I love that in Maryland we get to experience 4 seasons and all they bring to the table. I don't like to play favorites but this year spring is kind of rocking my world! Between the lilacs and the peonies, and all the other lovelies out there that I am excited about growing in 2018 (ranunculus! anemones! all the poppies!) every week seems to bring with it a new flavor, color, and don't even get me started about the AMAZING smells!! A neighbor told me he could smell our lilacs at his end of our long block. My head is spinning!
One of my dearest friends, Junia, married a great guy, Colin, this past August at Bluemont Vineyards in VA. She asked me to be a bridesmaid, along with our other high school besties + Junia's best friend and college roommate, Allison - A very fun bunch to say the least.
Junia asked her friend Beth Ruoff to do the wedding flowers and she asked me if I would have anything blooming in late August. J and Colin had a short engagement, and the night we first discussed flowers I went home and sowed a fresh batch of zinnias in their color scheme. They started blooming in perfect time, and we also had amaranthus, the awesomest green lisianthus, cosmos, wild foliage, some early dahlias and anything else we could find. We also made, at Junia's request (nothing thrilled me more!!!), an attempt to use mainly local flowers to make the bouquets, centerpieces, bouts, etc.
Friday before the wedding, I took the day off from my city job and visited flower friends (Cut Flowers by Clear Ridge, Lynnvale Studios and Don's Dahlias) to supplement what I had (we also ended up getting a little from the wholesaler). It made me understand how hard it is to source locally. I so appreciate the florists who make this extra effort to support local farmers!!! That night, the rehearsal dinner was held at Colin's parents home in Virginia, and his dad showed me around their lovely gardens and let me cut some goodies to add to J's bouquet - Specifically, sedum which I can totally spot in the pictures of her bouquet -- So fun!!!
Beth and I got started early Saturday morning harvesting tons from my garden and processing / making samples. Junia had asked some friends and family to come out to the farm to help us prepare and it was very much a team effort, I don't know how we could have done it without everyone's help (or the giant center island in our kitchen - I don't have a cooler yet and it was in the 90's that weekend!)
Making wedding flowers is intense! I had no clue going into it what it takes to harvest, pick-up, assemble, transport, install and take down (and I did not do all of this, by any stretch!!). Add to that the part about me actually standing next to my friends on their most special day, and...wow.
Beth and I kind of divided and conquered - I made bouquets and facilitated flowers / foraging, processing, shuffling, etc while Beth worked on the centerpieces. No two were the same (intentionally) but the colors of course complemented each other and the finished products were nothing less than stunningly beautiful. Walking into the barn after the hustle to get ready literally took my breath away. Beth knocked it out of the park in terms of transforming the space into exactly what Junia envisioned. It was so fun to work with her on this!
What a fun learning experience this was, and what an honor it was to be asked to help with such an important part of such an important day, what an honor to stand next to my friend as she said her vows.
Congratulations, Dr. and Mrs. McCormick!! XOXO, Morgan
We've been here for 2 years, today! So thankful for the beauty surrounding us, the challenges and lessons we learn / face every day, the time together, and the ways we are growing.
We (and by we, I mean Merle and Dusty) have worked up half of the new field as part of our expansion. Merle plowed (twice) and then picked rocks (must add photo of the rock pile...) and then Dusty tilled, worked two 18 wheelers worth of mushroom compost into the field, and then tilled again. Now we will begin covering with fabric, sowing seeds for spring blooms and prepping rows for early spring plantings. SO EXCITING!!!
What's happening here, you ask?
- Our tenant is moving out and I will be moving into the cottage (!!!) in October (!!!)
- Mom is having ablation surgery on 9/21 (prayers appreciated!) we are hoping that this is a long term solution to her A-Fib issues
- Pumpkins are growing in all different shapes, sizes and colors...
- Dahlias are really getting started (AND ITS SO FUN!!!)
- The Ravens are 1 - 0!!!
- We are getting a couple more sheep (tomorrow) and are excited to watch the transition (and this means LAMBS!!!)
- Contemplating a puppy, or, breeding Belle (PUPPIES!!!)
- First frost is just around the corner...
So many exclamation points so little time...
Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out of FLOWERS page for pixx of what we grow and sell!
Somehow summer flew by in the blink of an eye. It happens.
It's hard to keep up with it all. Working full time. Farming full time. There isn't always time to document the day to day but all of a sudden the month to month escapes and now it is season to season...
Thank you for your support of locally grown flowers!
Spring (is that what the kids are calling it these days?) has been a blur. Hot, cold, sunny, rainy. Nothing makes any sense this year, weather-wise...
So many babies to discuss! Mom hatched 12 ducklings in an incubator the kitchen...
Our barn cat had (another) litter of sweet kittens which we catnapped. One of our friends adopted one of the three and we are rehabbing the others and will look for a new home for them soon (I could so become a crazy cat lady, or, maybe I already am one...)
We built a greenhouse on a very steep learning curve. It is now done and we are enjoying having so much more SPACE to grow and make messes.
And then there is the garden! We overwintered a bunch of flowers successfully -- Yarrow (Achillea) which are budding up...
We also had success with Rudbeckia and foxglove, not so much with the strawflower (hardy to zone 8 -- we are in 7! duh.)
Then, we tried direct sowing larkspur. On 2.28, I sowed about 2000 + seeds that had been stored in the freezer since the fall. I had read all about these lovelies...Larkspur don't transplant well because they have long tap roots, and I typically grow all my plants from seed in soil blocks and then transplant. So I was very "generous", (nervous) if you will, with my sowing. We watered and the weather was wacky and the next thing I knew, there were 20+ plants growing in each hole. Insert panic emoji here. 100% germination. It turns out thinning is just about the most painful exercise in the garden. My fave flower farming consultant Dave Dowling recommended thinning with scissors so as not to damage those long taproots. 10+ hours later, there are 2 - 3 plants growing strong in each spot and I am holding my breath for a profusion of blooms. Lesson learned.
We have given away a lot of this lovely seed over the past 6 months...Each black seed has a little white heart on it - that is where the plant sprouts at germination. I promised to put the sowing instructions up on the blog...Enjoy!
Love in a Puff (Cardiospermum) can be sown in place (1/2" - 1" deep - seeds need darkness to germinate) after the soil has warmed (after all danger of frost has passed) or indoors 3 – 4 weeks before last frost, and transplanted into the ground or a large pot. Plants are tendril-climbers and will need support (fence or wire/twine). They can grow up to 12 – 16 feet high and add whimsy and verticality to the garden. Plants do best in full sun, with rich soil. Water frequently. Enjoy!
And finally...We were quoted in the newspaper!
I so wish I had a lamb pic to share! Instead...The winter garden (3.1.16)
February was a total blur and even with the extra #LEAPDAY I couldn't get my act together to post an update here!
We spent the last weekend in February cleaning up the garden and direct sowing Larkspur; checking on our fall sown flowers (Yarrow looks amazing, as does the Rudbeckia...Foxgloves not so much!). The most exciting things happening around here right now are that the Peonies we planted just a few short months ago are totally popping up - It is so exciting - And we are putting in a 500SF greenhouse over the next few weeks! I have to pinch myself to believe it.
Spring is literally around the corner, you can feel it when you step outside! So excited to have blooms again, to be outside in the dirt again, to build on last year, to continue to learn.
Thanks for following along!!
Around here...I am constantly wondering where the time goes...
Around here...We are watching 2.5 feet of snow from the blizzard of 2016 melt, slowly...
Around here...We are saying goodbye and hope to see you again soon... (edited: Dino has gone back to the breeder for a little remedial "how to play nice with others" action. He was overly aggressive towards Belle, the sheep and chickens and we are not sure how this will all play out but we are grateful to Ginger, his breeder, for agreeing to work with him.)
Around here...I have started some seeds!
Around here...There are some new residents in the barn (Queue the #whatsquackin // aflac jokes)... Photos to follow!
Around here...Can't get enough of the wood stove...
Around here...We are finalizing plans for a greenhouse and getting super excited for the coming season!!
Thanks for following along...And hope to see you in February!
This has been a crazy mild fall. We have been so lucky to be able to plant every weekend in November -- and mom and I got 40 peonies in today (December 6). While we've had some hard frosts, the ground is no where near frozen and thank goodness, there is still a lot to do!! I thought I would have a 3-ish month break but it looks like I will be planning for 2016 in January, building a greenhouse in February and starting plants in March...Not clear when my break is scheduled for?
Some pixx of the latest and greatest around here...
We are looking very much forward to all that is in store for us personally and on the farm in 2016. Thanks for reading and checking in! Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year!