May 2019 - State of the flowers
May was a lovely month full of sunshine for the plants here! So it’s time for another flower update on the blog.
This month was full of Dutch Iris blooming in golds, blues, purples, and antique shades. These were something I planted last fall on a whim just to try out and I really enjoy them as cut flowers. The Lion King variety has been my favorite so far. It has a beautiful light fragrance that I notice every time I sit near the vase, so I’ll be planting more for next year!
Other heavy bloomers this month were my Geom, filled with giant stems of fluttering orange blossoms.
I also have quite a few violas that self-seeded from a plant I grew last year and many of these plants have gotten quite tall and full. However, the violas I began from seed in February and planted in April still remain quite compact. I’m unsure why the violas from last year are doing so much better. Perhaps since their mother plant grew in this soil they’ve had time to get used to the micro climate here, and some do have more shade than the new varieties do. Regardless, I’ve got more viola seed varieties on the way to experiment with planting them closer together and in more shaded areas to see if they will elongate their stems. I adore having them in vases, and talking to friends the sentiment is similar. Many people love 6-10ins tall stems for short vases! I’m also planning on doing a large fall planting of violas this year to overwinter them and see if that will give them a jump on next spring’s growth. Experiments!
Many other seedlings went into the ground this month and now I’m impatiently waiting for them to grow larger and produce blooms. Cosmos, zinnias, branching sunflowers, and calendula are just a few!
In other news, I finally took soil samples and sent them off this month for testing. Once I got a recommendation for a local company who does soil testing it all fell into place. Surprisingly the soil here is quite good!
The results only recommended adding lime to up the pH and some nitrogen for the flowers in the form of blood meal. I mixed these both into the empty beds before planting the seedlings and also top dressed around the other plants to give them a boost. Everything seems happier already!
Last fun piece of news is that I now have several different varieties of sweet violet plants. Viola Odorata is a diminutive species of scented violet that was used for perfumery and cut flower production very heavily in the 1800s but fell out of favor in the early 1900s. So much so that few people have ever seen one now. This is such a shame since they are quite lovely, blooming in every shade of blue and purple imaginable with a clean lingering scent.
I hope to be able to propagate these few and begin my own patch for cut flower production! They bloom in late winter, early Spring on (you guessed it) 6-10in stems. So I have a lot of work ahead of me to get them going. Plus, I have a lot of work ahead of me to get this whole flower farm going! Till next month!