I write this at the tail end of a three-hour flower harvest – one of 3 such harvests per week that these ceaseless blooms require. I knew when I started transplanting my seedlings in May that I was in for a doozy of a flower season. It must have been a very dreamy winter and those seed catalogues must have been extra glossy. Now to be honest, a 3-hour harvest wouldn’t be much on a flower farm, but I’m a vegetable farmer with a bit of a side habit that I may or may not be ready to admit to. But there is something about swimming in blooms all morning that is just intoxicating. It makes me feel like I’m getting away with something while everyone else on the farm is picking lettuce and kale.
This year is the first that my annuals have spilled over into the vegetable field. Generally I’ve kept my garden in the front yard. But last year, upon noticing the incredible array of butterflies, bees, (bumble and otherwise), and hummingbirds in the front, we decided to bring the show to the back fields as well to benefit the vegetables.
The amount of insects I rudely awake each morning out cutting makes me worry about my karma. Have you ever woken a bee? It’s like dragging a teenager out of bed before noon. I actually have to pick it up from the center of the zinnia and move it, still mostly asleep, to another bud. It makes me grin ear to ear every time, and think of my dad calling up the stairs for the 14th time on school mornings.
This is also the first year that I’ve had a significant amount of perennial flowers growing and, like the perennial fruit and vegetables I’ve written about, they are a joy to watch sprout in the Spring with very little help from us. It’s such a delightful labor-saver, and makes me consider how intelligent plants are when left to their own devices. As often as not, we farmers make the annual seedlings raised in the greenhouse adhere to our schedule instead of their own. They might be ready to go in the ground, but we’re behind on bed preparation so they get root bound in their trays. Or the conditions are too dry or too wet, but our planting schedule says it’s time, so into the ground they go. Watching perennials decide when the temperature, moisture, & daylight is right, and how vigorous and healthy they are as a result, is quite humbling.
Suffice it to say, I have a real abundance of blooms these days and the market bouquets are bigger and brighter than ever. Cheer yourself up all week with one on the kitchen table! And should you have any need for arrangements for an event this summer or fall, be in touch. I’d be happy to do the design for you, or simply provide buckets of beauty for you to play with.