the 2015 season has gotten off to a whiz-bang, challenging start, to say the least.
one month ago, we were waiting (impatiently) for the final foot of snow to melt, and today we’re capping off a solid week of 80+ degree days, with no rainfall for over three weeks.
what does this mean? for the average person, it means that spring has been the most spectacular symphony of flowering everything, but for the flower farmer, it means that four weeks worth of carefully planned succession plantings have all bloomed all at once.
it means that 7500 narcissus popped into bloom, simultaneously with 9000 tulips.
my ranunculus crop flew out of the ground and bloomed on stubby, short stems. thankfully, florists are up to their ears in prom season and have snatched up these desirable (and high maintenance) flowers for corsages.
the unseasonably hot, dry weather also means every flowering tree variety, from the earliest blooming magnolias to the queen of spring lilacs, and every crabapple, apple, cherry, plum, quince, dogwood, viburnum, redbud etc., etc., has unfurled its glory, all this past week. considering we had over 7 feet of snow melt to replenish our parched ground, the trees have responded with the most floriferous and splendid show on record. I can hardly keep from driving off the road as I rubber-neck and gawk at the glory.
but tender transplants don’t benefit from the deep quench of spring melt. they need cool temperatures and gentle rain to settle into their new beds. the harsh hot sun and the lack of rain has wreaked havoc on my cool flower seedlings and seed beds. we have been running our well ragged hand watering, sprinkling and irrigating, all in a desperate attempt to keep them alive. I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that we’ve managed to keep the 1000’s of transplants happy (enough) to profit from their flowers in a few weeks.
now, I got into this mess because I am unnaturally obsessed with flowers. but it is a business, and businesses need to make money in order to survive. instead of four weeks of spring markets, I’ve had one week to unload all of my flowers.
the most challenging thing about running a flower farm business is the herculean amount of work that must be accomplished daily, from seeding, transplanting, fertilizing, watering, weeding, picking, bucket washing, leaf stripping, bunching, bouqueting and arranging to marketing, emailing, billing, accounting and driving. whew! and did I mention I have three children to feed and nurture?
all three boys pile on excessive neediness this time of year, the top of the flower season when mom really gets busy, distracted and all around frazzled. my youngest is still my best and most willing helper in the field, always willing to pick flowers and give himself a “chicken bath.” (for those of you who don’t know, chickens “bathe” by rolling around in the dirt!) my middle son still negotiates chores with ipad time, and my oldest boy still loves his special one-on-one time with me, helping design and sell at markets. I also have to crow that he just got cast in Connecticut Repertory Theater’s production of Peter Pan. my first role as a stage mom!
I’m no spring chicken, and the wear and tear is starting to take its toll on my aging body. it didn’t help that I stepped on a rake and broke my nose a few weeks ago!
but despite the craziness, my husband likes to pull me under the apple tree and remind me how blessed we are that we don’t sit in traffic, we don’t have bosses we don’t like and we don’t have to stare at a screen inside all day. instead we make the earth laugh with glorious beauty and provide people with food for their souls.