Photo by the amazing Michael Persico
It has been so long since I blogged that I bet most of you didn’t even know that there was a blog. Actually, before I was a full time flower farmer, I was a big time blogger. But life has a way of ebbing and flowing. I have more than a few passions in life, namely flowers (obviously), photography, baking and writing. I can’t decide if knitting belongs on that list or not? Nah, it’s just something to keep my hands busy while watching TV. Anyhoo, when the weather turns chilly — especially when it turns damp at the same time — my brain gets the itch to play more with words than flowers. A famer’s prerogative is to turn to other tasks in the winter. Alas, it’s not quite winter yet and there is still much to be done in the flower fields before putting them to bed, but I couldn’t resist gathering together some thoughts in a blog.
The dahlias have been rioting the past two weeks. I harvest buckets upon buckets nearly every day and yet they still throw up their colorful faces in succession after succession of stunning blooms. I’m not complaining that they are so needy.
The dahlias went into making this van full of wedding flowers especially colorful and sumptuous. The bride couldn’t have been more happy. She and her ladies looked amazing holding their bouquets.
The flower field changes its topography almost every day as crops begin to fade in the cold and we prep newly empty beds for fall planting. Already tucked in the freshly tilled earth are several million (yes, million!) seeds for 6 varieties of larkspur, 4 varieties of nigella, 3 varieties of queen anne’s lace, a tried-and-true variety of buplerum, and the ever-classic bells of Ireland. Coming this week are about 4,000 tulip bulbs that will be in the ground by Friday (I hope). There are also several thousand daffodils arriving that I hope to naturalize along the fence line so we can pick as needed but not give up precious bed space to give them a home. Plus won’t that be a lovely display each March and April, ruffled happy heads encircling the field, cheering us on with our spring chores? And then there are the 150 peony roots that will be added to what we already have. Not to mention the 1500 ranunculus and 600 anemone corms that need planted before the end of the month.
Ever present amongst these autumn additions is the time-consuming task of harvesting the blooms that are still pouring out of the current-season’s rows of flowers. At least until frost comes. The air seems to be chilling more rapidly this year so the frost may not be far off. The topic of frost is poignant for a farmer and deserves its own blog post someday.
One gargantuan task that finally got checked off the to-do list (just in the nick of time if frost is indeed nigh) is finishing the hoop house construction. I bought the “kit” last November and it took nearly a year to get this puppy finished! Granted, we only focused working on it for about a total of 15 days, but those days were spread out over the entire year and it felt like this wonderful addition to the farm would never. ever. ever! be complete. I am so grateful for all the amazing help I got from my family, my staff, and my landlord. It really does take a village (and maybe a mini van) to build a hoop house! Now the plants inside (dahlias, mums, lisianthus, dianthus, salvia, ornamental cabbage, cerinthe, ranunculus, and more) are feeling snug as a bug in a rug, and I’m breathing a huge sigh of relief. It will be a wonderful place to escape to on winter days when it feels like spring may never come. Though at the moment, I honestly can’t wait for winter. I am very tired right now. I never knew a person could work so hard and exist on so little sleep. I look forward to many winter naps!!! And hopefully more blog posts.