Posts tagged flower farming
Growing Pineapple Lilies (Eucomis) in the Garden and for Floral Design

Pineapple lilies sound like some sort of bizarre made-up flower until you see them in person.

But once you see them, you’ll never forget them. Big, strappy, tropical foliage in a large rosette with large flower stalks erupting from the center that beg for you to look at them. They look unreal - as if they were some sort of alien species that had invaded earth.

Best of all? They are actually pretty hardy plants. With good drainage and either mild winters or excellent insulation (through either mulch or snow cover) they will come back year after year, bigger and better and with more stems and flowers.

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How to Root Cuttings

One of the fastest and frankly, easiest ways to expand your garden is to start plants from cuttings.

Most of us are familiar with starting plants from seeds as well as dividing plants. Plants such as swiss chard and sunflowers grow easily and quickly from seed, while plants such as irises and daylilies can be divided in the fall and spring to create new divisions of plants.

But there are some plants, such as mint or oregano or ivy that don’t really grow from seed and can’t really be divided into new plants. How exactly can you propagate them?

The answer is with rooting cuttings from your plants.

Not all plants root easily from cuttings, but there are a few common plants that are incredibly easy to root, including:

  • Catmint (Nepeta)

  • Sedum (Sedum/Hypotelephium)

  • Mint (Mentha)

  • Rosemary (Rosemarinus)

  • Sage (Salvia)

  • Wormwood/Sage (Artemisia)

  • Pachysandra

  • Vinca

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Flower Farming: 8 Easy Perennials to Take Cuttings From (And Grow On for Next Year)

As the season winds down, we’re getting ready for next year.

The funny thing about flower farming is that good flowers can be planted the same season - but great flowers need to be planned out 6-12 months ahead of time.

One of the things we are doing this year is expanding our perennial offerings for florists and wedding design, so we are in the midst of propagating a lot of hardy perennials for production next year.

It might be easier to just buy in plugs, but of course as you know flower farmers aren’t necessarily the most logical people. I actually prefer to propagate our perennials myself because I get a thrill out of seeds starting and cuttings rooting, and it’s cool to be able to say that I propagated hundreds of plants from one original “mother” plant.

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Reducing Plastic Use On Your Flower Farm

As we try to be more conscious stewards of the earth and of our land, we are trying to reduce our carbon footprint by limiting our use of plastic whenever possible.

As flower farmers don’t think we’re quite at the place where we can eliminate plastic entirely - there are some items that just don’t have a good alternative or replacement yet (such as drip line). And so much of what we do involves plastic. Whether it’s irrigation, season extension with tunnels and greenhouses, packaging, seed starting, and so much more, there’s a lot of plastic in our livelihood.

We cannot escape plastic. However, there is a lot that we can do to eliminate the majority of our plastic waste on our flower farm. Here are a couple things that we have done that may inspire you:

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How to Grow Cafe au Lait Dahlias

Inevitably every gardener is going to try growing dahlias at some point in their career. Whether it’s for showing in the local Dahlia society exhibition, cutting for arrangements or enjoying in the garden, dahlias are invaluable for their vigor and of course their amazing flowers.

And if you’re growing dahlias, no doubt you’ll be interested in growing the famous (or infamous depending on your personal opinion!) Cafe au Lait dahlia.

The one dahlia that everyone seems to love - retail customers, floral designers, gardeners, dahlia enthusiasts and casual observers all agree that its a spectacular dahlia. In fact, the only people that seem to dislike Cafe au Lait dahlias are flower farmers for a few very specific reasons - but we’ll get into that later on.

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How to Grow Castor Bean (Ricinus) in the Garden and for Floral Design

Castor Beans are as beautiful as they are deadly

Ricinus communis is a popular plant for British borders and home gardeners over the world. Although four to eight seeds can kill an adult human, there’s a lot to love about this plant.

First and foremost is the fact that they are one of the most coveted and favorite materials for our local florists. Seriously, we sell out of every single stem that we can offer (minus the ones we keep for ourselves of course!) and we can never grow enough.

Secondly, castor beans offer a look and presence in our personal garden that is unrivaled by any other plant. It’s broad leaves offer an exotic and striking look that you can’t really get with most other plants - and the fact that it also has the potential to be so dangerous just adds to its appeal and mystique.

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Planting Fall Perennials for Next Year's Blooms

You see, there are a lot of flowering plants that not only can survive the cold weather, but in fact love it. Peonies for example, need a very cold and wet winter in order to grow big and lush blooms (which can be a problem in our growing zone that tends to be warm and dry during the winter)

Yes, right now is the perfect time to plant these lesser-known flowers. Some, such as delphinium only actually will germinate in cool weather, preferring to sprout during periods of freezes and thaws since the swings in temperature helps to trigger sprouting.

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So You Want to Become a Flower Farmer?

So, you’ve decided that you want to become a flower farmer?

Congratulations! Being a flower farmer is honestly one of the most impactful and wonderful things I ever decided upon in my life.

We had always been avid gardeners and Steven had a background in floral design, but it wasn’t until back in 2013 we realized that there was actually a way to grow enough flowers to supply enough to sell at farmer’s markets and design for weddings.

I’ve learned so much and experienced so much since then that it almost seems like I’ve been flower farming for a lifetime.

It’s not all armloads of dahlias and picking flowers with the sunset behind you though. There’s a lot of downsides and a lot of hard work that flower farming entails - all of the stuff that you can’t see on an Instagram post or from a grand wedding or large arrangement.

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How to Grow Broomcorn in the Garden (and for Floral Design)

Broomcorn is one of our favorite floral materials to grow in the garden and in arrangements, especially in the fall and is also one of our annual favorite grasses to grow!

Broomcorn is not actually a corn but is an ornamental sorghum - distantly related to sugarcane and big bluestem grass interestingly enough.

It usually grows as a single corn-like stalk, soaring upwards above our heads and growing quickly into a towering stalk of strappy foliage and bamboo-like stems, creating a jungle-like effect in the garden.

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