Update – Early Summer 2011

by Bob on June 13, 2011

Wow! Mid-June already. Peonies are done, lupin is done, baptisia has bloomed, lilac is history, and hydrangeas are just starting. Four Ligonier markets (out of 20) and two Pittsburgh/Upper St. Clair markets are behind us. On the other hand, much lies ahead.

Peony harvest was a Chinese fire drill. To be stored the peonies have to be harvested at just the right stage of development. Cut too soon, they never open, and cut too late they are already blown open. Frequently you have only an hour or two to catch the bloom at its prime. Normally they mature over a two week period, but this year we had some very hot weather, and harvest took place over about 5 days. We have 300 plants (about 3,000 blooms) and Miss Sally spent a lot of time over a short period harvesting and storing peonies.

Our asparagus harvest is now over until next year. Rain, cold overcast days, and short bursts of heat cut the harvest period about two weeks short. The yield has not been calculated, but it won’t set any records.

Our new, “red” lisianthus is starting to bloom – only it’s some sort of a shade of pink, not red. The catalog lied. We also have lots of orange lilies which were described otherwise, and some “blue” dahlias that look a lot like the purple ones we already had. This is almost as bad as the year I ordered a special Peruvian grass, only to discover it was a local weed, and we already had more than enough.

Our summer help is almost here. One girl is still recovering from school with a family vacation this week, and then the crew will be complete. With all the rain and cool weather the grass and weeds have grown nicely and need to be controlled, and some added help will be most welcome.

Thanks to the greenhouses and high tunnels we have a good collection of colorful flowers and the market displays look fabulous. We have lots of dahlias and lilies, peonies out of storage, hydrangea, Bells of Ireland, cut shrubs like itea, and even small sunflowers grown in cells in the greenhouse. We are also cutting basil for restaurants and the markets. In the next few weeks the assortment will be even better.

Our fifth wedding of the season will be on June 18, and there are lots more after that one. While stressful (for us, as well as the bride) they are fun as they take some added creativity. There are pictures in the gallery of several past events, and there will be more from this summer, later.

In addition to the markets and weddings, we also take orders for special events like anniversaries, engagement parties, bridal showers, baby showers, parties, and receptions. If you want something special that doesn’t look like FTD, give us a call. If you want something really unique we will turn the Queen of Funk loose. She loves to use grasses, weeds, seed pods, and sticks and is most creative.


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