The end of the growing season is always a busy time on the farm, as we hustle to savor the last bits of summer, begin fall clean-up, and look ahead to planning for next season. Cooler temperatures and shortened day length slowly turn the once vibrant flower fields to a patchwork of brown and bright color as plants do their best to hang on despite the inevitable frost.
Last week we hosted a Flower Photography Workshop here on the farm. What a great way to spend a summer evening! Everyone had so much fun, learning some new skills, meeting fellow photography friends, and spending time in the flower fields. We were honored to have Karen Brennan of Artful Eye Photography teach the class - she is an amazing photographer with a wealth of information to share.
As July winds to a close this week, we find ourselves firmly planted in the long awaited season of harvest. All those months of planning, seeding, planting, watering, and anticipating have made way for the harvest. Cutting, cutting, and more cutting.....
A few weeks ago, we hosted our first Field to Vase workshop on the farm. We had so much fun with this awesome bunch of ladies (and one 7 year old gentleman)! Just look at all those smiles with their masterpieces!
As we near the summer solstice and officially welcome our long-awaited friend, Summer, we say good-bye to our spring blooms for another year. While we may not have enjoyed the cool wet spring this year, the spring beauties growing in the hoop house loved it. Cool temperatures and grey skies made for amazingly long stems and lush blooms of ranunculus, anemone, and stock.
We marked the beginning of our wedding season a few weeks ago as we made our first bouquet of spring blooms, buds, and greens. Being asked to participate in such a large milestone in a couple's lives is truly an honor and a humbling experience. As I cut, collect, and assemble the elements for a wedding, my mind and heart is tuned to these turning moments in life, over and over again.
When I was little, daffodils were by far my favorite flower. They shined their sunny faces everywhere in our yard, signaling the end of the long grey winter with their bright color in the still brown landscape. They continue to be one of my favorites today and I have a hard time resisting adding more varieties to my collection!
Daffodils are perennial and can last for years before needing to be dug and divided. Pushing up through layers of leaves or sod in the spring, they are a pretty low maintenance cut flower when it comes to weeding and care.
The last of the tulips were sold this week, the beds turned over and planted into sunflowers and snapdragons, and just yesterday I placed my order for next year's tulip crop. Tulip season is definitely a fast and furious one, and just when you think you've had enough then it's time to dive in and plan for next year! Even though it is a good 10 months before next year's tulips will begin to pop out of the ground, I am super excited for the varieties I've chosen for 2018. LOTS of color and a great variety of forms and shapes!
This year we grew several different forms of tulips: singles, doubles (two layers of petals), and parrots. The singles included 'Sanne', 'Apricot Pride', and 'Big Chief'. 'Sanne' may have been my favorite of the season, since it was the very first to bloom and had an incredible fragrance. 'Apricot Pride' was a lovely coral, peach, and pink. 'Big Chief' lived up to it's name, that's for sure....most stems were easily 3 feet long, with huge blushing red blooms.
Early May always finds a way of sending us down memory lane, as it marks the anniversary of our calling this property our home, now thirteen years ago. Besides a few stray apple trees, one lonely lilac shrub, and acres of grass, there sure wasn't much to draw us here. But what we saw wasn't at all visible; it was the blank slate of hope and dreams that brought us here.
After tossing our boxes in the house, we immediately set to work digging a garden and planting hundreds of trees. Many of the trees died in the years of drought that followed, but there are plenty left to remind us of those early years. A goofy makeshift greenhouse on the side of a rickety shed became a stepping stone to one, two, then three high tunnels.
Oh, the rain. It poured, sprinkled, dripped and dropped all week long, just as April Showers tend to do. Soggy and cold, the plants droop down, doing their best to patiently wait for the warm sun to return and bring the much awaited May Flowers. Buds, poised and fat, ready to burst. We wait too, droopy and soggy, knowing that it surely won't be long until everything springs forth after all this rain.
In the meantime, there is mud. We grew up in the woods, where dirt tattooed your knees, sappy needles stuck between your toes and sand trickled out of your pockets. Rain boots were for stomping in puddles on rainy days, quickly replaced with shoes or bare feet when the skies cleared. Mud was there, but not everywhere....