May 2, 2020

Spring Blooms Update

Do you love fancy daffodils? Do tulips make your whole day brighter? If so, we could be friends!

Spring flowers are some of my most favorite blooms ever! Maybe it’s the long winter of nothingness, but when I see those bright colors and frilly edges, it just makes me so happy!

This year has been an interesting one for spring bulbs here at the farm. First of all, with COVID-19, I closed my floristry business for most of the month of April. April is daffodil and hyacinth season here. I had Daffodil Alley all to myself. I much rather would have shared the bounty with all of you! 
Such is life.

I mean, I enjoyed seeing those pretty little flowers every day, don’t get me wrong. I cut a few to bring inside, but for the most part, I just let them bloom on their own. Most spring bulbs do better—as far as coming back the next year—if you don’t cut them.

Daffodil Alley was a mix I planted 2 years ago. 
Also, yes, I need to weed and mulch this area very badly!

Of all my hyacinths out back, I had 1 small bloom this year, and for some reason—no doubt relating to the weather—it bloomed on such a short stalk that the florets were basically still in the ground. That seems fitting for life right now, in a way. Blooming in the ground. Anyway, I have found that a lot of what I do during the growing season is hedge my bets against the unpredictability of the weather (as the frost cloth post attests.) I need to learn more about why that happened so that I can prevent it next year, if possible.

So this week has been the week of tulips! During cooler springs, my tulips have lasted for more than a month. I’m thinking I’ll be lucky to get 2 weeks out of them this year. We’ve had several days in the 70’s already. Tulips come and go so fast in the heat. In fact, I’ll show you.

These pink tulips in the picture above are a variety called ‘Sweet 16.’ They are usually my first tulips to bloom. Even so, they aren’t generally in bloom at the same time as those big yellow daffodils—that’s a first this year. This picture was taken about a week ago. Now the pinks probably have only a couple of days left—if that—before the petals drop. The next wave, which are dark pink tulips planted nearby, have also already started blooming. If we get several more hot days, these gals will probably all be done and gone before Mother’s Day.

About the only way I know of to stop that situation from happening is to have a cooler. If you harvest the entire tulip bulb, while the flower is closed but showing color, you can keep it in a cooler for a long time—weeks—and then as soon as you’re ready for it, you cut off the bulb and put it into water at room temperature, and you get the same vase life as freshly cut. Alas, no cooler here yet. Also, I just barely re-opened for business yesterday. (YAY!) So, I may be purchasing my tulips from a fellow flower farmer in Ogden this year for Mother’s Day orders.

I have loved the Snakeshead fritillaries under my plum tree out front. Their flowers are little nodding purple checkered (!) bells. Or white. They come in snazzy purple-checkered or pure white, because they are the flapper girls of the spring bulb lineup. These were underwhelming last year, first spring after they had been planted. Now in year 2, they were fantastic! I wish I had been open and could have shared some with you in arrangements. I had 10 clumps out there, and some of those stems got to be 15-20” tall! It was amazing! In comparison, last year, my tallest stem was maybe 6”. They seem happy there, so I’m hoping they just keep multiplying and dividing. You know, all the math. Flapper math. 
(Is it past my bedtime? Probably. Ha!)

Anyway, what else? Oh yeah—alliums are sending up shoots and my big purples have buds on them again. Excited for those. All the new ones I planted out in the perennial beds in my cutting garden are still just green shoots.

Snowdrops were no-shows this year. I wonder if they got eaten by something.

Grape hyacinths are so cute! Also, way too short this year to use in any kind of arrangement, even the minis. It’s okay, though. My 2 year old keeps picking them and bringing them to me to put in a tiny 3” vase that we have. I’m thinking that once again, the heat wave is the culprit. I want to experiment with planting a whole bunch of them in the shade and see how they do.

My lilac bush is loaded with buds. I have yet to keep those blooms hydrated once cut, even with every trick in the book. Guess what, though? I recently cut some of the budding branches and put them in an arrangement. The buds stayed hydrated! I don’t expect them to open up or anything, but they made for some great texture in my arrangement.

Oh! One more note about tulips. The pale yellow and white tulips I had out front—I think they are ‘Jaap Groot’—finally have some decent blooms this year! Quick recap of their life story: Year 1—eaten by deer all the way down to the ground. Year 2: recovery year, with maybe 2 very short blooms. Year 3: (right now!) Probably 10-15 tulips blooming at a normal height! YAY!!

I know you’re going to ask—what did I do to keep the deer away? I will tell you my secret: plastic forks stuck around the tulip foliage, tines up. I’m not even kidding! The deer haven’t bothered my tulip flowers—they just love to eat that foliage as it first comes up. The forks give them a smart poke in the nose when they try that. So yes, I have forks in all my flowerbeds now, protecting my precious tulips!

**Bonus: find the fork in the tulip photo above! :)

All right friends, I’ve got to sign off before I say something really goofy. Good night! I mean, see ya. 

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