My spring has been life changing, and one I’ll never forget.  I was the most organized and exited about my business as I’ve ever been and then… my dad got his cancer back and my life took a dramatic change.  During this time our part of Texas actually came out of the drought, experienced little or no real winter conditions and it felt like spring began in January.  It was awesome growing conditions and I don’t believe we lost a plant to any freezing conditions. I carried a tomato crop through the winter and not once did the heaters come on in the greenhouse.

From the end of January to the beginning of April I pushed myself and my employees to keep up with all that we had planted and tried to maintain the weeds because everything was and is growing like gangbusters while I was going to the hospital at least 3 days a week to sit with my dad who was fighting his battle, and spent about 4 hours on the road everyday going back and forth.

Unfortunately he did not win his battle and we lost him on April 9th. I’m supposed to fill our regional members with ongoings in the region but at this time there is nothing that can come out of my head except thoughts of my wonderful dad. He was a wonderful Christian man; a dairy farmer, rancher, pecan and peach grower; father; husband of 55 years to my mom, and a great friend to many and filled with knowledge. He knew more about farming than anyone I know. He could look at the grass or plant and tell you what it needed without a soil test. I am so blessed to have had him as a dad.

He taught me work ethics that have made me successful with my business. I worry about today’s generation because a lot of the youth do not have work ethics or morals. My dad inspired me to follow in his footsteps and teach our children those same good work ethics. Nobody wants to work anymore and you have to go through several employees to find one good one. It’s so hard to be the boss sometimes and not hurt someone’s feelings and tell them they aren’t working out but we have to remember we are in the business to make money instead of being frustrated when it takes that one employee to cut one sunflower while you are cutting four.

During my dad’s illness and death, I always knew how important life and family are but now I really know. When dad passed he left us a nice family farm loaded with cattle, a pecan orchard and the desire to keep his operation going for my mom. Of course I can’t do both—but wait a minute, yes I can. So I’ve had to rethink things and more or less mainstream my operation while still running my dad’s. I’m definitely learning to delegate duties and not have to have my fingers in every part.

This whole ordeal has thought me to prioritize and get rid of baggage.  Baggage is plants you like to grow and add in there but they don’t really make any money.

I was able to attend a few farmers’ markets during February and March and two other two growers, Kim Haven and Gita van Woerden, also had amazing springs. Gita was able to grow beautiful tulips and a lot of new crop material tha she has never grown before. Kim planted lisianthus in the fall and on Mother’s Day she had 2’ tall lisianthus stems harvested from 4’ tall plants. She sold 10-stem multiple bunches for $12.00. I grow lisianthus by planting out in March and don’t harvest till the beginning of June, but no way would they ever reach four feet and have that kind of vigor.

Local green movements and supporting local farmers are still very much alive and prospering in our part of Texas. My wedding business is great and seems to be getting better all the time.  Weddings can be such an interesting venture. I’ve had the opportunity to make everything from bouquets, corsages, halos, flower garlands for cakes, wreaths to a lay for a horse that a bride rode into a wedding on.

In March I was called to do all the arrangements for a wake funeral. Then in April when my dad passed, one of my florists took all my flowers and made all the sprays for the family from my flowers. She made them look spectacular and you can’t imagine how that made me feel. Two weeks after the funeral, our son was married and his day brought tons of joy to our family and needless  to say, I did all the flowers for their wedding with lots of family help and that great florist friend of mine.

Interesting note on the flowers:  My daughter-in-law wanted anemones, larkspur, delphinium and dahlias for her choice of flowers, all purple. I held all the flowers in the cooler for three weeks to the wedding date and they held amazingly and looked awesome for the wedding. I would never do that for a sale to a customer but for a wedding where they  are used only for that weekend, they worked great.  I sprayed all the flowers with crowning glory to keep the moisture after they were designed but didn’t put them in the cooler till they were sprayed for at least two hours.

While I was so busy with my life, Nancy Bartlett from Louisiana was planning a wonderful Regional Meeting to be held at her place on August 6th. Look on the website for any and all information and if you have any questions, please call or email me at [email protected] .

Rita Anders

Cuts of Color

Rita Anders Cuts of Color Contact at [email protected]