Now that my winter garden chores are fairly complete I feel that I finally have time to post more. I was very focused on my cut flowers this year and on getting my new and much larger cutting garden up and running.
Most of my cut flowers are grown in raised beds. I find it easier to amend my very sandy soil and it also helps any drainage issues as Central Florida can get pretty wet at times. Because I live in a wooded area I am always running into tree roots when I am trying to plant so raised beds eliminate this issue too. It took me most of spring and into the early part of summer to get all the raised beds made, installed and filled with soil and compost. Tough work in that heat and humidity! By August I was at least able to plant some annuals to enjoy throughout the fall until it was time to plan and prepare to plant my flowers for spring. Those summer months and even into September and October can be brutally hot but Zinnias just shrug off the heat! They might be a bit common place but when nothing else dares to flower I am glad of their exuberant faces!
As summer melted slowly into fall I was really happy to have the first of the Heirloom Chrysanthemums start to flower. This was my first time growing these wonderful flowers and I am completely hooked! They arrived as baby plants in the spring and I grew them on, pinching them out to keep them bushy, with the final pinch in July. They started to flower in October and continued until mid-December.
I just love the soft colors of these gems and their lovely fluffy textures. I wasn’t expecting them to do as well as they did so it was a pleasant surprise to find that our climate suited them well. Apart from the odd aphid they were tough and resilient. It is wonderful to find a fall workhorse for the cutting garden and I already have an order placed for more this year.
In November most of the annuals were pulled out of the beds – always hard when they are still flowering and I replanted for spring.
These are the Anemone beds and they are already starting to flower
Ranunculus are also on their way.
The cold snap that descended on Central Florida in the last couple of days took everyone by surprise. It has been so warm and everything seemed so advanced that the bitter cold seemed especially cruel. I covered everything that I could with layers of Agribon frost covers but it was still not enough for about half of my Dahlias which are just sad looking piles of blackened leaves. They will probably be back again in the next few months once it gets consistently warm again. I have other babies which I am bringing along, so hopefully all is not lost. It’s a bit of a challenge growing them in Central Florida but so worth the effort and odd disappointment when they are as pretty as this…
It has been a busy year filled with workshops, helping at weddings and learning so much about growing and arranging cut flowers. Going forward the focus of this blog will shift to represent these new interests and to encourage others to get involved in the local flower movement too. I have met so many wonderful growers this year from all over the US, both large scale farmers to modest growers like myself. We all have a sincere wish to see more local and American grown flowers used and appreciated and we all share a love of beautiful, natural garden style arrangements. Follow along if this is something you enjoy too, but naturally I completely understand if your gardening interests lie elsewhere. I’ll be catching up on your adventures too!
Back soon with more cutting garden updates!