Friday, February 24, 2017

My Slow Flowers Podcast with Debra Prinzing

February has been cold, wet and snowy here in New England. Just the kind of weather I like to get down and dirty on clarifying my goals for the upcoming growing season. I'm so excited to get started in the gardens again. There's plenty of cleanup to do and planting lists to complete. The good news is that we are about 10 - 12 weeks away from being able to sow seeds outdoors. To keep busy I've been networking and making plans with my flower peeps from near and far to keep me blooming on the inside until planting time!

Debra Prinzing 
Last week one of my dreams came true when I sat down for a Skype interview with Debra Prinzing, ( author and founder of the Slow Flowers Movement). You may recall my interview with Debra here in February, 2016.  If you haven't tuned in to Debra's podcasts you should really put it on your calendar to have a listen. Whether you're a hobby gardener, master gardener, budding flower farmer/floral designer you'll learn first hand what's happening in the changing floral landscape around the cut flower industry in America. It's revolutionary on every level.

Debra asked me about my brand, and my writing, my cut flower gardens and floral designs and she was especially interested in sharing with her listeners some exciting news about an event I am co-hosting with three other farmer/florists in Massachusetts in March. The New England Farm and Floral Meet and Greet in MA.

I founded the New England Farmer Florist Connection Facebook Group in March of 2016 with the idea that farmer/florists in the New England region needed a place to connect and share their growing experiences online. In the back of my mind, ( okay, not so much in the back) I also dreamt that one day we might meet in person to network and find new ways to help one another in our farm and floral endeavors.

It's happening!!! On March 25th, Flower Farmers and Floral designers are traveling from Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts to meet face to face and I couldn't be more thrilled that my instincts were right.

 I'll introduce my talented co-hosts in an upcoming blog post and share more about our dream location for the event. In the meantime, please have a listen to my podcast with Debra Prinzing to learn more! Every episode is educational and inspiring as well as FREE! Stay tuned!

And, remember. Whatever you dream you can do, you CAN do!

Put down some roots and BLOOM!


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

FEARLESS Flower Farming ( plans, goals and dreams 2017 )

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. Elizabeth Appell

Happy New Year, friends! Are you one of those people who chooses a word that inspires you at the start of every new year?  A word that will help you stay true to your path? I love the anticipation of claiming a word that motivates me to get moving in the directions of my dreams, even if it means not playing it safe. I don't mean diving in with reckless abandon and ignoring important priorities in life for the sake of success alone. I'm talking about puzzling your way through how to bring your plans, goals and dreams into fruition and plowing through the fear one small step at a time.

I often think we make things much harder than they need to be so we sit on ideas much to long before taking action in exchange for waiting for the perfect time to start something new or finish something old. I have been guilty of this, but heck, I'm 55 now and I don't have that kinda time anymore. That's why I chose the word FEARLESS for my touchstone word for 2017 and I meant to hold myself accountable. Here's how I'm gonna do it. Every time I have an idea I'm going to write it down, then I'm going to puzzle out how I can make it happen with pen and paper right then and there instead of waiting an thinking, and thinking and waiting. I'll make a short list of steps I can take to get the ball rolling. I'm a firm believer that we all have the power to work in unison with the universe to manifest whatever it is we desire in life but it takes practice and practical application to get results. We must be dedicated, passionate, AND FEARLESS!

Here are a few things I plan to be 100% fearless about in 2017.

First of all, I'm going to continue to listen to my flowers. You read that right. I LISTEN to my flowers. When I trust the direction they take me in I always feel as if I'm being true to my path even if it's scary because I'm trying something for the first time. There's a bit of thrill in throwing yourself into the unknown which I admit I kind of like sometimes.

 WRITING~ I'll let you in on a little secret. I'm writing a book about my backyard flower farm.  I've queried (and been politely rejected) by some of the top book publishers in sustainable farming and gardening genre's. It's frustrating to be rejected over and over especially when you believe you have something you want to share and you know others will benefit from it.  So I'm just gonna self-publish the darned thing because I believe in it that much. So, my first " Fearless Flower Farming act will be to take action on completing and publishing my first book.
I'll share how I started farming my backyard in 2012 with lots of nitty-gritty info to get you started on your way to an ever expanding cutting garden for your own personal enjoyment and steer you into small scale backyard flower farming for profit. My hope is that you'll find it to be an inspirational,  useful guide in your gardening endeavors for years to come. What  topics would be of specific interest to you?

DESIGNING~Make that two little secrets. I've had the urge to dabble in painting my flowers for some years now, but just hadn't gotten around to buckling down and making it happen. I've always thought it would be neat to design products for home and garden use. The world is your oyster when it comes to mediums for creating art and how you blend them to make it your own. I've discovered a fun way to paint flowers like I've always wanted to.

This is one of my all time favorite images of an arrangement I made one afternoon while just playing around with different vases and flowers. In this image I was experimenting with using a vintage glass flower frogs for stabilizing flowers with shorter stems.

And the finished acrylic painting of the same image below. I can't tell you how gratifying it was to get that out of my system! Now I'm ready for the next one and the next one after that! I can see this on the cover of garden journals, paper goods, fabric, scarves, stationary, note cards. Some of my facebook friends suggested tote bags and bed linens too!

TEACHING~ For me, the growing part of flower farming is easy. I love to be outside amongst the flowers wearing God knows what, no makeup, sweating up a storm without a care in the world. I'm happiest that way, but there's a part of me that longs for sharing what I've learned and helping others achieve their dreams too. No more hiding behind the flowers! No more waiting for the perfect place or time.This is the year I'll really start my workshop series. Plans are in the works for a series of workshops here on the farm in my newly constructed studio. I'll be recruiting some local flower farmers and floral designers to co-host with me. Interested in collaborating?  Drop me an email!

Backyard Flower Farming 101, Dahlia Days, Mums and Me Workshop, and one or two more if I can squeeze them in. ( fingers crossed it's up and ready by the first of June). If not, we'll put up an Easy-up tent and do it anyway! I'll keep you posted on dates and times.

Naturally I'll be trying new varieties of cut flowers this coming season and I'm anxious to share my planting list with you in my next post!
In the meantime, go out there and be fearless in the pursuit of your dreams!
Put down some roots and BLOOM! 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Living Gifts for Christmas

 Howdy friends. I'm popping in for a short farm update and to share some great last minute " living gift" ideas with you. Some of you may remember that I went to work part-time at a local nursery back in April. It's been a great compliment to my own flower farming endeavors and quite an education to go through the growing season from a garden center's perspective.

 One of my favorite things about this time of the year at the garden shop is still being surrounded by seasonal living plants.  Paper whites and Amaryllis bulbs are some of the easiest bulbs to force. Paper whites will grow in pots, jars, tubs, bowls, soup tureens, what ever you have on hand.

Amaryllis bulbs take about 8 weeks from planting to bloom time and make a lovely, bold impression indoors during the holidays. Once dormant you can store them away until the following year and start all over again! 

I may be showing my age here, but do you recall the taste of Wintergreen gum? Did you know that it's the Tea Berry that gives it that wonderful sweet flavor? You can taste it immediately after popping one in your mouth. They are darling in a small container inside until the ground thaws then they can be planted outside after the danger of the last frost in your garden zone to be enjoyed year after year  in your garden.

Christmas Cactus is always the perfect living gift for indoor gardeners. This winter flowering plant comes in a variety of bright tropical colors and will brighten a windowsill like no other plant can.

 They are happiest placed in indirect sunlight with temps between 60 -70 degrees. Christmas Cactus are easy to propagate which makes them a great plant to grow and share.

 Working at garden shop has opened my eyes to the other side of the growing industry making me all the more grateful and passionate about my backyard flower farm endeavors. I love guiding customers in the early design stage of planning their gardens and assisting them with plant choices and you can bet your last pack of zinnia seeds there will be more of that happening in the coming year. 

That said, I'm so ready to go inward now that my own little farm has been put to bed. 
I'm excited to have some quiet time to plot out what's next for Dandelion House 2017. 
Please stay tuned! In between blog posts you can find me on Instagram @dandelion_house

Merry Christmas and thank you all for growing with me! 
Put down some roots and BLOOM.

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