April Flowers: Planting and Styling

ranunculus, snaps, redbud, staticeHello, spring! Dogwoods are blooming, peonies are budding, and I can finally tell which lavenders survived (or not!) the long hard winter. The danger of frost presumably is past so it's a busy time at the farm, transplanting and sowing. 

Last week's flower class, the first of its kind and an experiment of sorts, was quite successful with participants from as far away as Rock Hill, South Carolina and Charlotte, NC.  It was a fun time creating personalized arrangements using entirely local flowers, stems, and woodies.    

Spring Open Farm Day 2014 (formerly called Lavender Day) is Saturday, June 7, 10 to 4 pm. This event is free and open to the public. One never knows what the weather has in store between now and then, but I'm hoping for ideal growing conditions and many blooms by then. Hope to see you!

Marching into Springtime

the birth flower of MarchHappy first day of March! Maybe you noticed it's been awhile since I wrote - just needed a break from blogging, that's all. Winter has been busy, but we've also had some fun family time thrown in. We spent part of December in France where I searched high and low for lavender finds and explored farms and farmers markets whenever possible. January and February were cold, wet, and snowy. I'm happy there's just twenty days til Spring. Seems it's been a long time coming. You ready? I'm ready for a repeat happy yellow bouquet like this one from last year.  

The farm's wildlife must know that spring is near. Our bottomland has been flooded for most of winter, and it's given way recently to all manner of aquatic life including ducks and especially frogs! Oh wow, what a chorus which can be heard clear as a whistle all the way to the barnyard! It's been said that the presence of frogs and amphibians is a measure of the health of a wetland in which case we evidently have a very happy wetlands, marsh, and stream.  

Each growing season I continue to experiment with different varieties of lavender. The test plant for 2014 is Lavandula dentata with plants going in the ground early to mid-April. Heads up - annual Herb Festival at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market is April 26-27, always a good time to get your herbs or just visit. And something new this year, I'll be vendoring at the NC Extension Master Gardener Conference May 5-7 in Winston-Salem. Spring has (almost) sprung! 

  

 

November: Planting Time and a Recap of Fall Open Farm Day

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Hello, November! This has been the busiest fall I can remember with much going on at the farm in preparation for winter and next year. New lavenders have been planted and established lavenders have been pruned. In other areas, the soil has been worked and poppies are planted. And, something new for 2014: peonies. Fifty of those planted with names like 'a la mode,' 'bridal icing,' and 'abalone pearl,' to name just three. Did you know that peonies are capable of producing blooms for over 50 years? I hope my unborn grandchildren like them. Smile. 

Over the weekend, our annual Fall Open Farm Day was a big success. We appreciate all who came out to enjoy the farm. It was a stellar weather day with picture-perfect Carolina blue skies. Some of you asked about the tart lavender cider that we served, and I have to confess there's not really a recipe for that. But here's how I made it: To 4 parts pasteurized apple cider add 1 part lavender lemonade. Adjust flavor, adding a splash of fresh lemon juice, if desired, for added tartness. Serve hot. 

Here's a recipe for lavender lemonade that I published in a previous post:

Wishing all a Happy Thanksgiving!