When I came home from the ASCFG National Conference in Tacoma, I was greeted by three of my grandchildren. What a homecoming! My daughter had called me as I was getting on the plane, needing me to babysit, and wanted to know when I’ll be back. I told her not till around nine and that she should call her dad to watch them till I arrived.  I read stories and played until we all crashed at 10:30, which was way past all our bedtimes, but that’s what grandparents get to do. It’s nice to keep them and then get to send them home. The next morning I was off to my deliveries and back home to get flowers ready for a nice size function on Saturday. No rest for the weary.

The National conference in Seattle was well attended with full tour buses and packed educational conference meetings. Diane Szukovathy and Dennis Westphall from Jello Mold Farm in Mount Vernon deserve a huge pat on the back for a job well done. Also thank you to all their volunteers that helped and kept things moving. Good job.

I posted pictures on the ASCFG Community Network. The pictures give a small look at our tours and some of the interesting things we saw and some of the growers in attendance. This reunion of growers from many states is a wonderful opportunity to network with other growers and suppliers. Relationships are made that will last for a long time and it always nice to put a face to a name. The ASCFG is a wonderful group of folks and I guess that’s because we all love talking about our flowers and things that make us happy.
Seattle was a world apart from Texas, and everything was extremely wet and as someone from Texas, I was wondering how anyone gets anything planted here. We embarked for 2 days on buses and what a sight we saw. Mountains were always in the distance and either misting rain, cool or foggy conditions were amidst. There wasn’t much growing there that would stand the heat of Texas but it was wonderful to see. It had just frosted one week before we arrived and most crops were finished.  I sure would have like to actually seen the peonies in bloom or the house of ‘Café Au Lait’ dahlias. It also would have been nice to come a couple of days early or better yet, stay a few more days. I wasn’t ready to come back home to all my work.

Last fall was a really long one, with no frost, and we were still able to pick zinnias, sunflowers, lilies, gomphrena (dang stuff won’t die), broom corn, celosia and marigolds through November. We did succession plantings and tried to get everything to go till Thanksgiving while hoping we didn’t get that early frost and that’s what happened. It also appears a dreaded drought has set in again because everything is turning brown due to no moisture, and we’re not seeing the normal winter green.

We slowly cleaned out crops as they finished and worked in our new crops. We have Karma dahlias, ranunculus, anemone, sweet peas, lupines, ageratum, African blue basil, snapdragons, delphinium, and campanula planted in unheated or minimally heated greenhouses to be harvested in January.

We also have ornamental cabbage, calendulas and dianthus planted in our outside beds. There are many crops we will be direct seeding in our beds in the next couple of weeks which include larkspur, bells of Ireland, coreopsis, Centaurea cyanus and bupleurum. We will also direct seed poppies, cosmos and Rudbeckia triloba.

We also start seeds to statice, scabiosa, dill gallardia, salvia blue bedder, fennel and orlaya and transplant out into the beds in early March.
I want to encourage everyone to attend the meeting on March 4th and 5th at Texas Specialty Cut Flowers in Blanco, Texas, where you will see all these crops and more. Frank and Pamela Arnosky are longtime members of the ASCFG and pioneers in growing cut flowers here in Texas.  They are very well known for their book We’re Gonna Be Rich! and numerous years of columns in Growing for Market.  The Arnoskys will be hosting an entire day touring their two Texas farms which consist of greenhouses, farm buidings and fields of flowers.

A few of the topics they will offer will be growing methods, postharvest and marketing options. All ASCFG members are encouraged to attend the 2013 meetings, as there will be no national conference in 2013. The next National meeting will be at Longwood Gardens in 2014.

Happy growing and see you in Blanco.

Rita Anders

Cuts of Color

Rita Anders Cuts of Color Contact at [email protected]x.com