Spring has come fast and furious with bulbs blooming earlier than last year. Daffodils started just in time for Easter and a tiny few left. Then came the Hyacinths with their glorious smells! And now the Tulips have surprised me with our quick little heat wave but it has cooled back down and I am hoping there will still be some left for Mother’s day! It’s always hard to predict spring because that one is up to Mother Nature. All you can do is plant your bulbs and know they will bloom when it is time.
So living here in Central Oregon as we know our spring has all seasons in one day and if you wait 5 minutes the weather will change! That said it makes it hard to plant things in the spring because they might frost, freeze or even get hailed on. Ranunculus are delicate to the cold so you cannot plant them in the fall like other growing areas. You have to start by pre soaking and then sprouting them in late winter in a dark cool place that stays between 40-50 degrees and making sure they are not molding.
This was a little worrisome for my first time trying to get them just right. But it worked! Here are some images of what they looked like before during and after.
. Now they are tucked away in my raised garden beds with hoop houses and starting to grow and survive spring frosts at night and enjoy the extra warm from a hoop house during the day. They should be ready come June and I am so excited to see them and share their beauty.
We were gone for a week and it was so fun to come home to these bulbs that have sprung up! Before I left the bulbs in the greenhouse had just barely started to poke up out of the ground and then to come home and see how much they had grown in a week gave me spring fever! There are Paper Whites, Purple Hyacinths and Grape Hyacinth bulbs that I pre-chilled and then planted in pots late January.
Last fall I also planted Tulips and Daffodils in these planters so they could winter over in the greenhouse. Once I saw how tall the bulbs in the greenhouse were I had to go and check the bulbs in the yard that I also planted last fall and sure enough there are tiny little sprouts pushing the dirt up! It’s so exciting to see the birth of the flower season begin. Now I know winter is still here in the high desert and we get lots of spring snow but natures giving us a little bit of hope and inspiration to let us know Spring is on its way and so are the beautiful blooms of color!
Give the gift that keeps on giving for Valentine’s Day this year!
What is that you ask? Well it is a flower subscription of course! Why does this gift keep on giving? Well for one you are signing up for 6 weeks of weekly bouquets so that is 6 weeks of blooms. Two you are helping to support a local female farmer here in Bend which will also help keep your money in our local community. Three the bees will have a safe place to come and gather nectar because we are pesticide free. Four you will become part of the slow flower movement which helps the environment by creating a greener footprint than the flowers you buy at grocery stores which are shipped from all over.
The first bouquet will come with a glass vase that you can continue to use for weekly bouquets. Each week following will be filled with a colorfully arranged bouquet based on what is currently in bloom. This will last for 6 weeks beginning late April or sometime in May, start date will depend on the season and weather. Once the season gets closer start dates and pick up locations will be e-mailed to those who have signed up and paid for their subscription.
There will only be 10 of these subscriptions sold so please contact me if you are interested so we can get your gift ordered! $200 ea.
To place an order please contact me through an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ranunculus is all I need to say, these flowers are so amazing and I have fallen in love with them and their unique beauty. I am so excited to be able to grow these flowers for the first time this coming spring in 2021! These flowers have captured my heart’s desire to grow as many as I possibly can! They are so fascinating to learn about how to grow and I can hardly wait to harvest and share their amazing beauty. They are like a mix between a peonies and a rose and will easily steal the show with their colors and soft petals. Unlike the rose and peonies they do not take years to get established and can be grown annually. What is even more interesting is that these fabulous gals are from the buttercup family!
Slow Flowers is a movement promoting the support and purchase of U.S. grown flowers. Similar to the slow food movement — aimed at preserving local. Slow Flowers encourages consumers to support their local economy and consciously purchase cut flowers grown locally, seasonally and ethically in the United States, instead of purchasing flowers imported from other countries or flowers grown using chemicals and pesticides.
Debra Prinzing authored a book titled Slow Flowers, in which the term “slow flowers movement” was coined, and the movement has since spread internationally. She also has a podcast that I have listened to that is quite interesting to listen to and learn about. Here is a link to more information from the slow flower society https://www.slowflowerssociety.com/programs
Why slow flowers?
There are several reasons for choosing to purchase slow flowers. One reason is you are helping to support a local business stay in Business. Two it will also keep the money in your community. Three it creates less pollution from transporting. Four it is sustainable for the bees because the flowers are pesticide free. Five the flowers are fresher there for lasting longer in the vase.
Up until this year when I planted plants throughout my yard I thought about spacing of plants in a different way, more aesthetically. What looked the best for my eyes and the layout of my yard after all landscaping is a form of Art with a blank canvas.
However this year as I decided to change my career direction and take up flower farming I realized there is a very different approach to how you plant and space things. Flower farming is much like any kind of farming; the goal is to be able to create the biggest yield with the least amount of space.
This fall as I was getting ready to order all my bulbs for the spring harvest I learned a really valuable technique that I was taught by Erin from Floret Farms and their mini fall course series. www.floretfarm.com I am excited to share this neat little trick and the photos that I took during the planting and preparing for spring.
What is this trick? Well what I learned is you dig a trench to plant your bulbs in. Yes that is right no bulb planter tool just a good old shovel. After you dig your trench the correct depth, depending on what bulbs you are planting, you lay the bulbs next to each other like you would eggs in a carton and that’s it! All you have to do is water them, cover them and label them and you’re done and ready for the spring! I am amazed by the idea of growing with a trench and can not wait to see all these guys and the bounty of blooms they will produce!
What I learned my first year of growing Dahlias
So the last time I posted about Dahlias was in late June with a late planting of Dahlias. It had been a last minute thing to buy Dahlias this year because it was late spring when I realized and decided to change my career path and become a Flower Farmer. So I took some money that I had made from a plant sale and began reinvesting it into product. The reason I chose to invest in Dahlias was for a number of reasons.
One you must dig them up at the end of each season, so it did not matter that I don’t have acreage and land for my farm yet I could grow them in my yard and take them anywhere in the future.
Two they multiply! The tubers that you dig up in the fall have grown and created many more tubers that you can then divide into more Dahlias to plant in the spring!
Three, well they are just amazing as a flower and will steal your heart. These flowers and all their color and different varieties will stop and turn heads anywhere. Hands down these are the queens in the flower world.
So what did I learn this first season? Well I got very lucky this fall we had a very long season and it did not even frost until right before Halloween. Because of that my late planting was off set and I was able to get a few blooms from my plants this year.
Even more exciting and nerve racking was the digging up and dividing of the tubers. It was exciting to see what they had turned into from just one tuber. A bit scary to divide and hope I was doing it right and not ruining the tubers. I guess I will find out next spring when I un-wrap them from their winter slumber. After one very short growing season Dahlias are already beginning to steal my heart. I have already placed another order for the spring planting. Between the new order and the Tubers I was able to dived this year I am excited to say I will have a pretty BIG and Beautiful crop to harvest and share in 2021.
Last week we went camping for Father’s Day over on the Umpqua River. It was so nice to just get out of town, our house (this is during the covid pandemic) and out in nature. We camped right along the river and got to listen to the sound of it nonstop for 3 days, it was truly rejuvenating! We spent our days hiking, biking and fishing. However from the moment we pulled in and started walking around and checking out camp all I could see was potential for bouquet making all around me! Especially since I knew once I got home I had a Bouquet to make but my spring flowers were running out and my summer flowers had not quite taken off yet. My eyes zoned in on the colors and textures and shapes of all these wildflowers and greenery all around me. So on the last day I had to gather. I made sure to trim the extra leaves off so that the flowers would not waste energy trying to hydrate leaves but just the flower. I used a soaked coffee filter to wrap up the flowers and then put them inside a plastic bag with water which then went inside of a container and in a small box for the car ride home in the shade. I was not sure if they would hold up especially since we were stopping at Crater Lake for a picnic on the way home. However they lasted and the next morning I was able to make a bouquet and deliver the order.
This bouquet is mainly made from all the wildflowers. I do not know the names of all of the wildflowers but the ones I do know are purple bee balm, fern, daisy, some kind of white sprig that makes me think of dill and a delicate white spike?cone shaped flower. The flowers that I added from our yard are the green money plant seeds, red yarrow and the Dahlia.
Dahlia’s are known as one of the gifts of the gods, or the Queens of the crop, in the flower cutting world because they make such stunning bouquets. This is my first year getting into cut flower farming so this is the first year I have invested in “tubers”. Up until now I have just been a hobby home gardener and landscaper. So you seek out perennials that come back year after year without needing to be dug up and stored for the winter like you do a Dahlia.
This year I decided to launch into the world of cut flowers and begin farming them. Dahlia’s are a necessary product for cut flower farming because they have such great yields as far as blooms, you can keep dividing them into more plants and are easy to grow. However in the past I have tried to grow a few Dahlias just for fun and never managed to get them to sprout. I now know why after reading and learning about these beauties. They are a tiny bit counter intuitive to a gardener; if you plant something you water it right? Well not with Dahlia’s because that will increase your chance of getting rot in the tuber and the last thing you want is for them to rot and mold. Which I think is exactly why I was never able to sprout a Dahlia in the past, I watered them and then the tubers just rotted beneath the surface unknown to me at the time.
However this year because I actually took the time to invest and order specific Dahlia’s grown for cutting flowers I have learned a lot about these Beauties cause I really want to have a successful yield. I can’t wait to make some bouquets. Plus multiply my initial investment in these plants by being able to divide them once I dig them up in the fall is another reason for great care. I have been holding off on planting and waiting for our late spring rains to stop and the ground to be up to temp. so that chances increase for having a successful crop. I have found the sunniest location in our yard that will help the eyes on the tubers want to find their way to the surface and reach for the sun. Then I can start watering them and know that I will not cause rot in the tuber. I am worried we are getting a bit of a late start since it is mid June however we live in a high dessert and so the temps are very unpredictable and you could get a late frost in spring. I was not willing to take that gamble with my new crop so I decided to wait and plant them now in hopes that I will get a crop before the fall frost.
Today was the big day, got out the tubers I ordered from Swan Island https://www.dahlias.com/ a local Oregon company who is known for their acres and acres of Dahlia’s and festivals in the fall. I made sure to get my soil ready and loosened up with the hoe. Then took the time to pre-place and space them out based on a mixing of color and so I knew they would all fit and have enough space in between each other. I chose to do 2 rows off setting each other to help create more room between each other. They have been planted and put to sleep. My fingers are crossed that they will begin to sprout within the next week because our late spring early summer heat is here!