We heft bucket after bucket, crate after crate, armload after armload of flowers, repetitively cycling through the winners and sifting out the losers. Vase life, proper harvest stage, post-harvest, customer satisfaction, price points, environmental factors, fertilization, disease control. Flowers run my world; sometimes they treat me like I'm the only thing in this whole wide infinite universe; other times they make me feel like an infinitesimal nothing. Farming is not a profession to boost the ego so I've heard.
This past winter keeps dealing blows as we are still discovering more cold damage. Even our hoophouse ranunculus have some cold damage. During one of the early arctic blasts when our greenhouse heater went out when at 8 o'clock at night we discovered the house was already at 28F, the only remay we could grab (that wasnt frozen solid) to cover things in the greenhouse was the remay in the hoophouse that was covering the ranunculus and a few other things.
However, to look ahead, to find the silver lining, we received a grant from RAFI (Rural Advancement Foundation International) from their Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund program for winter cut flower production. We are going to put up a minimally heated greenhouse for in-ground production so we can have sustained flowers year-round with a particular focus on November, December, January, and February, the 4 months that tend to be the hardest for flower production. A HUGE THANK YOU to RAFI and all the local farmers who helped out on their review board during the selection process. We are so proud to be a grant recipient and hopefully we can disseminate some good info on winter cut flower production to help out other growers make some income during the rough months.
Dear plant breeders,
A very small grower would like to put in a modest request for more poppy colors (papaver nudicaule please) in the above range, and, if possible, with single color ordering. They set my heart a flutter when such colors pop up as oddities in my stand and I'm forced to take pictures of them over and over again in a futile attempt to capture their overwhelming beauty. Not to mention what the brides would do for these. If we could get the stem height and strength of the 'temptress' series in these pastels, with 90% germination, that would be over-the-top. I will speak for other growers and go ahead and say even 60% germination would work. I've even come up with the perfect names for them because we all know, despite the great bard's famous maxim, flower names are part of their seduction, especially for the growers. Who wants to order a gorgeous dahlia named "Blah Blah Blah" from Swan Island? Not me. So the names, from left to right....tutu-a-loo, spring buttermilk, panna cotta orange, and barely there pink. I know, I know, I've tried 'Meadow Pastels' and perhaps it needs a revisit. Next season.
If you are successful in this venture, just know that you will make the world a better, more beautiful place.
Bluebird Meadows, NC
Dealing with snowstorm #1818 this winter. It's a strange feeling to despise snow, to feel pain as you watch it fall, anxiety creeping in the whiter it gets, to see it's white beauty juxtaposed against the black grimace and scorn of my being. Fop off, snow! You're not wanted round here! We experienced temper tantrum #2543 from Ruth yesterday as yet another day passed this winter where outside was not an option. Our flowers are happy though. Maybe people will mistakingly perceive me through the veil of the flowers' joy and not realize I have a black soul.