Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Garden Notes: Becoming a Farmer/Florist

This wild and wonderful arrangement ( featuring some hand picked flowers from Dandelion House)  was created by my florist friend, Shawna from Beach Plum Floral Design.
"By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer."

-   Helen Hunt Jackson, September, 1830-1885 

September is my absolutely favorite month of the year. The weather is nearly perfect, and the dahlias are putting out loads of blooms just in time for a few more appearances at the Farmers Market and  two more local weddings. I've been so focused on the task of learning to grow beautiful and healthy cut flowers ( annuals ) for the last 4 years it came as a pleasant surprise when I was asked to do wedding flowers this year as well. I am a designer at heart so I jumped the chance to get my hands dirty as a floral designer. And honestly, nothing makes me happier than working with people in a way that elevates their happiness. As a hairstylist/salon owner ( in my other life ) I enjoyed providing the service of creating the perfect style to compliment a persons hair texture, facial features and lifestyle. Designing wedding flowers is very similar I find! 
A happy outcome depends on a thorough consultation with the bride ( or couple ) if both are involved in the planning.

A mid-sized hand-tied bouquet featuring dahlias, zinnias, celosia, queen Anne's lace, sedum and hydrangea greens.

 Here are some quick tips for conducting a successful consultation: 

If you are a Farmer/Florist chances your married couple to be will want to visit your farm to see your flowers, first hand. I like to have a sample arrangement ( or two or three) available to serve as a starting point for design ideas. 

Mason Jar Centerpieces for my first clients, Mr.and Mrs Platz.
 Things to ask your clients about their wedding day on the first visit to your farm or appointment.
  •  Break the ice by asking how they met, how long they've been engaged, etc. It's always fun to get some background about the happy couple.
  • Ask about the venue and size of the wedding party
  • Find out if there is a theme for the wedding and what the bridal party colors are.
  • Find out how many table centerpieces for guests, food, dessert, or gifts will be needed.
  •  What types of flowers and colors does your bride envision? * chances are if she's sourcing local flowers she'll be happy with a mix of brightly colored flowers in a natural looking arrangement which is a perfect match for designing with seasonal flowers.
  • How many bouquets, boutineers, flower crowns, etc will she need?
  • Discuss delivery of the flowers ( time, place, etc )
  • Discuss your invoicing process and deposit requirements.( PayPal works great) So does Square if you have a phone or tablet to take payment with.
  • Tell your bride and groom you'll come up with a price based on your meeting and be sure to have them look it over prior to sending the final invoice just in case there are changes.
  • DIY Brides: Provide a list of helpful tips for brides who will be making their own arrangements and bouquets. 
Here's: What I've learned so far about adding "Florist" to my "Farmer" title this year:

BRANDING is IMPORTANT:  Take your time and create a logo that melts your heart. If you can't make one that you absolutely love then find someone with graphic arts skills to help you. Use it across the board in all of your marketing materials. Banners, business cards, tags, stickers, car magnets, stationary, etc. 

Round label for creating stickers and tags

Business Cards with website address and phone number
Vintage Sink Display for Farmers Market or Bridal Fairs
What will I do when the season ends? Well, I'll write about flower farming, of-course!

Is there something you've been yearning to try? Go out there and work hard through the fears and doubts and ignore the naysayers. It's YOUR BIG BEAUTIFUL LIFE. Make it AMAZING then share it with EVERYONE!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop # 205

 Welcome back farmgirls! I don't want to admit it but I was almost positive I could smell Fall in the air last week. And, I'm beginning to daydream about inside painting projects that I want to complete before the time change goes into effect. I know!!! What am I thinking? There's still a whole month of Farmers Markets ahead and two September weddings to design flowers for. I'm not the least bit ready to say goodbye to summer, I just find it interesting how we humans are so biologically tied to the seasons don't you? 
 Debbie ( my farmgirl co-Hort) and her hubby are knee-deep in a DIY kitchen remodel right now and watching green tomatoes on the vine for any signs of blush pink or red tinges.
 They're counting the days till harvest time.

It's time for another great round up of farmgirl posts!
Let's see what cha got! 
Have a great weekend and we'll see you on the hop!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Garden Notes~ South- Eastern Massachusettes Succession Planting Tricks And Trials for Cut Flowers

Raised beds planted in Mid-March - late May
 We're having a heat wave this week with temps in the high 80's so I'll be hiding out inside most of the day until I can get back out to the garden this evening . 

I want to talk about my experience with succession planting today. With 13 4 x12 raised beds I was able to experiment planting seeds and dahlia tubers at different intervals this season with a goal in mind of having enough cut flowers in one season to sell at the Farmers Market and provide flowers for one or two local weddings. 

 So far so good! Two farmers markets down and one wedding to go! 
Until the season is actually finished I won't have a true sense of how my plans worked out but I can tell you how it's going so far.

 Here in Eastern Massachusetts we have a fairly long growing season which goes from Mid-March - November. This is pure gardeners heaven for someone who cut her gardening teeth in the clay packed earth of the high desert of Northern Nevada. If you've ever planted a tree in a hole you dug with an auger ( auger is slang for small jack hammer ) you know my joy!

Our last frost date is Mid-March and the first is somewhere in late October/early November. 
Here are my plantings and planting dates for the 2015 growing season.

 Mid-March- late May Plantings: dahlia tubers, and gladiolus corms


Mid-May Plantings: Bakers Creek Rare Seeds ( sown direct )
  zinnias, cosmos, cockscomb, sunflowers,  
 Snapdragon and  dusty miller annual packs purchased at my local nursery.

These plantings filled 8 of my 4 x 12 raised beds and have provided all of the flowers for my floral work this season. Thus far I've created 70 32 oz mason jar bouquets from the first planting.

This is my first time growing Cockscomb and it us such a fun plant to grow. The flower head just keeps changing and getting bigger every day. I've been using them in my arrangements in the early stages of blooming and they're perfect for added pops of bright color and interesting texture.

Cockscomb and Senorita Pink Zinnia in the rear bed. 

Sunflowers and cosmos
We didn't finish construction on the other 5 raised beds until early July. I had hoped for a late June second planting, but went ahead with the early July because I wanted to see how long it would take for those seeds to germinate and flower.

Senorita pink zinnia
5 rows of zinnia seeds in a 4 x 12 raised bed
The second planting of zinnias ( last weeks photos ) is coming along and have grown  even more since these photos were taken and the plants have formed buds! It's looking like I'll have flowers for September as long as the weather cooperates. Living near the coast we are subject to coastal storms and high winds so keep your fingers crossed we don't have any of those until after my last wedding on September 26th. I'm learning the realities that farmers have been dealing with for centuries. We can't control the weather but I'm willing to gamble!

This patch of zinnias are all reds and oranges. Perfect for fall flower arranging!

Farmers Market Bouquet 
My grab n go mason jar bouquets have been a hit at the Farmers Market this season. People really like having something table ready and they make great gifts too.

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