I’m reflecting back on the 2014 growing year now that I have the time to get back to my computer and review my notes and growing calendars. As I write, it’s already snowing here in Vermont.
As many of you may remember, last winter was cold, and led into a cool Spring. My farm was about two weeks behind normal, which was difficult for Mother’s Day sales. I ran out of flowers at farmers market. In a normal season, I have buckets and buckets of tulips and never sell them all. This year our field tulips didn’t come on until May 23. We did have stock anemones and a few hundred cold frame tulips and daffodils.
New to us this year were Manly daffodils which are double, fragrant, and huge. Everyone loved them. Also new to the farm were Leucojum ‘Gravely Giant,’ a tall snowdrop. Customers enjoyed this delicate bloom you don’t see often in traditional bouquets.
At the end of May we enjoyed a superb ranunculus crop, though we only had two weeks of picking due a suddenly fast-rising temperature. Customers love them and I am one of the only crazy farmers who bothers to grow them in this hostile climate. I love the challenge and seeing customers’ faces light up with surprise when I tell them I grew these exotic-looking blooms locally.
Lilac season is always too short: we get about two weeks where I am flush with beautiful French lilac and a variety called Declaration which has huge, deep-purple blooms. Declaration is less fragrant than French Lilac so I like to mix the blooms for the best of both worlds.
Allium, lilac, and iris all seem to bloom at the same time, creating an abundance of purple all at once. Last fall we divided our allium patch and had ton this season. I love allium. They are so bold, a cluster of purple stars on a stick. Like a magic wand.
Papaver nudicaule came on a little earlier than in previous years as I experimented with a larger plug size. They are always a stunning addition to our market booth. They are very en vogue for wedding bouquets too.
May is our heaviest transplanting month. I put thousands of baby plants in the ground, as well as around 1,000 dahlia tubers. It’s a push to get it all done but because of the longer daylight we crank it out! Cool temps are good for transplanting as long as there is no fear of a freeze. They quickly get used to the harsh reality in the field; they either do or die. We have very minimal transplant loss because we harden off our transplants.
May is one of my favorite months: it’s Christmas for gardeners because everything comes alive…every day is filled with new blooms. When one lives in constant observation of nature every day brings a magical moment. Spring is our gift for getting through the harsh winter.