Garden journal For Early August

Noni MorrisonAugust 1, 2005

Whee, starting August with a cloudy 70 degree day! I Am treasuring it as it will be back in the high 80's very soon. Doing garden cleanup for my Senior visitors on Wed.

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Our temps are back in the 90's again in central Jersey and
no rain in sight until possibly Friday of this week. Have
been fighting the Japanese beetles all of July. They are
devouring my basil and zinnias, statice and rudbeckia.
Every evening I go out with my bucket of soapy water to
pick them off. The next day they are loaded up again. I
don't want to spray anything on the flowers as my sister-
in-law is out there picking every morning. I hope August
sees the beetles die off.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 5:23PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

I loved the little cooldown and short shower this a.m. too Liza. Sun and heat is nice, but in moderate doses.

Gillie, someone was saying how helpful JBeetle traps are, especially if used with some kind of bait (prized cutflowers, no doubt LOL) They fill up a collection bagful attached to the trap every night. Have you heard of such a thing in your area?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 7:56PM
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Ever have one of those weeks? Last week was the week from He%$. On top of trying to keep everything at the farm going I had those unexpected things come up to deal with. My father had complications from his gall baldder operation and wound up back in the hospital. My Aunt wound up in the hospital at the same time from complications from having part of her lung removed and my new puppy came down with something called puppy strangles. My father recovered and is at home recovering with a vase of my flowers by his bedside. Unfortunately, my Aunt never recovered and passed away. I made two huge vases of flowers for her wake and funeral, my mother really appreciated me doing that for her little sister. My puppy survived and is still on medication, although she looks terrible. She lost all the hair on her muzzle, ears and around her eyes and those areas are healing from ulcerated blisters. Time will tell if the hair will grow back and if there's any hearing or scenting loss due to scar tissue.

Now on to the flowers. My second planting of Suns is going to explode this week. My second and third planting of Zinnias are coming on strong. My Cosmos are starting to bloom but with no consistency, I guess they bloom with more consistency when it gets to 14 hours of daylight. We cut 4000 Liatris pycnostachya, 3000 for boquets and loose stems and 1000 for drying. Still going through 1500 ox-eyes a week for a couple more weeks. My Ironweed looks like it will be blooming next week along with my Liatris aspera. I might get my first ever bloom on my Cream gentians(5 years in the making). I guess the prairie boquets are working because we are now up to 100 a week, which means I get to cut more stems. I'm starting to get a little burnt out but hopefully this week will just be normal farm stuff and no unexpected things to add to the stress pot.

It's getting a little dry with temps in the 90's again, guess it's time to do the midnight raindance.

Happy growing,


    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 11:28AM
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Noni Morrison

Wow, Steve! Let's hope this week is peaceful and pleasant and everyone manages to stay alive and without your help. Poor little pup! SO glad she survived and hope her skin heals fast. I shall have to read up on this disease as my dog has scars on is nose that flare up and get crusty at times. Put him on expensive meds and they cleared it up somewhat but after 3 months at several hundred $$ a month I decided that was as healthy as he was goign to get. He appears to ge a brown flat coat/field spaniel mix. Gorgeous guy! We got him off the streets of LA and he is still a bit of a street kid when given a chance. HE is going on 9 yrs old now. I am just starting to let him follow me around to let out the 3 pens of ducks off lead, but only when there is no traffic on the street.

Well, everything is blooming gorgeous here as I haven't picked since Sat. The Care Center has their picnic here tomorrow morning and then I will pick everyting down as soon as they leave. Today I wash buckets, LOL.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 12:04PM
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honeybunny442(z6 TN)

Hi Steve,
My condolences about your Auntie.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 12:51PM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

Steve - my condolences too...and hope everything starts to get back to "normal" - whatever that may be in our flower farming lives!

Last week was busy too...County Fair on Wed., but getting ready for days beforehand! Of course I entered things...horticulture did well, my bouquet of glads, and my mixed bouquet (annuals and perennials) both received blue ribbons! Someone stole the mixed bouquet though! I'm bummed, my brother gave me the container and of course I forgot to take pictures. I still can't do the formal arrangements per the garden club rules...I keep trying though! My daughter placed 2nd in the talent show (singing), so we "paid for our day at the fair" with various entries!
All of my new glads are blooming at the same time as my old glads...I need a walkin cooler, but don't have a space ready for one! I do love the blue/purple variety - can't remember its name. I'm still hoping our nights stay above 50 or I'll never have zinnias this year...just don't know what their problem is...maybe I planted them too far down our hill and its that much cooler?? My annual asters didn't come up, so I'm hoping I'll have enough flowers to carry me through September!
Have a great week everyone!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 3:26PM
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We have definitely heard of Japanese beetle traps in our
area. The local hardware stores and even the big box
stores are sold out of them. The beetles are the worst
that anyone can remember in this area of cental Jersey for
many many years. We are calling it the year of the beetle.
The traps are controversial as some say they actually attract more beetles to the garden so it is helpful to put
them away from your garden in some far corner of your property or as some would joke - on your neighbor's property. I hope their life cycle is over soon!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 5:20PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Bummer Gillie. I hope those little nasties never migrate west- they sound awful!

Steve I add my condolences for the horrible week you've had and for the passing of your Aunt. Aunties are special- I only ever had one Auntie and one Uncle and we adore them. The family tree is more like a short shrub!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 8:25PM
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Noni Morrison

Well, my place is about as slicked up as it gets for the Care Center Picnic tomorrow. DH and I worked until sundown weeding and mowing paths. I finally cut off the daisies that had flopped weeks ago and had grass growing up between them in the lawn. Pruned brown flowers out of the top of the white buddliea in the Moon Garden. Weeded the Pink Rose Garden. DH mowed paths in the cutting garden and rose garden. It is so pretty---big plumes of lavender phlox, w hite phlox, red crocosmia in quantity, orientpet and oriental lilies and the last of the trumpet lilies, roses, daylilies, . Dahlias garden is †he prettiest I have seen it as I haven't picked since Sat. and I usually would have.

Oh why did my repaired camera die after two weeks home?!!! I would love to share photos with you. Guess that is not an option :-( I can't stand the instant cameras after working with my digital. They just don't show the floral details.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 12:29AM
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honeybunny442(z6 TN)

congrats about the County Fair! Ours was 2 weeks ago and our State Fair starts this weekend. I completely forgot about entering both- every year I say I'm going to do it but every year I forget. Winning would be nice, but I think it would be so KEWL to see my flowers there, and my Mom and Dad would be thrilled.
LizaLily, good luck with your picnic, you've sure put a lot into it and I'm sure it looks fantastic. I do wish your camera was working!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 1:45PM
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Sorry about your Aunt, and glad to hear your father and the dog are recovering.
I have had some sort of bug here this year that absolutely loves snaps. I can't find it in my bug book, but I believe it's in the stink bug family. Shaped like a shield, black with some red on it, and smells like cilantro when you touch it. They are a nuisance. The annuals are perking up a bit after some hot weather, and I may get a few asters, and some shorter, but usuable zinnias. The snaps are coming, but certainly not like last year. Things are a bit slow for me, and the tourism is way down this year as well. I'm still hanging in there though!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 5:39PM
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Noni Morrison

Our picnic went off fantastically today! They oohed and ahhed about all the right things, smelled the roses and loved all my favorite ones too. THey asked a lot of questions and enjoyed seeing the "latest varieties...the Queenie dwarf hollyhocks were a big hit with them. So was my new strawberry red scabiosa...the first one was open on it. THey loved smelling chocolate cosmos too!

THe picnic was lovely and I was their guest at it so I had my lunch already prepared for me...ham salad sandwiches and blueberry pie...I supplied the vanilla ice cream to go with it.

After lunch, the ones who wanted to walked over to the dahlia garden and oohed and ahed over! I must say that without picking for 4 days even I was oowing and ahhing! I had no idea that some of the dahlias would get that large...think I have been picking them too early! good lesson for me!

Spent 3 hours picking after they left and after a bit of a nap. Just realized I need to go make up a dozen bouquets for tomorrow morning at the stand.

I told the recreation therapist that we should make this an annual event....Cause I had just as much fun as the visitors!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 12:59AM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

Lizalily - your picnic sounds like fun - so generous of you to have them come! I know its work! Since my garden/property isn't flat, I couldn't offer that type of event - don't want anyone getting hurt! But, when garden club does come I spend too long getting it ready too!

I have one fun item to report - the florist from the Col. Gorge Hotel came and bought $105 worth of flowers (liatris/pink phlox, butterfly bush, glads, and muscadet lilies) last night! I didn't even have to deliver them! She's a fantastic designer and if I could capture 25% -50%or more of her business I'd be very happy! One of the local farmers who used to supply her left town, so I may just have a chance! Her annual budget is around $20,000 for flowers!!! SO, I'm crossing my fingers...too bad she missed most of my lilies. I want to go see what she does with them and take my camera! I still have one batch of Starfighters that haven't bloomed yet. Unfortunately she's not too fond of sunflowers...I'll try at sway her...and needs very tall 3' or taller items!
I have two weddings to prepare flowers for tonight, then Sat. market tomorrow night...things are busy, busy, busy!!
I'm sure none of you feel that way!!
Take care,

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 11:33AM
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Noni Morrison

I arrived at my stand this morning to put out flowers and found it blocked off with a pick-up truck that was unloading into the building. Seems that the owner rented out the space and forgot to tell me.....New businessis an antiques dealor and they were happy to have my flowers if I just moved them off to the side a little...10 feet farther north along the street. I must say I was a little shocked and unhappy...haven't sold any today as the antiques stores vehicles hacve blocked off access and view of my flowers. SO they have been sitting out all day in nearly 90 degree heat...and they were so pretty this morning1 The past few weeks THurs has been my bvest selling day with atleast $45 sold. This sucks. I may have more customers when the antiques store oppens or I may loose customers because of parking space. HAve about 25 feet fARTHER NORTH I Could move and still be under the shelter of the porch but father away form the coffee business. We shall see.... I need to earn about $2000 still this year to cover my spring bulb purchases that are already ordered. Made almost $300 last week which was one of my best.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 9:23PM
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First, thanks to all of you for your condolences!!

Well, I made it through the week without any family members going to the hospital, relatives passing away and my puppy looks like she's over the hump and recovering fine.

I cut about 4000 stems this week and we made 100 boquets with 24 stems each in them. The rest of the stems were sold loose in bunches of 10 to the flowers shops. I did an awful lot of driving and late night cutting in order to get everybody serviced in time. I had some special requests for weddings which added to the pile but we made it through.

I have to say that my rain dance worked again, we got .40 of an inch the next night after I did it again. My kids are starting to worry about me though. I'm thinking about marketing it, LOL.

This weekend I plan on getting caught up on mowing and weeding, the weeds just won't stop growing dang it!! It's a good thing I way over planted my Zinnias because somethings making about half of them open up missing petals or deformed in some way. It's weird because I didn't have any of this last year. There will be a perfectly fine flower right next to a totally deformed one. Is it thrips? Not too worried about it because I planted so many that I always seem to have enough to meet demand, but I'd like to eliminate it next year if I can, any suggestions or thoughts would be welcome.

Time for bed, got to cut a pile of sunflowers in 5 hours and get them in the cooler and then weed, weed, weed.

Happy growing,


    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 1:36AM
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Jeanne_in_Idaho(z5 N.Idaho)

Boy, time sure flies when you're busy. I don't think I've even looked at this forum for a week, and no doubt it will be another week before the next time. We have our summer now, 80's and 90's in the daytime and 40's and 50's at night. For me, that's just too hot! --but for you folks who have to deal with high humidity, it wouldn't be bad at all. I think our humidity is zero, or at least so low it can't be felt and has no effect.

In all this heat, the sunflowers are popping fast. I have to harvest at least every other day to get them at the right phase. Ditto the Oriental lilies, which are getting really BIG. I can't use a whole stem of them, just too big, so I wait until some of the bottom ones are done and there are only 2-4 unopened buds before I cut. They can go from 6 buds to 3 buds in one day, so I'm harvesting them every other day also. I think I'm going to run out of cooler (2 fridges, actually) space this week.

It's becoming obvious that I will have no fall season. I'd hoped maybe some of the sunflowers would last that long, in spite of their all having been transplanted at once. There are no asters, either, so fall harvests would consist of almost entirely dahlias, and I only have about 20 plants, so that won't get me to market. This is all a result of my knee injuries back in late May (in fact, I STILL can't be on my knees more than a minute or so). At this point, I really don't mind. I'm getting pretty darned tired. The succession-planted glads did mostly get in, and they are mostly blooming as planned, just with the first two plantings going both at once, but the rest are progressing as hoped. But they are in my cold field, so they will almost certainly get frosted around Labor Day and will therefore not supply a fall season either. The last planting of them may not reach blooming, but that's okay, I have WAY too many anyway.

Last week at market, I had five buckets of glads (in addition to the glads that I'd put in EVERY bouquet) to sell or otherwise get rid of. There is no way I could sell even half of them, so I made a special deal for the day. Every $10 spent on arranged bouquets would be accompanied by five free glads, for the customer to pick out. It worked, and how! A lot of glads sold by themselves also, but I'm absolutely sure the special deal got some folks to buy bouquets, who would not have otherwise. At the end of the day, there were maybe a dozen stems of glads left, so I gave them to another merchant (my sister). As to whether the deal made financial sense, I'm not sure, but I think so. And I didn't have several buckets of glads with no place to go except the compost heap. Next week, if I still have way too many glads, I think I'll raise the amount spent on bouquets to qualify for the free glads to $12 or more. I can always take one or two leftover buckets to the hospital with me and set my coworkers loose on it, for free. That worked well the week before. I could send a bucket to work with my husband, also. Although I make no money on those things, they get my pretty flowers exposed to people who wouldn't otherwise see them, so I consider it marketing.

Gotta go cut sunflowers and lilies-


    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 11:22AM
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Noni Morrison

Had an excellent week of sales. One customer took 8 bouquets...Stand only holds 12 so that emptied it down quite fast! Stand was empty for the first time when I went to pick it up last night! What an upper! Guess it doesn't hurt that I got moved down to the end of the row! Now people can see me easier when coming from town. And I guess enough people know to look for my stand now.

I am going to be away over this weekend so it will take some fancy footwork to keep it covered. I leave Thurs morning very early and my business partner returns from a conference on Thur morning later. I guess she can stock my stand when she gets home. I am going to make up about 4 crates of bouquets and she will sell them at both stands on Thurs and Fri and then that will give her time to pick, condition and arrange her flowers to sell at both on Sat and Sunday. Last night I actually had a shortage of open flowers in my dahlia garden,
Some of the cutting garden is starting to age out now. Sunflowers are budded but nowhere near blooming yet. I see less then a dozen zinnias that have survived and are growing and they don't look near blooming so I May have a shortage of fall flowers. ONce it kicks in I should have the campus yellow cosmos but so far it's just greenery. Seems like it is time for it to be kicking in as I prestarted it and it has been out since the end of frosts. My neons are finishing up...maybe I can get another round of blooms from them. Wish I had more trachelium.

Well, Perhaps if I Can get some fertilizer on the dahlias I will have enough flowers to go till frost. I did get my first wonderful procyon, and a couple of other deep bright oranges and reds to break up the pastels. LAst year Procyon was mostly yellow. This year it looks like the package showed it at Costco! Brilliant red with a molten yellow core showing through. HOt enough to cook lunch over! Got my first Citroen de Cap dahlias too and they are lovely but way small for the size they should be.

Right now I have so many red crocosmias! I wonder if I s could pick them and put them in my cool room...will they hold longer there or on the plant? Black eyed susans kicking in too. IN the first week of August my rose garden has gone form roses and lilies to roses with lavender phlox, red crocsmia and black eyed susans and pink cone flowers. Not quite my plan but it does give me plenty of flowers to cut away from the roses, LOL.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 11:23AM
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PrettyPosies(z5 CT)


Re: deformed zinnias

I have them too. I don't think it's thrips.
Thrips usually leave their mark on leaves, as well as blossoms. I see nothing unusual on the zinnia leaves, and their flowers have no discoloration.
Four years ago I had a thrip infestation in glads so bad that I have not planted any since. There are always a few corms that make it through each winter. I've watched the leaves streak up and the blossoms emerge horribly distorted and discolored. All dark colors would have large blotches and smaller streaks of tan or white. But this year I've had six lovely unscathed glad blossoms.

I recently gave all zinnias a foliage feed with fish emulsion. I'll let you know if there are any changes for the better.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 12:30PM
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Noni Morrison

Found some pretty nice benary's zinnias at the garden center. Bought a dozen and planted them in the gaps where my own plantings didn't show up. Those I did start form seed are smaller then the ones I bought. Planted out the new ones with a good handful of organic flower and bulb food. HERE'S TO HOPING THEY GET UP AND GO BEFORE fall brings mildew to attack them.

Picked my first sunflowers today! One is chocolate and the other is brown sugar and chocolate...dessert time!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 12:26AM
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This summer has gone by fast. We entered the county fair, 5 first places, 2 2nd second and the sweepstakes, pics will forth coming. We won $16 and the boys were excited. Off to finish watering. State is coming up in 2 weeks.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2005 at 10:35PM
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Jeanne_in_Idaho(z5 N.Idaho)

Steve, check out my response on your deformed-zinnias posting. I hope clopyralid isn't your problem, for your sake.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 11:59AM
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Since we are getting a beautiful rain, a half an inch in the last two hours, I thought I'd contribute to the journal. It's been two really busy weeks of trying to keep up with boquets and loose stems for everybody. I'm in kind of a lull between Sunflower plantings and Zinnia plantings. I hope by next monday everything is popping because my big florist wants tons of stems. It looks like my Sunflowers will be timed just right for her but I'm not so sure about my Zinnias. Most of them are starting to pop but at least half of the blooms are missing petals,usually on one side of the flower. I'm dead heading them hoping that the next bloom will not be the same.

My wife and daughters made the last of the Summer Prairie boquets last night. I won't have time to cut the flowers for that buyer as well as for the other buyer at my big florist. It was pretty successful, they sold more as people were educated about the prairie flowers and she told me we are going to do it again next year, whoo whooo!!! I'll send a picture of my boquet making crew to Poochella so she can post it for me.

Happy growing to all,


    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 2:36PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Here they are: cute kids, cats and dog!

Steve's commentary:
These are my daughters Shelby(10), Kayla (7) and Rachel (4). They are my bouquet making crew, along with my wife who was being camera shy. The dog's name is Dixie and the cats are Teddy and Hello Kitty, Rachel is loving her kitty to death. This was my last truckload (100 bouquets) for the year. It was great learning experience and we will do it again next year.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 10:14PM
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Noni Morrison

What lovely young lady helpers and their animal friends are lovely say nothing of the flowers behind them! THanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 12:55AM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Here's some from Liza: I love those lilies, the cat and the scurrying little ducks.
1....My version of the stand other assistants...Blue runner ducklings and white pekins

2.....Rudbeckia, otherwise known as Kia is what I bought with my first
income from the business! And no, she is not supposed to be outside!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 1:09PM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

Thanks for the pictures everyone!
I'll need to upload some and email to Poochella too! I have some, just not enough time when I'm home!

I took one of the HUGE arrangement that the floral designer at the Colmbia Gorge Hotel did with "my lilies, pink eye phlox, glads, liatris, (not my dahlias - weren't ready) and a few other things. Then today I forgot my camera, she used more glads (about 30), Casa Blancas, liatris (and, once again, not my dahlias-wrong color this week)! But, oh what fun to go into a fancy hotel and see my flowers! I'll try to get it posted.

This week was busy, with the hotel and one florist buying flowers, and two wedding to provide (not arrange) flowers for, plus my subscription customers, and bouquets for 3 stores. Now to get ready for Sat. Mkt. tonight...hope I have enough flowers! :) What a strange thing to say!!!

I think I need to work on a brochure for next year stating something like - supppling flowers for special events, specializing in July - October flowers!!

And, next year, I want to time lilies in crates, so I can always supply the to the hotel!
Whew - I need some sleep!!
Take care,

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 4:52PM
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Those look GREAT Liza!!! I like the stand, you have such a selection, gotta grow me some lillies I guess. Your cat looks like it's related to our cats. I bet the ducks are a riot. We have a couple crows, Russel and Cheryl, that we rehabbed and now they are permanant residents, they kinda spook any body new coming to the house tough.

Thanks for the beautiful pictures,


    Bookmark   August 20, 2005 at 9:19AM
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I like your stand and flowers. What are the ones in the top left? They look like a sunflower maybe with the dark centers and other lighter colors around like peach or yellow. Could you tell me what they are. I like them. We had a cat just like that and his name was Cricket and he played with our black lab all the time till he met his untimely death. Now my husband goes into the garage and says wheres Cricket and the dog just starts barking and barking like he knows what my husband is asking. I guess he misses him too.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 7:56AM
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It's great to see the photo's and the faces behind the screen names. Steve, that's one good looking bunch of kids! It must be so nice to have help. Did you say you have 100 bouquets in that car? What are they packed in?
Liza, those are beautiful bouquets and the stand looks like a great space saver for the amount you can put in it. Nice job. I have been selling more bouquets lately, which is always encouraging. I never got anymore than the 3 subscriptions, but I'm still hopeful for next year. I am however, getting people calling for bouquets for special occassions. As I get more stock built up in perennials, I'll get more confident about getting out there and selling my flowers. The perennials really carried me through this year, and I'm convinced that it's a smart move to keep building that part up. I've also learned in the last 2 years what to give up trying to grow, unless I get a large hoop house put up. If my dried flowers don't sell this year, I will also give up that whole idea, unless I can get a serious lesson in wreath making! But so far I am covering expenses, and having a darn good time doing this. I just hope the body holds up. Ha. Keep those photo's coming, I sure love seeing all of your bouquets, you, your kids, pets, and flower stands.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 8:12AM
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Noni Morrison

Cheryl, I Am so glad to hear that you are having a satisfactory year and your business is growing!

The past month has been almost hysterical with my stand.. SO great to go check on it and find it down to 2 bouquets. I qalso love having people pulling up as I Am packing up at dusk and being hysterically greatful that they caught me! Just makes me smile all over! YEs, I Am doing much better now since my friend and I split our business into seperate locations. And now I have ot run and set out BOTH stands before church as she is not feeling well today and she is out of flowers. HAve a great day all!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 11:49AM
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Steve, Is that millet in your bouquets? They look great. It sounds like your doing good. Great pic!

Liza, I love the lillies. Right now the Casablancas are doing great and I love the smell.

Cheryl, You need to start wreath making. Yesterday the wreaths out sold bouquets by far. We sold out of wreaths a hour into the FM and all the flowers except 2 buckets of purple statice by 10:30. Alot of people are asking for bouquets that dry. I am using Echinops, Yarrow, Statice, Millet, Celosia, Gomphrena, and Larkspur. The wreath also won best of show at the horticulture show at the fair.

I will get pics done this week, now that finals are over and school does not start for another week!!

Hope everyone is having fun in the garden.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 7:56PM
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Noni Morrison

Rita, the flowers you were asking about are sunflowers...either from Strawberry Blond or Cherry Coocolate.

They don't seem to sell well...people just aren't used to "pink" sunflowers. But I love them and out of the twelve kinds of older seed I grew these were the 2 kinds that survived being direct seeded and grew for me.I was sure hoping for Lemon Sunburst aura, and the one with the emerald green center. the little pale yellow ones and some big hunky golds...But if I could have only one kind atleast I like these! And my daughter adores them. (And she has TASTE!) LOL.

Spent this afternoon removing a non-cuttable border plant that had spread and replacing it with a border of blues for the Sept wedding. (And future Sept blues I hope! I planted several tall salvias in bright sky blue, some short Victoria ones that said they were good for cutting, and some Fama scabiosa. That was all I could find at the nursery that would work, but I intend to fill the border in next year with blue delphiniums, and bachelors buttons. That should make a most pleasing border for me. IT also h DAvid Austin pink roses (Heritage, Othello, Evelyn) and Johann Stauss along it. So the bed starts on the other side of the garden with reds and oranges and purples and moves down to pink and blue and soft yellow on this side.

I can't believe how dry the rose garden is! IT will have the water going on it someplace all this week. FOrtunately we are on an excellent 4 family well, and I don't water anything but my flowers.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 11:56PM
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Thats great about the hotel taking your flowers, I hope it continues for you.


Yes, there are 100 boquets in my truck. There are nine to a rectangular bucket and some in the front seat too. They are pretty compact, a big variety of smaller flowers with usually only one big flower.


Glad your stands are doing great, isn't it funny how you thought having to move it would be bad and turned out even better.


I don't know if you got my e-mail, but congrats on all your accolades at the fair. We've got plans to do a dried Tallgrass Prairie wreath this fall, I think it will work well. We dried several thousand Liatris for color and the rest will be pods and dried grasses. I posted a thread I was hoping you would respond to about buying rings by the pallet, I would greatly appreciate it if you could let me know your source, so I could save some $$ on buying them.

Well, off to go deliver stems,


    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 10:30AM
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Steve, Thanks. I replied on your post. I wish I had the prairie grass and Liatris. Right now we are using corn tassel, perennnial statice, annual statice, purple majesty, gomphrena (most asked for), echinops, celosia, yarrow, larkspur (my favorite), lavendar, dried peonies, and roses. You need to start making them. We could sell hundreds if we could work that hard. The boys are back in school so little gets done during the week. Less than 3 years til I retire to the garden!! Did you start a bunch of woodies? They keep us going through winter, actually we make more $ on twig wreaths than flowers. Those bouquets looked great.

To all, August is almost over and the frost is coming soon. Keep smiling and good luck. That is what I keep telling myself. After today's FM where ladies kept jumping line and getting mad at each other, I am looking forward to Fall. Bryan

    Bookmark   August 27, 2005 at 5:28PM
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Noni Morrison

I have seen my flowers reduced in mnumber by quite a large factor over the last week. The weather has not done anything more dramatic here except tp continue the "No rain" policy thatis typical for our area until late Sept. I think we have had on the average cooler temps then the last 3 years but the dahlias have reduced bloom dramatically, and many of the annuals that never quit on us before have quit this year. What are the rest of you harvesting now?

And THe zinnias all cooked in an early heat wave and few sunflowers came up. What other flowers might I Plant next year to fill this gap? (I am presuming hte snaps will return after the rains start). I have border glads and ageratums to mix with my few sunflowers and dahlias.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2005 at 7:11PM
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We're harvesting lots of zinnias. (Photo taken at one of our smaller midweek markets.)

And asters.....

Especially love the orange zinnias this season. Note to Steve: The little green bug on the zinnia is a leafhopper. Yikes.

Cleome continues to produce for weeks and weeks....

Blue Salvia

And these......

At this time of year, we absolutely love the dahlias. (Photo taken at sunset. And, there's a smudge on the lense.)

We're also cutting sorghums, grasses, false sunflowers, Russian Sage, artemesia, tansy, cosmos, statice, sedum, cinnamon basil, catnip, fennel, aster solidago, phlox, scabiosa, celosia, amaranth, sunflowers, millet, Rudbeckia Tribola, Rudbeckia Hirta, Green Mist, euphorbia, Sweet Annie, mums and lilies. Early September is a bounty of beautiful harvest in Michigan.

Note to Bryan: We are also on customer overload with 12 more week left of market.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2005 at 10:24PM
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Noni Morrison

FLOWERFARMER that is a gorgeous dahlia! Do you know which one it is? Thanks for the list of flowers...I love the asters but didn't get those in this year either. I do have white cleome and the rudbeckias, triloba, prairie sun and a "standard" black eyed susan...don;t remember the variety. Saw some of my perennial asteers with buds on but think I am sadly short of them this year. I need to buy more to plant the spot I prepared.

Hey, It is actually raining some! About dark a storm raced in and the air turned cold. I hope it rains all night but probably won't be so lucky. IT really feels like fall!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2005 at 11:08PM
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Jeanne_in_Idaho(z5 N.Idaho)

I've made a big decision this week. It took August exhaustion to finally push me into it, but I've been thinking about it for at least two years. I'm going out of the cut-flower business. I'll still have a much smaller cutting garden, because I can't imagine NOT having one, for myself and to give to friends and take to work, but I won't be selling them. I feel very, very relieved. After eight years of this, I wanted my life back. I'll work more as a nurse and make way more money, in way less time, with easier work. As it is now, I go to my hospital job to rest up.

I'm looking forward to being just a run-of-the-mill, ordinary home gardener. I'll even grow veggies - once I get rid of a whole lotta plants and bulbs in my raised beds. I'm not sure how to achieve that, whether to try to sell or give them away, and whether I can get ANYBODY to come and dig them up for free (that's my favorite solution as it involves very little work for me). I've been telling customers, friends, and coworkers about it. Many of them sound enthusiastic about coming and digging, but not one has called me to arrange it. It doesn't help that the farm is at least a half hour drive out of the way, or much farther for some of them. In addition to the hundreds of perennials, there are maybe a thousand assorted lily bulbs and 2,000 (or more) glads.

I am finishing this season out, but that means only one more market for me anyhow. I couldn't plant my late-season producers due to knee injuries, so there will be no real late season for me. The 20-some dahlias will provide flowers for the house, I guess. 20 plants, in this climate, sure won't produce enough to take to market! They just barely get to blooming stage - and then slow way down in the cool fall weather, which is here already. The only main events left now are a few Oriental lilies and very few sunflowers for this week, then nothing.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2005 at 3:21PM
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I'm sure your decision is bittersweet...a relief, but still sad.
I hope you will continue to guide us with your wisdom which you have so generously shared.
How is the knee doing anyway?
Hope you can maybe do a little more nursing, but not so much that you get exhausted from that. Stop and smell the roses, errr, sunflowers, errr dahlias...errr lilies...whatever. Hopefully you'll get to really enjoy them, instead of them being like a commodity. Sometimes I pick so fast, I really don't get to savor the moment of each bloom and its beauty.
Good luck and thanks for all your help along the way.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2005 at 7:29PM
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Noni Morrison

Jeanne, I have missed you this summer on the forum and will miss you more as you fade out of the scene. I second the invitation to hang out with us still!

Wish I could releive you of those thousand lilies, LOL...CAn't exactly ask you to dig and ship them though.

Your customers will miss you too!

Just got my cortisone shots so good for another 3 months here. Cool weather is slowing my dahlias way down.. I am hoping they keep on producing until frost and that perhaps we will have a good Indian summer to pep them up.

Well, I hope you are abler to purely enjoy the work you will now be doing in the garden!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2005 at 9:15PM
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susiq(NW AR 6B)

Jeanne, I'm so sorry you're "closing shop", but I'm glad you posted because that necessity is seeming more and more probable for me.

I've had a HORRIBLE August. 100, 102, 103 temps all last week, the rest of the month 99's usually. No real rain in 6-8 weeks. Hurricane Katrina spun a wave of moisture this way yesterday, the town got a nice rain, I didn't get a drop. I've lost most of my karma dahlias to drought or then panicked over watering. Out of 150, I think I have 5 viable plants right now.

The few seeds I sow either don't make it to bloom stage or are still in seedling stage and can't be transplanted. Obviously, I still haven't learned to cover seed rows in the field--the ones sown last week are MIA. I may sow some more tomorrow, fast growing zinnias or suns, to have SOMETHING for the fall, but......

Also this month has been getting kids to college month. As of Sunday night, we're now empty nesters. Youngest just started college, the twins in the middle just graduated, but one is just now starting grad school in Ca, the other one is enroute to CA as I type to begin his future w/ a film industry job yet to be found, and the oldest, in Dallas has started some on-line clases to finish her degree. We've spent GOBS of money and time attending to the hither and thither of those 4, so now time and money for us is gone!

PLUS, the REALLY BIG reason I may be hanging up my shovel is that we are probably going to be moving to Arkansas, as soon as a business deal is worked out and we can get this house on the market. Every house I've looked at on-line in that part of AR is WAY high, for even 1800 sf, or LESS, and right now we're at 3500 sf w/ 1.6 acres, plus my garden spot. I'm very discouraged about farming (and housing!) possibilites up there, as I'm becomming here.

My mailer this spring brought almost no orders, I still have my one subscription customer left, but I've really had to scrounge (or buy plants) to fill her weekly order. It's been too hot to even think about hiring out for gardening jobs.

But golly gee whiz that hope still lingers, that maybe THIS fall, or NEXT spring will be better. But I don't have, and haven't had, enough money or time, and hardly any help,to ever be a "real" flower farmer, certainly never enough flowers, so, a SANE person would stop beating her head against dried cracked soil and say "I give up."

I've been lurking a lot the last few weeks. Hardly anything to share, and this is the umpteenth time for my sad story.

But, since the business deal isn't quite finalized, and I have no idea when this house will sell (gotta clean up and haul out the debris from 4 kids and 2 clutter collecting parents! LOL!, plus lots of repairs), then I may well be sitting here at Christmas, next spring, or beyond. And maybe if I'm still here I'll grow a few more things.

It's just so discouraging to go out as a failure. Jeanne, you're leaving on top of your game, touchdown pass in the final seconds of the game. Brava to you. I'm proud of you, and thank you for all your help over the years. And ditto to the rest of you.

I'm sure I'll still be here for a while, at least, because it's my favorite forum, and, I still have a few more plants to plant!


    Bookmark   August 30, 2005 at 10:24PM
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Jeanne_in_Idaho(z5 N.Idaho)

Thanks, you guys. You may be stuck with me for awhile yet. After all, I'll still have a cutting garden. I've frequently been guilty of forgetting that this forum is for ALL cutting-gardeners, not just the commercial ones, but maybe now I'll remember better!

Susi, it's sad to hear you so discouraged. You've always been so positive and full of hope. And I hope you'll be on this forum for a long time. But you're also giving me more credit than I think I deserve. If I'd been able to make considerably more money than I have, perhaps I'd have stayed with the flowers. For the money I've made, it's too much work and time for too little money. I don't know if I'd call that success. Maybe a kind of success, not completely the kind I wanted. This climate is hard to fight and really jacks expenses up. The success I can say I've had is the loyalty of my customers and the comments from them and many other passersby at the market ("your flowers are so beautiful!!!"), even the ones who didn't buy. And I will miss those comments, and I will miss all my loyal customers, and the other merchants at the market. It took me years to build that customer base, but it was working. I think I sold maybe two bouquets to strangers last market day, but I sold out completely. That's a LOT of regular customers. I've learned most of their names and tastes over the last eight years. There is nobody else at the market selling the sorts of bouquets I did, to refer them to. In a way, I feel like I'm letting them down, only because, well, I really AM letting them down!

I still can't kneel enough to plant and don't know whether I will ever be able to again. No progress has taken place in several months. It seems unlikely that my knees would let me grow flowers for market next year anyway, even if I were willing - and I'm not. I'll be using only my raised beds from now on, and I can garden in them without kneeling, just by sitting on the sides of the beds (the wide surface of 2x4's). That's more than enough space for all the cutting flowers I can use and all the veggies we can eat. The field will be re-fenced for cattle - we run a couple of steers on the pasture next to it every summer, so they'll just get more room and grass. They don't mind the cold-sink temperatures down there at all. Maybe we'll get a couple of lambs, if we get motivated to put in a fence that's more appropriate for them. Right now, my cover crop, in the aisles, is in desperate need of mowing. The rye is going to seed. But now I figure that's fine, rye would make fine forage for the pasture livestock next spring. So seed away, guys! I should transplant a lot of stuff into my house garden, but then I run into the can't-kneel problem again, made even worse by the rocky soil of the house garden.

Now that I've been to work today and broadcast the invitation, several coworkers may be coming up tomorrow afternoon to dig up plants. Yikes! The house is a DISASTER!!!! I'd better get to bed so I can get up early and clean house!!!


    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 3:16AM
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jansblooms(z4 IA)

Wow, Jeanne, what a surprise to learn that you're leaving the business. So many of us have relied on your experience. Thanks for all you've taught me.

I've been taking arrangements to school to share in the office and library, and I've had lots of nice comments, even questions about if flowers would be my next career. I've always said no, because I want my garden and flowers to always be fun. So I understand your reasons. As I've read this forum, I've often thought, "I don't have that much dedication." You flower farmers are really something!

I hope that the future, wherever/whenever, brings you better spirits than you had when you last posted. Good luck with the move!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 9:45PM
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Noni Morrison

SusiQ...I Can't imagine you in a tract house with few flowers...I hope you find something with lovely soil built by a previous gardener and a whole lot of nice old plants of just the types you love most...with room for your favorites to be added if they aren't there now. Couldn't you talk the company into moving to somewhere where a gardener can really get into it and have some results?! Time for a BIG raise for hubby so you can afford that! I hope everything works out right for you...can't imagine gardening in the temperatures you have been having!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 11:27PM
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