Thursday, August 17, 2017

I'm in Lisi Love ( Lisianthus)

You know that feeling when you first fall in love? Yeah, it happens with flowers too. Oh yes. It's real. The REAL DEAL! I'm in Lisi love! I get all giddy and nervous inside with first season flowers. Every thing's a mystery and there's so much to learn when you trial a new flower. Anticipations and expectations are high in the beginning until the doubts set in. Will this new addition grow deep roots with my love and care or will it not? In other words, how will this relationship end? We only have a short time to get acquainted after all. We're either going to get on or, we're not.

 I'd never tried growing Lisianthus because I always thought our coastal New England season was too short and I'm not set up for starting seeds properly so I did what every flower farming, love-sick Lisi lover does. I bought plugs. ( wrote about it here)  and prayed they would take root and grow outside in my raised beds. 

Pretty Rose Lisianthus with apple blossom snaps in the background.
And they did just that! They are tricky little flowers though. They form buds that stay small and tight for a few weeks then it takes about another week for them to finally unfurl, but when they do it's heavenly. The Rose pink were the first to bloom. Stay tuned for white and pale yellow!

I was so anxious to design with them once they were fully opened but I didn't have much else blooming at the time except for the apple blossom snapdragons which couldn't have been more perfect with their creamy white and pale pink petals. They are the sweetest smelling flowers too!

Apple Blossom Snapdragons
Bouquet Recipe:  Hydrangea foliage, early budding sedum, nine bark, deep burgundy dahlia, and dusty miller,

 The greens off the pale pinks set my heart a thumping and the deep burgundy picks up on the deep red center of the Lisi which adds drama and elegance to the over all pallet. 

But don't let those delicate paper-thin petals fool you into thinking she's a delicate flower though. These beauties can take a light rain and still stay looking fresh. They get an A+ for vase life too.
It was well over a week before they finally started to droop a little.

We enjoyed them on the dining room table while they lasted. And I took a few mason jar arrangements into Crystal Lake Garden Shop where I work play part time.

I absolutely adore Lisi's even more than I thought I would.  I can't wait to try some of the other shades and varieties next season.

Here's what I learned about my first season growing Lisianthus.

Planting:  Lisi plugs can be planted very close together. I planted mine at 5 inches apart and I'll go even closer next season for more blooms and so they'll lean into each other as they get tall. Some varieties can get up to 28 inches. You can net them so they'll stay upright as well. It's a personal choice. Some flower farmers are huge fans of netting while others find it difficult to harvest around.

They are slow growers and bloomers. They like consistent watering especially during the early growth period right after planting. This helps them grow strong, tall stems that are great for cutting later.

 Designing:  Lisi's are very popular for weddings and make a great substitute for roses. They're all the rage for the garden fresh, organic flower styling that's all the rage today.

Over all they are slow but fairly easy to grow and I had no issues with disease or pests. Weeds love to grow right near the flower stock so be careful when weeding that you don't pull the plug right out along with the weeds. I've also read that if you plant them out as early as April ( even in colder climates) you may enjoy a second flowering in September. I don't think I'll be that lucky this season as I planted the first week of June but, there's always next year!

I encourage flower growers of all levels to try Lisianthus.

Visit Farmer Bailey Plugs for a beautiful selection of  Lisianthus for your farm or cutting garden. Order early for best selection and I bet you'll fall in Lisi love too!

Stay tuned for my next post about my first floral workshop here at Dandelion House!

Put down some roots and BLOOM~

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

July in a Jar

 How is July almost over already? July is my favorite month for flowering perennials and this month everyone is putting on a show. 

 This jar is filled with endless summer hydrangea, fire and ice hydrangea, day-lily's, cone flower and scented geranium.

The cut flower beds are lush and green and the dahlias, lisis and snap dragons are setting buds but it feels like it's taking forever for them to open up. I wonder if the 66 degree temperatures the last couple of days have anything to do with it? I mean, it is summer, right?


I planted a gazillion Amaranth seeds in one bed and they are doing quite well! I haven't decided it I'll thin them yet. Oh, I tucked some sunflowers in there too! They take up so much room on a bed of their own I figured I'd sew them in with something else. I'll keep you posted on how that experiment works out. 

The lisianthus are almost ready to pop. I think they are anyway? You know what they say though,  "A watched flower never blooms"...

I hope you're all enjoying some pretty blooms this summer and spending time with your loved ones.
I'll be back soon with a farm update! I have a new flower cart on the way and some other exciting farm and floral news to share! Stay tuned!
And if you're on Instagram follow me @dandelion_house for daily updates and news!


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Goodbye Soggy, Foggy Spring ( I hope )

Grasses, Knockout roses, sedum, lavender, winter berry shrubs and weeds.
Howdy friends! As I titled this post I thought maybe I should call it the Dandelion House Quarterly, since that's the last time I posted. Forgive me? Spring, 2017 has got to be the soggiest, foggiest spring I can recall in all of my 16 years in Plymouth, MA. It's been a challenge to get everything in the ground around the cold temperatures and perpetual rain.

 The top photo shows the sun shining, but it didn't last long. However, the perennial gardens are loving the cooler, misty weather we've been having. Me, not so much. May 31st is my cut off date for getting in the dahlia tubers and seeds. But, if it's too wet they can rot so I put it off another week and a half before finally planting them. It proceeded to rain for 4 of the following 7 days afterwards and it seemed like it took forever for green sprouts to pop up out of the soil.  Now that I've gotten some planting done, I'm excited to share some progress, even if it's slow as molasses. My apologies for sounding like a whiny backyard flower farmer.

 I planted 120 tubers all in one day. They are beginning to poke through in their own sweet time but one raised bed filled with Cafe Au Lait dahlias all broke through the soil at the same time and appear to be growing at the very same speed! It's like they choreographed it that way. Five, six, seven ,eight, and GROW!

Cafe Au Lait's plays well with brighter flowers as well as similar pale tones.
 I also ordered in some new varieties of Chrysanthemums from Kings Mums.  
this year. I like to space them a couple of feet apart. Once they're about 12 inches tall, I'll cut them back to encourage more growth and buds for late summer and early fall.

  They come in as healthy plugs with at least 4- 5 inches of growth on them. You can specify your delivery date when you order so they arrive when it's safe to plant in your zone.
You can order them in early and pot them up in small pots, then plant them out after they harden off. 
 Or, you can throw them to the wolves like I do and just plant them straight out into the garden after the danger of last frost. 

Most mums are October and November bloomers which I just love because they truly extend the growing season in a beautiful way. 

Annie Girl, Coral charm, Seton's J Dore, Seton's, Ashleigh. 
 They don't look like much right now, but these cute little Apple Blossom Snapdragon plugs will be lovely in about 6 weeks. 

The same goes for the Lisianthus plugs below. I'm excited to see how it goes with them especially with the cool spring we've had. Fingers crossed! My friend, Monica of  Prince Snow Farm Blog and I shared a plug order from @farmerbaileyplugs.

Rare Seeds also sells seeds for Apple Blossom Snapdragons. 

Lisianthis Seedlings.

Rose Lisianthus Johnny's Selected Seeds
 I have some messy trees nearby and with all the wind we've been having things are a bit messy 

looking but I'll get it all shaped up eventually! Needless to say, I have lots of weeding to do still in the larger gardens as well.
No wonder I feel so soggy, foggy and behind this spring! 
Here's to brighter days and blooms this summer!

In other news, the New England Farmer Florist Facebook Group has grown by 100 members since our first meet and greet in March. Stop by and say howdy! And join if you like. While the focus is on New England growers and designers, we enjoy all types of flower connections. :) 

I hope your flower farming endeavors are coming along. Every season brings new challenges, whether it be the weather, garden pests or diseases, or slow sales. Spending time in the flowers in never a waste of time.  Pray for sunshine and warmer days ahead. The flowers and I need it! 

Put down some roots in bloom! 


Resources: Kings Mums,   
                 Eden Brothers 
                        Longfield Gardens 

*I don't receive any compensation for including links to these wonderful flower websites. I've ordered from all of them and they all have great product and wonderful service. I'm happy to share. 

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