Well, it’s that time of the season in which I begin to look back at the year and evaluate.  What did we do well?  Why and can we do it again next season?  What didn’t go so well and did we have any control over it?  What are all the things we will do differently next year?  What can I do and what can I grow to increase my sales?  The list of questions goes on and on.

And of course, there are always things to be grateful for and the list for me is so long, there is not enough space here to mention them all.  The most important thing is that I learn from everything, especially the things that go wrong, or are just mistakes or accidents.  It all teaches me something, which in my opinion is the best part of growing flowers or anything, for that matter.  We should never quit learning.

One thing that turned out exceptionally well this year is the cut flower poinsettias.  It will be fun to see if I sell them all since I’m growing 200 more than last year and I sold out last year.  The rooted cuttings arrived the first of July this year and we put two cuttings in an 8” pot.  I put lights on them and gave them long days until the last week in September.  The lights then came off and they had normal short days.  I sold some of the first cuts this past week (November 26-30) and they are stunning.

I already have standing orders (which are good) and sales should increase as it gets into December.  The photo shows two of the pots sitting on the greenhouse floor and next to a 32” tall table.  This is the first time I’ve been able to get them that tall, so you can bet I’ll be doing the same thing next year.

This time of year is also good for projects we just never have time for during the really busy part of the season.  Growing year-round makes working on projects increasingly difficult, but we manage to get a few done every year.  This year one big project was to get permanent beds built in the one greenhouse I have that doesn’t have permanent beds in it yet.  It’s a good project.  It makes better use of the greenhouse space, teaches everyone how to use power tools and also how to do a simple construction project like that.

It also shows all my employees that I am still the queen of pounding in 2-foot stakes with a sledgehammer.  They better not mess with me! Ha ha!  By the time you read this, that greenhouse will be full of growing seedlings.

We have several other projects we will try to get done during January, one of which will be pretty involved.  We need more storage space so we are going to build a loft with stairs.  We can store light things on the loft, like boxes of inserts, boxes of pots, some tools, etc.  Then we can store our equipment under the loft and still have lots of open floor space to work with.

I just finished reading a monthly business magazine I get and ran across a very good bit of wisdom that everyone should remember, especially when there are rough days.

Listen to your instincts.  When you come to a crossroads in your business and the path is unclear, trust yourself.  Do all the research you can, but pay attention to that nagging voice in your head.

Stick to your vision.  When business is booming and growth is good, it’s easy to get distracted and lose focus.  You have to decide what success means to you, and it’s not always about money.

Be adaptable.  Don’t let setbacks demoralize you; use  them as opportunities to grow and improve.

Stay humble.  No matter how successful you become, never forget where you came from and who helped you get there.

That last one I can thank ASCFG and all the wonderful people I’ve come to know being a part of this organization.  What a really big thing to be grateful for.  Have a prosperous 2008 growing season, everyone.

“Do just once what others say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again”.       

James R. Cook