But then, my work is farming. And after a long day of sowing seeds, tending plants, harvesting, processing and bringing goods to market, I don’t usually make room for writing - until now.
I’ve been growing flowers on a small scale since I began managing a ten acre Community Supported Agriculture farm six years ago. I learned from my farming mentor, Rose Koenig, a veteran organic farmer in Gainesville. She shared with me her knowledge of what grows well in our area, when to plant what, and how to harvest and care for blooms properly. I learned how different varieties behaved in the field, how different seeds had different requirements for best germination results, and what time of year different blooms could be expected. I fell in love. I felt like I could just cut flowers all day and never tire of admiring their different shapes, colors, forms, textures, and scents.
After four seasons managing Rose’s Organic Farm, my good friends Noah Shitama and Emily Eckhardt graciously invited me to farm with them at Swallowtail Farm in Alachua. Here I have had the luxury to allow myself more time to focus on flowers. With each growing season that has passed, I’ve experimented with more varieties than I probably should. When I first started out, I could be sure to rely on sunflowers, marigolds, sweet william and zinnias to fill our market bouquets. This season I counted over 70 varieties on our flower seeding schedule! While we still grow many of the great standards, I’ve poured through my flower growing guides and resources books to add ernigium, bupleurum, agrostemma, gypsophila, craspedia, and scabiosa to our repertoire. I'm already scheming on what to add to next year's list.
So let this journal start here, with the beginning of spring. It is my hope that through this blog I can share my love of all things that bloom, the challenges and triumphs of growing them, picking them, arranging them, and witnessing the smiles they bring to people’s faces when they receive them.