businesses, and help create a
world where the benefits from solar energy come from
the panels as well as what’s grown underneath.

Seeding a solar installation. Photo: Nick Mann.

Public Demand and Policy Can
Grow the Market

About the Author
Rob Davis helped launch Firefox 1.0 and tells the stories
of pioneering people, ideas, and organizations. Davis
works at Fresh Energy, an independent 501(c)3
nonprofit. Free Video links to Davis’ talk at the VERGE
sustainability summit about pollinator habitat on solar
sites. Learn more at:

Your elected officials are already hearing from solar
companies. Businesses in your community are actively
evaluating how they can save money by using more
solar electricity. Will your state be building 2,000 or
20,000 acres of solar sites? And will any of these sites get
anything more than gravel or turf grass? Landscape
budgets get squeezed at the last minute all too often.

This article was reprinted with permission from the
Ecological Landscape Alliance and Rob Davis, the author.

Work with your elected officials to ensure they
understand the public benefits—pollinators and wildlife,
water and soil—of native landscapes on solar sites.
Conditional use permits—a common tool used by City
Councils, County Boards, and Public Utilities
Commissions—can call for native landscaping and an
appropriate vegetative management plan. An acre of
solar panels and hardware alone can cost a third to a
half-million dollars—the cost for an acre of quality seed
mix just doesn’t compare.
And if engaging with elected officials isn’t your strong
suit, support the non-profit organizations that are taking
on this work. For example, Nick Mann is the founder and
president of Habitat Aid, a native seed,


Member Profile

Farm. This, as well as serving on the FHF Board of
Directors, allowed me to fully immerse myself in all
things relating to gardening. I was able to work with
and learn hands-on from so many people in the
industry; including many VNLA members. My first client
hired me 8 years ago to
help finish a new garden
in South Hero, VT. I still
maintain those gardens
today. My client has
since built and/or
bought 3 more houses
and my gardening
career was born.

Garden Therapy/Jennifer Mills
We caught up with Jennifer and asked her to tell us a
bit about herself as a way for us to introduce to you
one of our newest members. We would like to
welcome Jennifer!

“After growing up in New York State and spending five

years in Sweden, I settled down in beautiful Vermont.
My interest in gardening was nonexistent until I
purchased my first house. Following that, I couldn’t get
enough time in the dirt. Before working outside, I spent
14 years working for the Blodgett Oven Company. My
position went from Engineering Technician to Senior
Food Science Specialist and my involvement spanned
Engineering, Sales, Service and Marketing.

Garden Therapy is a
small 8 year old
A recent project.
company that maintains
perennial gardens and
landscapes throughout Chittenden County. Our
clients’ gardens range from small perennial gardens to
large private estates containing annuals, perennials,
shrubs and trees. Besides myself, I employ one full-time
gardener. Between the two of us we manage almost
30 accounts. We provide property clean-ups, garden
overhauls, ongoing maintenance and installation. We
take pride in our attention to detail, our ability to
provide excellent customer service, and our
dedication to each and every client”. 

Once I left Blodgett, I decided that I would spend my
days doing what I love; gardening. After taking the
Vermont Master Gardener course in 2006, a wonderful
job opportunity fell into my lap. For 7 years I was the
Intern Coordinator for UVM’s Friends of the Horticulture

For generations, we’ve been helping
all types of ag businesses grow.
Tax Services
Record Keeping Services
Credit Life Insurance
Crop Insurance
Payroll Services

Farm Credit
building relationships that last generations

Middlebury, VT
Newport, VT

St. Albans, VT
White River Jct., VT

Williston, VT
Chazy, NY


wiry stems, hairy leaves and bodacious blooms. . .
Blunt Mountain Mint Pycnanthemum muticum
Overlooked Garden Workhorse

shade conditions if moisture is limited. The spread of mature
plantings can be controlled by annual spading around the
planting’s perimeter, which will sever the few rhizomes
produced from large mass plantings. Do not worry, P.
muticum is nowhere as aggressive as other garden bullies
from the mint family.

by Scott Stewart, Ph.D.

The show does not stop in fall and winter months for P.
muticum—the coarse vertical structure of the species adds
tremendous interest to the winter garden. Winter flower
remnants appear delicate and highly structured. Short,
small-leaved wintergreen stems are often present around
the base of dormant plants.

Say the word “mint” to many gardeners and thoughts of
uncontrollable, misbehaving, and freely-seeding plants
come to mind. One of my horticultural mentors once
quipped that, “You can plant that mint today, and it will be
there for the next 100
years.” As a result of this
bad reputation, many
horticulturists shy away
from including any mint in
a landscape. This is such
a shame! There are
several excellent mint
and mint-related
perennial plants that
make wonderful,
interesting, and useful
additions to any

The coarse texture of P. muticum lends itself well to
companion planting with softer-textured grasses, which will
maximize the visual impact of the planting. Three great
companion grasses to plant with Blunt Mountain Mint are
Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), Transparent Moor
Grass (Molinia litoralis ‘Transparent’), and Feather Reed

Blunt Mountain Mint
muticum) is a native mint
that you should consider
for a landscape planting.
The species is a true mint
Pycnanthemum muticum at its peak,
(Lamiaceae) that is
displaying small white flowers against
native to eastern North
a backdrop of silvery leaves. Blunt
America, including
Mountain Mint is a major draw for
Vermont. Individual plants honeybees and many other types of
of Blunt Mountain Mint
can grow, in a garden
setting, up to 3 feet tall with a 3 foot spread. The species
performs best in the landscape when planted in large
masses or blocks that maximize the aesthetic and
ecological benefits of the plant. Pycnanthemum muticum
blooms in mid- to late summer with a flush of dainty white
flowers against a background of silvery, deep green foliage.
Blunt Mountain Mint draws all types of local pollinators—
honeybees, bumblebees, native bees, and butterflies. At
peak flowering, plants literally “buzz” with the movement
and sound of bees!
Blunt Mountain Mint grows best in fertile, moist-to-medium
moisture soils that are well-drained. Planting in full-sun is
recommended, although the species is tolerant of part-

Blunt Mountain Mint is best planted in large masses or
blocks, which maximize the aesthetic impact of the
plants at their annual peak in summer and fall.

Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’). Sideoast
Gamma Grass (Bouteloua curtipendula) also makes a great
companion to help soften the texture of Blunt Mountain
Mint. Other perennial plants that work well with P. muticum
include: Eastern Bee Balm (Monarda bradburiana), Betony
(Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’ and ‘Rosea’), and Daylily
(Hemerocallis ‘Chicago Apache’).
And as if all these characteristics and adaptability in the
landscape were not enough, P. muticum maintains a
spectacular spearmint-like aroma year-round. The plant uses


this aromatic oil as a natural insect and animal
repellent—Blunt Mountain Mint is deer, rabbit, and
rodent resistant.

appear as
structures with
texture in the
winter garden.

Despite the bad reputation of mints in the garden, the
native P. muticum is a mint that is not only wellbehaved, but also adds tremendous aesthetic and
ecological value to the garden. Consider planting Blunt
Mountain Mint in your next landscape.
Learn more about P. muticum and other terrific
perennial plants perfect for your Vermont gardens by
visiting the Lurie Garden’s website The Lurie Garden is a free, fiveacre, true four-season public garden located in
Millennium Park (Chicago, IL) and designed by
Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (Seattle, WA) with perennial
plant design by Piet Oudolf (Hummelo, The
Netherlands). The garden is the premier example of
mixed new wave perennial planting design, with a
focus on sustainable and ecologically-informed
horticultural practices that are scalable between the
homeowner to the large public park levels.

Short, smallleaved winter
evergreen stems
of Blunt
Mountain Mint
peak through
the leaf litter in
the winter
garden. These
stems add color
and their unique
aroma to the
winter garden.

Scott is the Director at Lurie Garden, Millennium Park,
Chicago, IL and you can reach him at








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