Journal for early July

Noni MorrisonJuly 1, 2005

I don't have much to say so you all get to say it. I have been kind of down and out with a cold...can't seem to stay awake long enough to do much. Just getting some flowers to my stand each day. Feeling a bit better each day too but the sleepiness keeps a strong grip.

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Summer colds are dreadful.

It was 76 degrees here today; and, I had to put a sweater on because apparently my body has become accustomed to the 95 degree weather we have had for the past couple of weeks.
We've had rain and sun, and rain and sun. Things are going like gangbusters.

We've got the Firecracker Bouquet designed by my son for market tomorrow. Red lilies (the ones with a touch of orange in the center), ammi, white Cleome, red (with a hint of orange and white) and white dahlias (I can't remember the names of these dahlias because I got the brain fever), Blue Cloud Larkspur, reddish terra cotta yarrow, and ageratum. I think that's it. OMG. They are smashing.

The dahlias in the field are starting to put on quite a show. This is early. We're also continuing to cut the dahlias in the hoophouse. This is the last week for the tall, tall snapdragons from the hoophouse.

The other day we planted the lankiest asters I believe I have ever seen. We gave them a lick and a promise. It's up to them now. I hope they make the adjustment. At least the heat and humidity won't be taking its toll on them for a bit.

Oh, and, the Malva is blooming away. We're using that this weekend as well. We didn't have it last year because the deer thought the section was their private salad bar.

The trucks are loaded for market tonight because it is getting down to 49 degrees (and back up to 79 tomorrow). This means we also get to sleep an hour longer. I wouldn't exactly call it sleeping in because that it is not. We have to get to market early because I get stressed about the setup. And, the market gets busy fairly early.

OK. I've got an appointment with the Sandman.............

    Bookmark   July 1, 2005 at 10:10PM
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KrazyKim(z5 MI)

Liza, sorry about your cold, hope you feel perky soon :)

Flowerfarmer, this weather is NUTS! Yesterday I'm sweating, wearing as little as legally possible for gardening and today I'm freezing my astible off!

The flowers here are growing so fast. I have glads in and don't know jack about them. The foliage is about 2 foot high already. My dahlias are making buds, the shastas are about to start and my navy blue sweetpeas vine is starting to bloom.

I made a "fourth" bouquet today, it looked nice. I'm not good at arranging but I used red gerberas, red and white yarrow, red snaps, lamb's ear, pieces of juncus spirales and only two little batchelor buttons (my first, from seed......big grin) stuck a flag in it and called it Yankee Doodle, lol.

Drink some soup and get some rest, both ya all. Good luck at the market.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2005 at 10:56PM
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Noni Morrison

OK, feeling a bit better. I have been out in the garden all day, mostly just puttering. I Did cut out two nasty roses I have been trying to get rid of and my hubby dug up the roots,,,we shall see waht happens next there. THese were some old fashioned roses that never did much of anything but grow 10' tall and when they did bloom it really wasn't worth it. MY other roses will be much happier with those two out of their faces. I have been picking slowely and steadily today and making up bouquets. My roses are still on break...too bad the daylilies wouldn't sell well! Anyone sell many kniphophias? I have 2 major clumps of a pretty one that is yellow and orange. I have sold a few by arranging them with cream colored verbascum, blue buddliea, jacob CLine red_____? and "cutting gold" coreopsis. Sometimes I add tall red snap dragons to that.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 6:53PM
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harleylady(PNW/USDA 8b/Sunset 6)

I believe that Jacob Cline would be Monarda. I have a number of different kniphophias but I don't like them as cut flowers if they're to be viewed up close as they are either not open enough or they look ratty because the lower parts finish before the tops are fully open.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 11:54PM
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Everything is so dry here, I have stopped planting even though I have 15 flats of sunflowers and many perennials to go in the ground. We've had one rain in 6 weeks, and with a well and using just a hose, there is a limit to how much can be watered. It takes over an hour just to water the greenhouse and pots outside each day, and the other hour or two that I spend holding the hose is used mostly for perennials such as blueberries, raspberries and my fruit trees.
Hopefully, the potted lilies that I did will pull me through this season as the first variety has mostly bloomed and sold, while the second is in mid-stream of blooming. I did have to cut a few pots and used them in bouquets. Not one bouquet sold at Friday's farmers market, but yesterday the seasonal people came and scooped them up from the stand. I worship tourists and seasonal people, or at least the fact that they have discretionary money, unlike most of the locals who work hard, but don't have much extra.
I've been harvesting feverfew which is always a big hit. If there is a bucket of it for me to use as filler, someone inevitably comes along and asks to buy "all of that." The best part is that it is all self-seeded stuff, and shows up in different areas on the east side of my home. Since the young plant is easy to identify, it never gets "weeded" out as it is a gift from Mother Nature (she owes a few after this dry weather).
Some things like Neon Duo, zinnias, statice, celosia, gomphrena and a couple of batches of sunflowers must have been transplanted at just the right time to put down extensive roots because they are growing well even without extra water.
But among my early veggies (I have mixed things to sell here--cut flowers, plants, veggies and a few fruits) the zucchini and cukes are just sitting there. The plants are good size and the fruits are pollinated, but without water they don't "blow up" and eventually rot. Trying to water them is like trying to fill a woodchuck hole with water, a hopeless task.
Without irrigation a couple of local growers have given up the idea of a successful year. Even the strawberries have not only been set back for lack of water, but the intense heat combined to make a short season with a lot of rot.
Farming is sure a gamble, and I think this year is a loser in my area. Hope the rest of you are doing better. Ann

    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 8:26AM
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Ann --I'm having the same type of year. Things that we planted really early seem to be doing well --other things I have been struggling with. We are still hauling water from town. 200 gallons everyday -- I water till its gone and then I go to another section the next day.

We did get a small shower last week 1/10" of an inch. Right now we are over 10" below normal on rainfall here in eastern Iowa. Most of the state is in great shape-- but we are not.

Like Susie -- I didn't water my lilies because they looked good and I was trying to get other things to survive! So they are much smaller than normal. Hopefully, the late water and good bulb fertilizer will put them in good shape for next year.

That being said -- the Amazon Neon dianthus is finally blooming and looks great! And I'm pleased with the summer pastels yarrow I started this year.

Yea --farming is a gamble --- I'd like to break even this year --but I think its going to be a bust! If I cover advertising expenses, I'll be lucky. Fortunately, the flowers are paid for from last years proceeds. Think I'll be in the hole next year --- a lot of extra retail hours at Christmas time. Maybe the fall will be better.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 12:40PM
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Sorry to hear of your dry conditions Annie. We were like
that here in central NJ about a week ago and then all of a
sudden we have gotten almost 3 inches in less than a week.
Now the garden is mud and we can't get the tractor out to
cultivate so pulling weeds by hand. The weeds are growing
like gangbusters. We have picked some cucumbers and zucchini this week. I have put together some bouquets for
our small retail stand - mostly lisianthus & blue ageratum.
Hopefully the rain will be coming your way in Pa.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 1:38PM
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Jeanne_in_Idaho(z5 N.Idaho)

Looking at my cover-cropped aisles, I can't believe I mowed them down to 5-6" two weeks ago. The rye and vetch (and various uninvited weeds) are are a least a foot, sometimes two feet tall now. I'll be mowing again tomorrow morning. Thank goodness for the mowing deck on the tractor. The D.R. brush mower could never handle that jungle (I know - I tried once).

We've been cool and rainy until today, so some of the sun-loving flowers are sulking. Still, the few Triumphator lilies still alive in the greenhouse (they turned out to be ultra-sensitive to aphids and/or sooty mold) are starting to bloom. The red Asi-florum Fangio lilies (thank you, flowerfarmer, for nailing their breeding for me) are done, but were more than enough to make lots of red-white-and-blue bouquets for market yesterday along with Oriental Blue delphs (they are a deep, true blue, with NO purple) and a number of different white things. It was cold at market so the lilies' fragrance wasn't there, but the bouquets sold out anyway. The pale orange lilies are done. Another red lily and a bright orange and Golden Tycoon (a WONDERFUL yellow) should be open by the next market day. Weather forecast finally doesn't include rain for several days. Cathy, I wish I could send you some of our water. The ground is still soaked, it rained yesterday (and the day before and the day before that, and on and on). And here I am with total irrigation I don't even need, or haven't needed recently. Figures, doesn't it? Don't you wish you could make a living off of yarrow, which requires no water at all? The stuff is perfectly happy in a toasty-hot, dry spot. I had a row I hadn't irrigated in years, and it performed about as well as it had before I stopped irrigating it.

I discovered that there IS such a thing as too many purple Campanula persicifolia. I ended up making two grower's bunches out of the excess that was left after I finished arranging the bouquets. However, there is no such thing as too many whites. I have to rip out half the purples and replant with white.

Gladiolus buds are just starting to show. Monkshood is starting to bloom like nuts. My field sunflower plants have decided to live and are starting to grow. Life is good.

My insecurity from not being able to sell much at market has vanished after I sold all but ONE bouquet yesterday, and all but three the previous week. The one I took home yesterday is pale orange lilies and some dark blue/purple monkshood with some dark blue-purple delphs and some apricot foxgloves. I actually like it - me, the hater of orange! You guys are having an effect on me. And I standardly mix orange and pink now, if I have appropriate flowers. Those ALWAYS sell. I'm still taking notes, if anybody (especially Lizalily, who I consider the colors guru) has any suggestions.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 8:25PM
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Noni Morrison

After a "normal" cool spring here I just learned that July is supposed to be hotter then normal. Rats...I was enjoying the coolness! IT should bring on some great dahlias though and hopefully get those zinnias and suns up and moving. Thankfully, I do have a good well.

Sales have been super this holiday weekend. THis is more like it! We operate on such a small scale but selling 11 yesterday feels real good! 4 gone while I was in church. Soon I will need to make up some more and take down. Beginning to wonder if we will have any flowers left for our Tues subscription customers. WE alway sell a lot on the 4th.
Just picked auge bucket of pink delight buddleias and blue ones, feverfew,roses and lilies for tomorrow.

A while back I got the first double row of dahlias and glads fertilized with an organic rose and flower fertilizer. NEver got back to do th e other 2 and suddenly I was looking at one row that was about 3 times as big as the other two...needless to say they now have been fertilized and it is being watered in!

I have one nice big Alloway cottage dahlia for Tues, a few pale yellow ones, a red waterlily type, a fringed p[ink one and one fidalgo butterball.

I think my sales have been seriously behind with starting in a new location, and the fact that I, too, sell more to the summer people then the locals. They don't seem to really arrive until this weekend.

May have gotten another wedding to do, this one a round Aug 1.We love weddings!(The ones we do tend to be smalltown quiet ones with older brides.)

    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 8:43PM
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Jeanne, We had the Golden Tycoon the week of June 20th. We don't have the Peach-Leaf Bellflower. We used blue Canterbury Bell Series with this lily. Also, some fuschia dahlias, salmon pink snapdragons, yarrow, and whatever else we could get our hands on at the time. The brighter they are, the better they sell. We make these bouquets in masses. So, there is a huge visual effect. Let me know how the petals hold up on the Golden Tycoon. We found them to be a bit fragile; but, probably due to the 90 plus temperatures we endured. The fragrance on them is wonderful; and, the color is great.

This is the week of Acapulca. With what I don't know yet. We have three customers at one of our markets who like to buy large bunches of lily stems. They don't want them open. I also think they are beautiful unopened. The Red Planet was particularly pretty like this.

Jeanne, we were putting the apricot foxglove with Manhattan lilies three or four weeks ago.

The lisianthus is going to be ready soon. I am so tired of weeding that bed in the hoophouse. Tomorrow -- more weeding in the field. So many, many flowers are blooming way ahead of schedule. We have had rain here; but, areas 30 minutes to the north and to the south are suffering drought.

Again, I believe flower farming is a lifestyle; and, not necessarily a gamble. If I wanted to gamble, I'd go to Vegas.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 10:19PM
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I wanted to comment on the Fangio lily. My supplier didn't have any, so when I saw a couple bags of three at Wal-mart I got them just to see what the final product looked like. I really like them.
Has anyone tried Blackout? It is a deep, deep red, with the inner part of each petal so dark as to appear almost black. Stunning color.
My Triumphators are growing nicely, and have good looking buds, but no color showing yet. I am growing 10 different varieties this year, not counting the Fangio. Six Asiatics, two Orientals, one LA and one OT hybrid. They are supposed to bloom over about a six week period, but I can see where the heat will push some together.
After I potted them and they started growing, I left some of each variety in the greenhouse and put the rest outside. Those in the greenhouse bloom first, of course, so it is a way to lengthen the bloom period.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2005 at 8:13AM
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The heat is pushing some of the time frame of the lilies in the hoophouse. It isn't as bad as I suppose it certainly could be. Our substitute for Fangio was Red Planet. It's 10 week schedule turned out to be 8 weeks. This worked great for the holiday weekend. Some of the Acapulco scheduled for July 8 were also in bloom last weekend. And, we had a little bit of a carry over from the previous week's Golden Tycoon.

Can't report on the lily, Black Out because we have it scheduled for later in the season. It sounds beautiful.

I have to say I am pretty tired of moving lilies about. And, it's only the first week in July. They are a hot ticket item though. I guess I shouldn't complain. I do read about people taking a vacation this time of year. This is something we could never entertain the thought of doing. We do, however, love the tourists at our markets. You all know the ones with the $$$$$$$$$$.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2005 at 12:57PM
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Noni Morrison

Well, July heat has not yet hit. We had a good half inch of rain last night and oh my, suddenly the weeds are exploding! Guess I know what I am doing today! Gotta get those thistles out of my new glad bed.

By the way, using the rose systemic on the glads seems to have rid them of the thrips from last year.(either that or our good freezes). Looks like I am going to have more glads then I know what to do with! Guess I shall just have to play with them! My first one opened this week, a darling butterfly one I think is "Safari".

So I have all last year's glads (except the few I pulled) plus another thousand or so from Costco this year. Also bought a few "Martha Stewart" ruffly white ones and Starry Nights from Noweta.

The Camelot foxgloves I planted this spring are starting to send up spikes now.

My Gerberas are just kind of sitting, probably waiting for the warm weather.

Neons are opening about 3 per cluster open now. I Am hoping to use them for our subscription bouquets next Tues.

On Daisies..the Highland White Dreams are far supperior to Shasta Alaska. They are heavier substance, hold up better in the heat and last a long time in bouquets. The little fringe around the yellow centers takes them from plain jane to fancy! They also have thicker stems and don't go down quite so badly in the rain.

I am pulling all my Alaskas at the end of the season and dividng my HWD's into many parts!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 12:48PM
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I just got back from our summer vacation and holy cow, the weeds didn't stop growing while I was gone. I spent the entire day mowing and hoeing from 6:00 a.m. to sundown. I also got my second to last successive sunflower and Zinnia planting done.

My first planting of zinnias are just starting to open. My Butterfly milkweed is in full bloom and my ox-eyes are starting to get into full swing. If you want a great flower for boquets you've got to plant some Ox-eyes. They bloom for 5 to 6 weeks(if you plant enough of them because the plants all bloom at different times) and will last in a vase for dang near 3 weeks. They have very sturdy stems. They are a native perrenial wildflower, the latin name is Heliopsis helianthoides. I'll send some pics to Poochella and see if she will post them for you all to see. You get a bloom your second year, the first year you have to keep the competition away. If anyone is interested let me know and I'll send you some seeds after the harvest.

My first planting of Sunflowers should be opening by next week. Hopefully my refrigeration guy will have my cooler thermostat problem fixed by then, can't keep a constant temp.

My Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium) is also starting to bloom, this is a really cool plant as well. I have seed that I forgot were in the barn to sell this year so if anyone wants some, let me know. I'll try and get a good picture of that one too. It's not a pretty flower or anything, just a very interesting plant for color and texture. Monarch Butterflys find the nectar intoxicating and swarm to it. It takes 2 to 3 years before bloom on that one.

Well got to go, thank goodness Wal-Mart is open 24/7 because our cupboards look like old mother hubbards since we ate up everything before we went away.

BTW, the arm is doing pretty good, a little Ibuprofin and ice and it's doing good.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 11:47PM
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They are a native perrenial wildflower, the latin name is Heliopsis helianthoides. You get a bloom your second year, the first year you have to keep the competition away. If anyone is interested let me know and I'll send you some seeds after the harvest.

Yes, this flower (False Sunflower) is great in late season bouquets. You might want to warn people how invasive it really is. Plant this stuff well away from the other plants growing in your field -- They are the competition. Never make the fatal mistake of planting it in your house garden. It spreads by runners. You will be removing those shoots from now until the end of time. We have it planted way out in the field by itself. And, we control it with the bushhog and mower. We mow paths right through it. Otherwise, it gets so thick we cannot harvest all of it. The leaves tend to get powdery mildew later in the season.

But, all that being said, this gem has saved many a late season bouquet. We've never seen the three vase life though.

Every day on our farm is mowing, hoeing, weeding, planting and harvesting -- and not much resting. Ahh. The life of a flower farmer.................

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 7:43AM
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Flower Farmer,

I grow mine on a solid half acre plot for seed harvest with my combine. If someone wanted to plant them under landscape fabic in a 100 foot row I think it would stay put. The mildew doesn't really matter as I strip most of the leaves off anyway. The long vase life was with professional floral preservative and air conditioned environment. You should easily get two weeks out of them if you cut them when they first open. All of the florists love them and I go through a couple thousand a week.

This year I'm mixing them with cut-and-come again zinnias in grab-and-go boquets and delivering them to the florists ready to go out the door. That way the florists only have to mark them up double, since they have no labor involved. My labor is from a my ten, seven and three year old daughters assembling them. It's fun to watch them work "play" and they are learning how to earn money.

Well, I better get back out there, the weeds aren't going to jump out of the ground on their own.

I sent Poochella the pictures and she's going to post them for me.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 11:54AM
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What are cut and come again zinnias? All zinnias are cut and come again. BTW we only use professional floral preservative -- but not on zinnias.

Our work force consists of ages 18, 17, 16, 15, 11 and 9 along with a handful of adults. We are in full mode. The are all knowlegeable about seeding trays, planting plugs, weeding, harvesting, making bouquets and markets. Oh, and counting change back to the customer in the proper fashion.

The entire day Thursday and Friday is now spent harvesting and conditioning flowers -- with an occasional break.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 3:12PM
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On Daisies..the Highland White Dreams are far supperior to Shasta Alaska.

I looked this HWD up at Wayside, and it's a stunner! I take it you can't grow it from seed, since I can't locate a source online. Can it be bought in plugs? $8 for a 3" pot seems expensive.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 4:02PM
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Cut and come again are a variety I got from Johnny's, they are small compared to the Benari's.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 6:34PM
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you said you don't use prof. preservative on zinnias, Why? and what do you use. Just wondering how you're harvesting process goes with the zinnias.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 9:47PM
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Johnny's Commercial Seed Catalog doesn't have the Cut and Come Again Zinnia listed. Perhaps they are in the retail catalog? Here is what our mentor and large scale flower farming guru, Mike Madison (who has been flower farming for many years), has to say about this strain: A strain called 'Cut and come again' sounds appealing, but it's mediocre, and all zinnias are cut and come again anyway.

Rita, zinnias suffer total meltdown in any type of hydrating or holding solution -- especially for those of us growing in areas with high humidity. We only use well water, and suggest to our customers with city water that they use dionized distilled water. Zinnias are highly sensitive to boron which is found in many municipal water supplies. BTW zinnias are not suitable for greenhouse/hoophouse growing because powdery mildew cannot be controlled. If you live in an area where you aren't dealing with humidity, you may be just fine. Greenhouse space is expensive per square foot, and is best used for high-end flowers. Zinnias are the workhorses in the field; but dahlias, delphiniums, lisianthus and tall snapdragons are the high dollar flowers in the greenhouse.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 10:24PM
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KrazyKim(z5 MI)

Cut and Come again Zinnias, I've bought those at Kmart before. I've seen them for years. But yes, they all keep on keepin on, lol.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 10:38PM
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Well, flowers are finally showing up here, to great cheers from the peanut gallery--whereas so many of you suffer drought, we've had the wettest spring/summer here that we can remember. I have mushrooms growing all over the place! And more water coming from the hurricanes.

Of 100 aerobic (white) Asiatic lilies, I've just havested about 50--each has 4 buds, 20-22 inch stems. Took some to a florist in town, who bought 12 stems at $1.50 as a trial. (i'd wanted $2 but she said she could get them wholesale at 1.10). They were in bud--she's going to leave them out to open them up and I'm gonna check back in next week to see what she thought. I hope she's in to it 'cause I've got 200 gorgeous soft pink Vermeers budding now.

I took another bundle to another local florist after a recommendation from a friend--he told me straight up that he doesn't buy flowers from local growers at all because of past bad experiences with bugs.

So, of course, I picked his brain for info. He does a lot of weddings in Atlanta, and has started buying in big bulk. He said my lily could be purchased in a 10 bunch from $12-18 depending on the time of season. He gets most his plants from South America, and is now buying glads in hundred lots for 30 cents a stem. At the end of converstion, he said, "Stop back by sometime" which sort of threw me, if he's not buying locally at all. I may drop him off a flyer with our plant list for this season--"Call if we can help", that sort of thing.

My green woodpecker glads are stalking. Next are white and red, followed by a whole host of colours over the next few months--orange, plumtart, emerald isle, blue isle, white and a mix. Of course, I want more of them now!

The dahlias are sort of mixed. The 6 that I started in the hoophouse and then transplanted are doing well, putting up that first flower. I'm not going to pinch it out, just gonna watch and see. The planted tubers are curious--very mixed heights, from 4 inches to 18 inches, all growing the same newly amended soil. I think they need more soluble fertizer pulsing, plus some granular to cover the season...

Snaps not so good. Short. Once the bees get to them, the petals start dropping immediately.

Since I'm running late, late, late, and getting everything in the ground one month later than optimal, I'm just putting in zinnia, cosmos and sunflowers.

Steve, that Rattlesnake Master looks neat! Count me in if you get in the mood to ship a few seeds. I'll gladly pay.

Back in the farmer's market next weekend for sure!



    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 11:52PM
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My bad, the cut and come agains were from Applewood, not Johnny's. They are good for tight, little boquets where the Giants are too big.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 2:27AM
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Noni Morrison

About the Higland White Dreams daisy...I started with one little pot from Wayside 4 years ago. By the second year I was able to divide that into 6 clumps. Multiply at that rate...Get just as few as starter stock. IT is a terrific perennial for me taking no care what so ever. Mine are planted at the bottom of a clay slope where they don't even get full day sun. THey have really strong stems. and not much in the way of leaves. IT all goes into stem and flower.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 11:59AM
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Thanks, LizaLily. After asking the question, I've found out that HWD doesn't come true from seed, so I'll keep an eye out for some plants locally. I love Shasta's, but the taller ones (Alaska and Crazy Daisy) are giving me fits with the wind and rain. Snow Lady and Silver Princess are much more sturdy, and bloom the first year from winter/spring sown seed.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 12:14PM
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Is HWD patent held by Wayside? Or, are they one of the companies that create their own names for certain cultivars?
Curious and fatigued minds want to know......

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 12:21PM
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I don't think Wayside owns it. I found it listed for sale in a variety of places. Sizes ranged from trays of 16x3" pots for $2 a pot, up to quart-sized for $10. Interestingly, Wayside can only sell it on the web, and not through the catalog.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 1:02PM
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A leucanthemum I'm having some sucess with this year is called Ice Star..They are nice and straight, so far the bugs aren't bugging them and they seem to last a good long time. I put in a number of plants last year and they seem happy, pretty much trebled or more in size..I think they are rated Zone 5 but I'm 4 & a half here and there did duckily but maybe it was another 'mellow' winter for me who always presses her luck (zonally speaking)...Anyhoo, they've been a hit with the florist. Anytime I see a shasta I don't have I snag it and check it out for overall they are pretty carefree and look cheerful..So it's time to get a Highland White Dream or two!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 2:07PM
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susiq(NW AR 6B)

The local Lowe's had pots & pots of 'Becky' daisy earlier this spring. I bought 2, have successfully killed one, and the other is struggling.

While they were both in bloom, they looked lovely, and I'd been looking for them for a while--one of those "try" things before I committed to expensive plugs. Anyway, when I first got them, I went over to the perennials forum and there are a LOT of threads about Beckys, and I think almost all were extoling "her" greatness. As garden plant (which most of them were after), and as a cut. Wonder if it is a similar (or, "renamed" ?) version of one of the ones you guys have been mentioning.

As to weekly activities: I got about 18 Cramer's celosias seedlings in the ground today & 9 Cramer's Okrazillas, all during the noon hour. Plus, got 4, 4inch annuals I bought at a nursery planted today, too. I was going to get more seedlings planted tonight, but had to make an unexpected banking trip into Dallas, just got home in time to water the field. A few of the zinnia seeds I sowed last Saturday are germinating, (Yeah!), and the sunflower seedlings I planted last week are still alive and not eaten! The row cover has apparantly helped a lot. I left it off by accident last night, and the plants were still there today! I'm risking keeping them uncovered tonight, am keeping my fingers crossed.

Next week is full time work at the nursery, (someone's on vacation, I'm filling in), and then utter exhaustion when I get home!

You'd think a "Southern" girl would know about okra, but this gal never saw a full-grown okra plant til about a week or so ago at the nursery. It's one of the crops in the nursery vegie garden, and I was AMAZED at how big those plants get! Ergo, I left lots of room between the okrazilla seedlings! I also had started a few of the Kakakaou (sp?) okra, got 3 or 4 to seedling stage, and they're planted near the okrazilla. Got those and some other celosias planted a few days ago.

I'm so proud of my various Cramers' seedlings! Can't wait to see if they survive the rabbits and live!

Small offerings, but big planting progress for me!

Oh yes, I made a "collection call" yesterday, for some gardening work I did a few weeks ago. I feared an argument, but the older gentlemen just wrote me the check and was very friendly about it all. Whew! He can be persnickity about pricing, and hadn't responded yet to my bill.

That's all for now.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 10:10PM
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Well that week away with my family came at a price, I've been playing catch-up ever since. Seems everytime I am out doing one of the things on my to-do list, I see two more things to add to it.

I had to decide today if I wanted to cut stems and make some money or get further behind on my weeding, mowing, planting, and fixing stuff. I opted to catch-up.

I put a rubber roof on my new(to me)walk-in cooler so now it's weatherized. It feels so good to go in there for a few minutes to cool down(3 days in a row in the 90's). Now I can start using it.

Next I mowed. My rider in my shrub field and my push mower in my annuals, for 3 hours. Quick drove the mower 1/2 mile to my neighbors and jumped in the pool for 5 minutes, then back at it.

Then I went in the shade of the garage and thrashed and cleaned my blue eyed grass seed that I harvested last week. I wound up with 29 oz.'s of clean seed. It's a pain to harvest because it only gets 6 to 10 inches tall but it's worth it at $75.00 an oz. It's actually in the Iris family and not a grass at all.

I am now experiencing what others have had for so long, we haven't had a good rain in about 3 weeks now and it's starting to show. I had to put the 25 gallon sprayer on the ATV and fill it with water and miracle grow to try and save about 40 of my snowball viburnums that are on a dry knob in my shrub field, they were looking really droopy and some of the leaves had burned up. I also had to run soaker hoses on three 300 foot long rows of lilac's. My arms are sore from draggin' 500 feet of hose around all day.

My sister in law was down visiting and asked if I wanted her to weed, she said she needed some therapy, she loves flowers. I told her to weed the 300 foot bed of cosmos if she wanted, it's mostly velvet leaf which comes out pretty easily. I give her credit, she did the whole thing in about 2 hours in 90 degree weather, on her birthday no less. I gave her an extra big scoop of ice cream with her cake.

I planted my last bed of sunflower seeds so I am all done planting for the year, thank goodness.

I had a plethera of things to fix. By sundown, I had them all fixed by golly.

My Zinnias are starting to pop, suns are very close, bachelors buttons are starting and I have a half dozen Native perrenials that are in motion as well. Now I can cut stems the rest of the week and get paid for all the work.

I wish you all good weather and happy customers,

Steve, who's going to bed early for a change!!!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 11:56PM
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Patty_WI(z4 WI)

Getting into the swing of things here.

Had my 1st sat market and it went very well. My partner and I (for the Sat market) both picked & arranged on Fri. We both sold and went home happy on Sat afternoon. Most of the arrangements were sunflowers 'double quick orange' & fillers including amaranth 'Hot biscuits'.

We did large bouquets ($10) and med bouquets ($5). Those seemed to be good price points. Sold a lot of the $5 bouquets as "bathroom bouquets". I suggested to people with company coming a little something to brighten the bath.

We planted alot of the sunflower "Jade", I dont think we'll bother picking them though. They seem to not hold up well and are nothing to write home about. The 'Starburst Lemon Aurora' were/are so so. Bashful did not get so tall but had nice blooms and were very early. They also had a long vase life. Now we are getting into the infared and the procuts are about to bloom. I can't wait to see how they do.

I went to my second Tuesday market and was quite dissapointed. It seems more like a fair/flea market. Maybe I need to think of it as advertising rather than selling flowers. Alot of people like to look, but don't want to buy. There is a free movie in the park at dusk and many people come for that and don't want to hang on to a bunch of flowers. I think next week I'll take a limited ammount of flowers and just hand out my cards.

The cups to go is just a wonderful Idea. I don't have a costco near me and have been looking everywhere for the lids. A bread/beverage vender that sells at the Tues and Thurs market has the lida and is bringing me a sleeve of them on Thurs. It beets the paper towel in a baggie method!

Someone asked about the "black out" lilly. I grew about 25 of them and LOVED them. (I also potted up 25 and sold them) They went very well with the lemon suns and filler.

Well, off to go pick.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 7:56AM
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Jeanne_in_Idaho(z5 N.Idaho)

I have a lily explosion, and no husband on the weekend (he's going backpacking with a friend, I don't have the heart to try to get him not to go) to drive the truck to market in addition to my van, so it looks like I'll have to make two trips to market. That means getting up at 3:30 in the morning on Saturday. Maybe I just won't even bother going to bed Friday night.

I'm sure enjoying the explosion, though. Most of my Asiatics and Asiatic-and-whatever-hybrids bed is blooming. Two different yellows (one of them is the HUGE Golden Tycoon), two different reds, a pink, a white, a bright orange, and the two-tone Centerfold, about 50 of each color, plus some of the Orientals in the greenhouse, predominantly Chambertin and Dizzy, are all going off at once.

Steve, can I borrow your sister-in-law? I could provide a good ten hours of therapy for her, and some Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

Patty, I don't grow Jade any more either. Just too small and the color isn't all that great. Ditto Peach Passion. But I love Lemon Aura - it's one of my standbys. Maybe it likes this climate. Isn't Bashful cute? Fast, too! I'm growing it for the first time this year and will grow it again next year. It is as fast as Peach ProCut here, and faster than the lemon and orange ProCuts. I like the Peach ProCut also; this is my first year for that, and I'm impressed by size, color, and speed.

I'd better get busy washing buckets, or I'll run out of time for harvesting and arranging tomorrow. It's going to take awhile to wash enough buckets for all those lilies!


    Bookmark   July 14, 2005 at 12:23PM
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Patty_WI(z4 WI)

I had alot of flowers left from the Tuesday market, so I brought a bouquet to where the realitor works who sold us our house. I also had to go to the bank and brought them a bouquet. I left my cards for them to hand out and explained that I sell at the Farmers market in town.

A half an hour after I left the bouquet at the ralitors,I got a phone call for two bouquets to be picked up at Thurs market. Today at least 3 more customers saw my bouquets at these two places and came and bought from me! Hmmmm, maybe it was a good thing I had left over flowers.

I, too, have an explosion of lillies and have to go pick them. The trumpetor(sp) lilies got raves at market by the way. I only have Yelloween and Tiber (oriental crosses) left about 75 total and I'll be done with lilies. I guess I'll have to sell a lot of suns after that.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2005 at 3:40PM
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Wow, Jeanne, I hope you have a large market for all those lilies. We have 400 Casa Blanca for this weekend, and 200 Tom Pouce. But, more than that -- we have 10,000 ProCut and 10,000 Premier Light Yellow with 10,000 Sunbright following fast and furious. The field has just exploded. It is a very good thing we have two large Saturday markets. I have a really neat sunflower bouquet. Simple. I made about 100 of them in 1 1/2 hours tonight. We had some at the Wednesday market. They went over very well. We have dahlias in the hoophouse and the field is ablaze with them. They will have to be cut in the morning.
I have no business being on the computer -- there is so much needing done. I'm on a bouquet break. Bouquet making until the wee hours.
Anyway, LizaLily, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for sharing the "Flowers to Go" cup idea. We are using it this weekend at market. My granddaughter nearly had a bad accident carrying a tub full of mason jars. She tripped over a piece of wood at the market last weekend. Then, the adults broke a couple of jars. The glass jars are way dangerous along we being very heavy. We think people are going to like the cups. The only thing is that we like to use the bright colored waxed tissue. Haven't figured that one out yet........

    Bookmark   July 14, 2005 at 10:34PM
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Flower farmer,

My pro-cuts are gonna explode pretty soon too. My first and second planting are gonna be right on top of one another instead of spaced out, probably from all the rain we had in early June and sun and heat ever since. Anyway, I may have more stems to move than I can by the bunch. If you would share your simple Sun flower boquet recipe I would much appreciate it and might be able to sell more stems that way. If it's a secret recipe, I understand too. After the first explosion it looks like they will be successive.



    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 12:44AM
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I will email you privately. But, please tell me: Are your sunflower heads different sizes? Or, are they all uniform in size?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 12:38PM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

All - my lilies are exloding too! One variety, I think its LA Royal River is done, the Royal Dream is coming on, jubelio is coming along nicely, then more orientals and the polyanna (400 of these!). My crocosmia is fantastic, was going to take a pic, but the battery was dead! I cut two 5 gal buckets full! But, last week sold every stem. Small glads are blooming now too, along with loads of blue scabiosa fama (one of my favorites!)

Flowerfarmer, may I have your sunflower bouquet recipe too?
Mine are just starting to bloom...translplanted volunteers and procut orange (which has taken amost 75 days to bloom!) Don't know if I should replant it or another variety in its place!

My solidaster and rudbeckia green wizard "bouquets" all sold last week...I didn't think they would, since its a bit early for brown and yellow...but everyone wanted to know what the rudbeckia was, they all thought it was echinacea!
Still waiting on the annuals to kick in...darn it! And, the dahlias are growing, but no buds yet...
Have a great weekend everyone!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 3:50PM
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I want your sunflower recipe too, please...probably everyone does, flowerfarmer. They sell pretty well per stem but some customers have little imagination and want a bouquet already made for them.
I had cut sunflowers, lilies, liatris, statice, baby's breath, solidago, queen anne's lace, and a few zinnias today at market. Didn't get tansy and white yarrow picked. Also sold lily plants and a couple types of veggies and blueberries. Best market day I've had in two years.
Good luck to you Saturday marketers...Ann

    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 10:04PM
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Most customers have no imagination, Annie. Color me cynical; but, I am on people overload. It was so hot, and the air was so heavy with humidy at market. But, we set an all time sales record today for markets held the third week in July. Markets are so very overstimulating.

For those of you who emailed to request the sunflower bouquet, I took pictures of them at the market today. Well, not actually me -- my 8 year old granddaughter took them with a disposable camera. Still no functioning digital camera. Anyway, we're getting them developed tomorrow at the one hour photo; and, I will forward them to you. The photos should be quite interesting -- she used the entire roll of film.

Steve, if you're out there, could you share what you charge the florist per stem for some of the smaller sunflowers such as the Procuts. I was approached today by a florist. You can email me with the info. We don't normally sell to florists; and, I know he expects a price break -- not the farmers market prices. Thanks.

I'm wondering if we can grow Bashful in one of the hoophouse for late season sales. Oh, gosh. I think I just really need to go to bed.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2005 at 8:39PM
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Noni Morrison

Go to bed, Flowerfarmer! Days work is done. Sleep is essential tomaintain sense of humor.

Gee, I Am in bed too...back went out on me after delivering A LARGE ORDER FOR a party...driving down narrow steep roads to a beach house. Am now in bed with ice pack and laptop. Hubby is off supporting our eldest who is taking his black belt test this weekend. THank heavens for my little dude who is taking care of me. TOo bad he doesn;t drive or he could pick up my stand for me tonight. It is 5 miles away. Hope the pain pills work enough!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2005 at 9:03PM
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Jeanne_in_Idaho(z5 N.Idaho)

I had my best early-July market take ever. So many Asiatic and Asiatic-cross lilies, so little time! I ended up trying to sell some by the stem, not a great idea - look at the current thread about cutting lilies if you want the sordid details. BUT - I've glutted my own market, and not just in lilies. If somebody hadn't come along and bought eight or nine bouquets for a wedding (total surprise, not prearranged), I'd have taken twelve bouquets home. I need to find another outlet for my flowers (something I REALLY don't want to do), or grow fewer lilies, or plant them every year so I can time them NOT to all bloom at once, or cut some of the plants really short so they don't get so big, or all of the above. I really, really like just going to one market. Getting bigger isn't a goal of mine - I don't want to work any harder and don't want to hire anybody. Perhaps part of the reason I had too many Asiatic lilies is that I've been leaving too much stem on the plant, so they get HUGE the second year. There is no way to put more than one stem in a bouquet, and some of the stems are too big for a bouquet at all (Golden Tycoon is the worst - in its second year, it's a TREE). Now I know that Asiatics can be cut very darned short and still be bigger the next year. This year, I'm cutting them all down to a foot at most. Or maybe I'll dig them up and replant smaller bulbs, I don't know.

Gotta get out on that tractor and till between a few rows, where my cover crop was a dismal failure, before it gets too hot.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 4:29PM
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