Thursday, June 01, 2017

Thoughts, My Garden + A New Book I'm Loving

Things have been incredibly busy so far this spring with the sheep, the farmer's markets and life in general. New chicks have arrived and the hens are producing so many eggs we don't know what to do with them all. Julia is graduating from high school this weekend. It's hard to believe that is happening already. Three other cousins are graduating too - one from high school, one from university and one from nursing school. It is amazing to watch the kids grow up and move on with their lives and new adventures in life. 

I find graduations a bit tearful - all kinds of emotions well up. Just listening to the beginning bars of Pomp and Circumstance can make me cry. It reminds me of the places I have graduated from and moved on from and how much has happened since then. Jobs, friends, first apartments, buying our first house, buying our first four sheep, losing our loved parents, buying our farmhouse where we still live today and now our sweet Julia completing her days in the local public school system. I knew this day would come but it always seemed so far away. 

I haven't had an inch of time to tend to my garden. I haven't even done any spring cleaning or last year's leaves. I'm hoping they will turn to mulch so I don't have to pick them up! With all the rain we have been getting, maybe they will. Things are growing that always grow. By that I mean, flowering shrubs spring perennials and bulbs. It has been incredibly wet and rainy and cold so it has been easy to ignore it all. And more rain is on the horizon for next week. Considering last year we were in a serious drought, we can't complain. I've been doing some deep cleaning of my house in prep for family visiting but that is done now so I hope I can move outside soon and get the place in shape. No photo shoots this year so I don't feel as much crazy pressure. I do have my upcoming retreats in July which I am looking forward to. 

In the garden, my first peonies are blooming. This is some kind of single variety and it blooms two weeks earlier than all the rest of the varieties I have. 

The ladies mantle and the lambs ears are looking beautiful and full of wooly textures. 

I've been meaning to share a book I recently ordered from Floret Flower Farm. It is the first book of Erin Benzakein who has been on my radar for a few years now. She was a Martha Stewart Made in America winner a few years back. Chronicle published this book and I have been waiting to read it. I ordered it directly from Floret and received a signed copy along with a couple packages of seeds and a beautiful postcard. Erin has over 430,000 followers on Instagram and I think her book is in its 4th printing already. Evidently I'm not the only one interested in growing flowers! 

I grow a lot of flowers - mostly for my own enjoyment. I have a large garden on the south side of our house that is mostly annual flowers with a few veggies. I don't sell the flowers anywhere but sometimes I supply a local bride with flowers for them to arrange. I don't know much about flowers - only what I have learned by experimentation, from my mom or from my sister Laurie who is a fabulous gardener. At the Tuesday Farmers Market, my booth is right next to Old Friends Farm who does a big business in cut flowers. It is such a joy to see people pick up bundles of flowers that Missy and her crew grow and smile as they walk away. 

I have been curious for years about how to grow zinnias with longer stems, how to get peonies (or any flower) to last longer in a vase, when to cut the blossoms in their growing cycle.... on and on my questions remain unanswered because by the time I get in the house I forget what I want to google. 

I was hoping that Erin's new book The Cut Flower Garden would answer my questions and it has. Besides being produced in an exceptionally beautiful way, the book is packed with information. I know I will be reaching for this book frequently. 

It is arranged into different sections - an intro, basic information, and then each season is tackled. Already I have learned the proper way to determine when a peony is at the perfect stage to pick. I've learned about flower netting that if I decide to use it, it will keep my zinnias growing tall without flopping over and the stems will be longer for vases. 

It is printed on a matte paper and it is 308 pages long. It is also available on Kindle. 

If you are a gardener who loves flowers, I think you will enjoy The Cut Flower Garden too. If you are a librarian looking for a new book to add to your house and home section, I think your patrons would really enjoy this one. 

Here are some photos from the book to give you a preview. Have a great weekend everyone. 


Michele in Maine said...

This sounds like a great book! I have added it to my wishlist. My birthday is coming up and I"m planning to buy myself a peony to plant - my first! I adore them.
It has been hard to work on the garden with all this rain - I've already replanted peas. Happy almost summer! And congrats to Julia!

Auntie Shan said...

Julia graduating... ;-D Try not to feel too OLD!! The "fun" is just beginning! -- Anyhoo, give her a *BIG* HUG for me!

Great flower pics! -- BTW, I could use one of your sheep to chew our lawn! Do any of them like dandelions..? I haven't a chance to mow because of the stupid rain that has been pretty annoying up here as well. [As in when it comes down while the sun is *still* shining! - Seriously, WHAT is that about?!] We broke all kinds of local records for May. Thankfully the severe FLOODING has receded!

oh look! The sun is out again! Must get stuff done before MORE rain comes!


Nancy Nicholas said...

Hi, I heard you talking about that book and with all the confusion I didn't look at it. Now I am sorry. Maybe you could bring it down when you come to visit. Sounds great. Thanks for our visit and the wonderful joy of seeing my special grand daughter graduate from H.S. We are all very proud of you Julia and love
you dearly.

Have a great time in Maine and give Sally my love..


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