Wow. It’s turning out to be a good season so far. Shoppers at the farmers’ market are snapping up lilac and baptisia like they’re food. Vegetable transplants are going for premium prices, and I have high hopes for the big peony crop just now coming in. Most of the South has had rain and more rain. We also had a very late frost, leaving us with bitten fingernails and sore backs from watering and covering lots of perennials. We were lucky—or slow—though we didn’t have our annuals out yet, like most of the southern farmers.
The down economy has blessed us with very good helpers for the first time in many years. And for better or worse, brides are calling us for flowers because they perceive “regular” florists as too expense. Last fall before the big downturn I decided to raise a few prices. We have stuck to them, with no complaint. I’m now sure it was the right thing to do. Fuel, labor and materials cost were very high last summer: something had to give.
We’re working on a grant from ASCFG this summer. We purchased the plants last summer but they were too small to plant in our pasture-grass infested field. We are working with several perennials using the timing of pinching to slightly delay the bloom time, or spread it out over a longer harvest period. I’d love to hear from anyone already doing this. We are using phlox ‘David’, phlox ‘Blue Paradise’, a pink, late, unnamed, disease-resistant garden phlox, heleniums ‘Red Shades’, ‘Mardi Gras’, ‘Coppelia’, and ‘Kanaria’. We killed Helenium ‘Tiny Dancer’ already.
See you at the Conference. I’m really looking forward to the session on weddings. Check out my very short blog or photos on flickr.com or drop me a line www.shady-grove-garden.blogspot.com