What I learned growing spring flowers


It is important to me to share the ups and downs of flower farming. There is a lot of trial and error, a lot of learning on the job, and a lot of figuring out ways to do the job better.


In an effort to share what worked and what didn't work, below are my observations, which includes what went well and what I would change. I am also including a list of many of the different flowers and foliage we used to create market bouquets each week in April and May.


Focal Flowers:

Tulip

Narcissus

Anemone

Ranunculus

Bearded iris

Peony

Lily


Filler flowers (perennials):

Lilac

Pieris

Hellebore

Candytuft

Tickseed

Foamflower

Azalea

Baptisia

Siberian iris


Filler (annual):

Bachelor button

Phlox

Dianthus

Snapdragon


Detail flowers:

Fritillaria

Muscari

Sweet pea


Foliage:

Fern

Solomon's Seal

Ninebark

Spirea

Itea

Lamb's Ear

Oregano



What went well:

  • Each week, the colors in the bouquets came together in an incredible way. I did not plan out color schemes. I filled my bucket each day with what was ready to be picked and used up everything I had each week to fulfill orders.

  • I had a fridge to use for flowers. Due to the amazing gift of an old fridge from a friend, I had a place to store bulb-on tulips, narcissus in the goose-neck stage, and flowers right before they burst into bloom. This allowed me to have the flowers I needed each week for customers.

  • The no-till tulips were very easy to harvest and made growing tulips very easy.

  • The White Almandine ranunculus were a huge asset this spring. They added texture and color to 4 of the 8 bouquets.

  • The narcissus bridged a gap between tulips and ranuncs. They are perennial, smell lovely, and need so little attention. I ordered a lot more for next year.

  • Perennials definitely came to the rescue each week.

  • I loved the delicate look of the fritallaria in the bouquets each week.

  • Bearded iris were a surprise hit.


What would I change for next year:

  • There were a few weeks in April when the tulips had petered out, and I felt I did not have enough to fill bouquets. I figured it out with the help of my mom's beautiful garden; but I realized that I should have planted quadruple the amount of tulips as they store well and can easily be rehydrated. My plan is to add tulips and narcissus for 2023.

  • The lilacs did not store well in the flower fridge. I would keep them in a cool room in my house and add them into bouquets before delivery. I also turned the temperature up so that the fridge is warmer.

  • Something ate the colorful ranunculus mix that I had fall planted for early spring blooms. This was very disappointing. The colorful mix was not as healthy as the White Almandine variety...fertilizing with fish fertilizer each week definitely helped the ranuncs that survived winter.

  • A late frost and an early heat wave affected bloom time on the farm. The frost cut down some of the hardy annuals and biennials that I had planted out in the fall. An early heat wave took out the ranuncs and anemones. I can't change the weather, but I can improvise coverings for cold or sun.

  • I love the sweet peas, but I have found that I haven't been incorporating them into bouquets as much as I thought I would.