Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful, and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun. Don Miguel Ruiz
You may have noticed I missed posting last month. Spring got the best of me, most of me, nearly all of me and it just didn’t happen. When you read further you’ll see it was a busy, busy time here at Dandelion House, but in all the ways one would want a busy spring. We’ve got some catching up to do so sit back and relax it’s a bit of a long read. I missed you and I hope you enjoy!
When I first began growing cut flowers on a larger scale (circa 2012) I had no idea where this journey would take me, I just knew I had to try. Half the fun of starting something new is in the trying. Curiosity is a wonderful thing isn’t it? I was already a gardener and I loved the challenge of taking a bare patch of earth from nothing and turning it into something beautiful to enjoy in my home and gardens.
Fast forward 6 seasons and I’m still one flower obsessed farmgirl! If you recall, this journey all started with a trip to the feed store for chicken food. I passed by the end of an aisle stuffed with enticing beautiful Dahlia tubers and the rest is history!
I’ve learned so many things along the way and made many new flower friends too! The power of flowers has changed me and made me whole.
For example: I live by a different set of seasons now. My body rhythms are more in tune with my New England climate and have learned to live in a more focused and intentional way. I’ve become more mindful and patient while still very much enjoying the anticipation of each seasonal change as it comes.
Planning Season: January-March
Planning season starts almost when harvest season is over. This is when I take note of what I want to grow and how I want to grow. It’s a time of reflection and looking forward. Once the garden beds are cleared and the buckets have been dried and stacked it’s time to rest, recuperate and enjoy the holidays. January-March are the best times for planning. I like to luxuriate in the process of pouring over print seed catalogues and online stores. Because my growing space is limited I love ordering in new varieties to have on hand for making bouquets. This is also when I plan for any hard scape changes to the yard. I have two dreams in progress right now. One is a 12 x 16 barn/flower studio where I can design for weddings and events away from my dining room and kitchen and host intimate workshops with fellow flower sisters. The other is an enclosed picket fence garden tucked into the raised bed cutting garden area for roses, peonies, lilacs, and some herbs. We’ll see how quickly they manifest!
Nurturing Season: Mid April to End of June.
This spring has been full of nurturing activity for me on various levels. I’ve cared for two sets of baby chicks, 4 weeks apart this spring. That means I had baby chicks in a tub in my dining room for a total of 8 weeks! They are all settled in with the big girls now and I have my fresh smelling dining room back. Why did I keep them in the dining room? We don’t have a garage and I didn’t want to keep them in the basement where they wouldn’t hear our voices on a regular basis. I bet some of you have kept chickens in your house too! And I bet some of you even let the grown-up girls in for a visit now and then. I’ve enjoyed caring for them and watching them grow and learn how to get along with the other girls.
I had forgotten how sweet Buff Orpington’s are and so affectionate right from the start.
These three Ameraucanas were quickly nick-named ” the raptors”. We could barely go near them without them going into sheer panic mode. They’ve calmed down considerably since they moved outside with the big girls. Now I can finally give them their proper flower names. Would love to hear some ideas!
One of them has a crooked beak which is a common deformity in chickens that usually requires no treatment. Because feed has a tendency to fall out of their beaks they tend to develop slower but that has not been the case with ours. It hasn’t stopped her from developing at all. She’s the first one to the feeder and the largest of the three. She flies into my arms when I enter the run and crawls up to my shoulder to perch. We call her C.B.
Chickens sure are entertaining!
Nurturing season is also about getting the soil ready for new seeds, tubers, and plugs. that means either boosting the soil with compost or a new layer of horticultural soil ready for planting. I’ll admit that I approach planting like a jet airliner on the runway at takeoff. I want to get to my destination ( flowers in bloom ) as quick as possible. It has to be done quickly and on time for the best possible outcome.
My sweet mom had a knee replacement surgery so I’ve been nurturing her too. She’s doing wonderfully! It’s a long recovery but with every week she’s getting stronger and feeling better. It’s amazing what modern medicine can do for those suffering with arthritis. She’s got a hip replacement in her future as well, then she’ll be bionic and ready to tackle things she’s not been able to do for a while. It’s been such a gift to see her smiling again and enjoying life with less pain.
Growing/Harvest Season Mid July October
This is the most rewarding season of all. When you can begin to see the results of your hard work in weeks past. By July the perennial beds are flowering well and the annual cut flowers are coming on strong. The feeling of joy knowing that there will be flowers in bloom until the first frost has become a welcome comfort. It’s fun to try new varieties and this year I was determined to try sweet peas, yet again. I’m trialing two different varieties from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
I felt like a gambler with my last quarter when I dropped those seeds into the cold ground back in late February but here they are as new starts just as they were getting their tendrils.
I put up the trellises for them a couple of weeks ago using bamboo poles and Hortonova Trellis Netting.
Here they come! They just started blooming this week.
Do you have a special memory attached to sweet peas?
Also new to Dandelion House this season is a cool snapdragon called Cool Orange.
I ordered plugs in March through a floralpraneur friend of mine in Vermont. Bailey Hale and his partner, Thomas are the owners of Ardelia Farm and Co.Farmer Bailey Plugs is a branch of their farm businesses which serves the Flower Farmer/Florist industry.
Plugs are great for getting a head start on your growing season especially if you aren’t set up for seed starting or have shorter growing cycles like we do here in New England. I planted my plugs in mid-April. Snapdragons like a cool start and are pretty hardy to the unpredictable colder temps of early spring. If frost is a potential danger you can always cover with plastic for protection.
Wedding Season June-December
Wedding season consists of many months of consulting with couples, writing emails and proposals, meetings and finally executing the floral vision come the big day! Much of wedding season overlaps with growing season which makes it all the more fun to have fresh flowers to design with. My first wedding of the season was June 9th and it couldn’t have been more lovely. It was held at a historic farm located on a bird sanctuary on Cape Cod so it was all about creating designs that would compliment the couples style and natural beauty of the venue. Here’s a peek at the bride, beautiful Briana. I snapped this quick after presenting her with her bouquet just before everyone was kicked out of the barn for first look and wedding photos. It’s always an emotional moment for the bride and me!
I couldn’t do this work without my sweet hubby. He’s there for all the heavy lifting, packing the car and helping with installations. And our daughter stepped in to help with centerpieces on this one too! The brides family provided a beautiful selection of the grandmothers milk glass collection for all the centerpieces which added such a wonderful personal touch to their wedding. Swoon…
Here’s the Dandelion House Cutting Garden List for 2018 I promised you.
Click the link below to download.
I’d love to hear how your summer is going! What are you growing? Where are you going for fun? Any weddings in your future? What are you celebrating?
Until our next shoreline visit~ Put Down Some Roots and BLOOM!
Beach Blessings and Much Love,
The Beach ( and Flower ) Farmgirl
PS. Join me next month for some fun Cottage Updates!