I hope this finds everyone happy from a successful season and ready to rest a bit.  I first want to say the National Conference in Raleigh was just wonderful.  For those of you who missed it, you missed a good one.  Leah Cook and her committee did a great job; they all went above and beyond to make sure everyone had a good time and would learn a lot too.  Great job Leah, John Dole, Gary and Sybil Calder and Cathy Jones! The Conference is in Portland next year so start planning now because you won’t want to miss the 20th anniversary of ASCFG in Portland.
    

Many of us in the South Central region have had a trying season this year.  Even though the relentless rain made it very frustrating, it’s been pretty amazing too.  I truly am grateful for so many things (it’s that being positive disease I have).  For starters, our normal rainfall from January 1 to July 1 is 20 inches; this year in that same time we had 50. This year is definitely going down as the wettest on record and boy, do we know it.  But the lakes and ponds are full, we have plenty of ground moisture (which has been lacking for the past 8 years) and all the trees look great.  It stayed green all summer instead of that “burning-up-from-heat brown” which we normally have.  And with all that, not being able to even get in the field and get sunflowers planted, planting ½ of what we normally do, sales will still exceed last year.  How can one not be thankful for that?  And for all the rain we got, other growers in the East were begging for some rainfall.  I think quite a few ASCFG members had a challenging year.  I don’t know about you but I’m so looking forward to next year and something a little                 more “normal”.  
    

Right before I came to the Conference I had 3 of my greenhouses recovered, roll-up sides and everything.  The flowers will be so happy this winter with the new plastic.  My roll-up sides were 11 years old and it was time for new ones.  I can’t believe they lasted that long.  We planted freesia and sweet peas today.  The lupine are about ready to go into the greenhouses and the dahlias are growing.  The ranunculus comes out of the cooler tomorrow and the snaps were sown today.  It also looks to be a very busy December.  The cut flower poinsettias are absolutely awesome this year.  I’ve never seen them so big and tall.  I sold out last year so it will be fun this year too, especially with them looking so good.  My customers are finally catching on to how great they are and what they can do with them.  
    

We are still picking flowers but they are slowing down with the shorter days.  What a glorious fall this has been.  Days in the 70’s and nights in the lower 50’s, perfect in my book.  Our normal first frost is October 15 and it’s looking like we will make it close to November 1st this year.  If we do, I will have the field stripped clean, which has never happened before.  I’ve already been planning for next spring but have a lot more to do.  I just love the planning and dreaming part of flower growing.  I can wear out a seed catalog during the winter.  It seems my list of “things to do” is getting longer every day, but it will all get done eventually.  I hope everyone has a great winter break so you can build that enthusiasm back up for next season.
    

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you’ve imagined.” -Thoreau