Newsy Update

Thanks to each of you who responded to my email regarding favorite new crops and farm tours. I thought a quick summary would be fun.

Great Crops

Talinum! We had three people report how happy they were with this easy crop. If you haven’t tried ‘Jewels of Opar’, I’d definitely suggest a try. We planted four years ago and have had ample self-seeding volunteers since, a low-budget investment! The seed easily germinates, and the little round seed pods are a perfect accent to design work.

Lilies. Several growers reported benefitting from having a reliable, long-lasting, focal flower with predictable bloom time by growing lilies in crates. Roselilies were especially popular. I find that customers either love or hate lilies—hopefully your customers are in the ‘”love” category, because they are a great, easy crop to grow.

Marigold. Again, several people appreciated the ease and reliability of marigolds. I second that! While we’ve trialed many kinds, I personally prefer ‘Optiva Orange’ and ‘Oriental Deep Gold’ for long stems and productivity. ‘Chedi’ is another great series, and some growers loved the ‘Tangerine Gems’ too.

A few other crops people liked: sweet Annie (Artemisia annua), Sunfinity sunflowers, ‘Uproar Rose’ zinnia, campanula ‘Flore Pleno’, and delphinium ‘Belladonna’. I love the diversity of this list. Here are a few I might add: Lysimachia clethroides (with weed barrier pathways to keep it contained), Celosia cristata ‘Zara’, and lisianthus ‘Rosita’ and ‘Advantage’ for bouquet work.

Farm Tours

I received wonderful messages from many of you about the ASCFG farm tours you attended in 2021. You all are ready to reconnect! I’m happy to report that as a board, we hear you, and are working on multiple ways each of you can do that at your own comfort level. We are hoping to offer both in-person and virtual meetups and educational opportunities this coming year. Here are two excerpts from emails you sent that I found particularly great:

“I always come away from them with a sense of camaraderie with other growers. The ability to learn from others’ success and failures without needing to make them all on my own is valuable. And I always find little nuggets of how the grower is doing something in their business that shifts how I think about troubleshooting in my own business.” Marci Fellenbaum, Riverside Blooms, Washington Boro, Pennsylvania.

“One of the things I loved about visiting Roots was that many aspects of the farm felt like the complete opposite of my farm, but we share many similar goals and have found very different ways to get there. It was a reminder that there is room for SO MANY different models of flower farming.” Maya Kosok, Hillen Homestead, Baltimore, Maryland.

Both of these responses convey the beauty of seeing other farming models, implementing what may work on your farm and your business, and the amplification of learning that results. To me, that is the essence of our beloved ASCFG. Cheers to 2022!

Michelle Elston

Roots Cut Flower Farm

Contact her at [email protected]