Monday, September 29, 2014

The Cut Flower Garden Of My Dreams!

What a wild and crazy Summer it has been! Hot and humid as always in Oklahoma in midsummer, but cool enough this year that our first foray into commercial flower farming was made a great deal easier than it would have otherwise been. We had glorious flowers all summer long and were able to have enough to make a 90 mile run to the florists every other day and also had more than enough to take to Farmers Market on Saturdays- another 90 mile drive...needless to say we have put a lot of miles on our little car, and learned many remarkable ways to stuff every square inch of space in that car to the gills with gorgeous blooms. When the lilies, english sweet peas, and tuberose were in flower the fragrance in the car was so powerful that I would arrive at the florists half asphyxiated from the long drive. It has been a wonderful experience designing and arranging flowers and meeting so many incredible people, all with such unique stories and lives. I have found my niche, my passion, my lifelong dream and hope to have this love of flowers and enjoy the smiles that they bring for all the days of my life.

As to what my husband and I planted this year; I have to admit that my eyes were much to big for my trowel, and as a result was not quite ready to plant the thousands and thousands of flower seeds, flower plugs, and plants which I amassed over the Winter and Spring. Instead of dozens of varieties I ended up planting less than a dozen...but there were about 10,000 of those total. Despite this I had a lot of fun making arrangements with these varieties and enjoyed the sheer color impact that they had, with the vivid and bright hues with which to make bouquets which varied daily and were never the same.

What I planted:
Tulips: 1800 perfectly wonderful fragrant beauties, enough said. Plan on 3,000 next year.
Sunflowers: Had one great crop and harvested and sold all of them. Should have had 8 more crops but the voles and rabbits ate them all every time I planted. Ended up with three outside cats as an emergency measure to get rid of the vole invasion. I planted my last crop a month ago and it is now blooming in the greenhouse. Just beautiful.
Dahlias: More than 300 different varieties, one of my all time favorite flowers EVER! They are absolutely amazing! Even in the hot summer they just kept going, and now in the first part of Fall they are churning out dozens of flowers everyday.
Gladiolas: Love them.
Tuberose: Love them. One open bloom on soft evening can perfume the entire garden.
Lisianthus: Planted more than 3,500...the reason that I didn't get much else planted for the season! Love this flower. It takes 5-6 months to grow from seed and it one of the most beautiful of all flowers. Will do this one again and again, despite it's difficulty.
Liliies: Oriental fragrant beauties, always a classic and very fun to grow. My husband loved these.
Sweet Peas: English classic. My favorite flower. So fragrant and with so many frothy clouds of soft colors. It was paradise to walk into a warm sweetly scented greenhouse on a cold early spring day with rows of trellised sweet peas climbing their way to the ceiling, blooming their heads off!
Celosia: These ended up way taller than me! Loved the foliage for my bouquets as well as the brightly colored flowers.
Delphinium: Beautiful as always. An elegant classic.
Stock: They really should have named this gorgeous fragrant beauty a prettier name.
Scented Geraniums: Wonderful and fragrant foliage for bouquets.
Ageratum: Will grow again. Great foliage for bouquets and long lasting.
Zinnias: The powerhorse of all cut flowers. Beautiful vibrant colors that every one loves, particularly the florists. Loved this one and am already looking forward to next season.

Thoughts: I enjoyed this season so much that I am not willing to let it go...Jay and I are planning to heat and light the greenhouse all Winter so that we can grow most of these flowers all year. With the cool weather we believe that the flowers will be better than ever at this time of year. And with a Winter indoor farmers market to go to there will be a good venue to sell them as well. With this in mind, my entrepreneurial husband is designing a quite unique wood burning rocket stove to blow heat into the greenhouse. The goal is to keep the temp at nights at 40 degrees, hopefully 50...and light the GH for 4 extra hours each night.
Next year: We will be doubling the flowers, with dozens of varieties which we are planting now to winter over as cool annuals outside under row cover. And we will be taking on weddings next year. I have really enjoyed arranging flowers this year and will be training this Fall to specialize in wedding flowers next year. With 4 weddings already lined up we will be quite busy around here. I can't wait work with these lovely brides to assist in making wonderful memories which will last a lifetime.

Now for pictures:

More pictures coming...lots and lots to cut to the right size...and it's late. This is what happens when I procrastinate writing on the blog for several's like homework, it just piles up. I will catch up, I promise.