Sunday, November 17, 2013

Quotable Sunday 11/17/2013

Meeting New Friends

The internet can be a wonderful tool, a pain in the butt, and a massive sinkhole of time.  The wonderful aspect to being connected with the world is to find fellow flower nerds who have the same passion and desire to play in the dirt and grow beautiful flowers.  We are connected around the world with such wonderful people, some very far away and down under; some on the east coast and west coast; and some you find are surprisingly  in your back yard.  We had the chance to meet a fellow flower grower this week and get a tour of her farm. 

Elizabeth and her partner are the flower purveyors of Rosehill Flower Farm up in West Linn, Oregon just about 75 miles north of us.  Elizabeth gave us a tour of their operation this last Wednesday.  Elizabeth is in the beginning years of turning her father-in-law's family homestead into a seasonal flower growing operation. Her passion for locally grown, seasonal and a sustainable flower operation is so very evident and inspiring. As we walked the grounds, she show us the different areas where she plans to grow shade loving flowers such as hellebores, bleeding hearts, Japanese anemones, ferns and more.

Elizabeth's knowledge is backed by varied  interests and took the time to be trained as an experienced farmer/gardener who is a Certified Organic Gardener through OSU Extension and Oregon Tilth and holds a Permaculture Design Certification.  As we moved around the property, Farmer Tony and I became envious of her wonderful sandy loam and the talk turned to soil, minerals and cover-cropping.
Her soil is wonderfully friable, drains well and is very fertile. All an excellent combination for achieving success at Rosehill. 

Her farm is situated in the woodland hills just minutes out side of Portland and when we asked about deer pressure she showed us the new deer fencing that they were putting in.  Awesome!

             As we moved around the property, the new greenhouse came in to view.

A beautiful 75 ft structure that is currently holding an array of colorful spring ranunculus. This is a new crop for Rosehill farm and they are very excited about having them this spring.
Just a few finishing touches and the plastic skin will be going on in the next week. Whoo hoo!

Perennial beds of foxgloves, geum, columbines and many more are planted and ready for spring.
                                           Chickens and bees are also part of the operation.

One great advantage that Rosehill farm has is, her father-in-law is a retired machinist who can fabricate anything she might need for the farm.  He is also restoring a farm truck as a hobby.  Cool farm truck!

After a wonderful farm tour, a lovely lunch, we chatted about the growing popularity small growers and local flowers are  becoming with designers, florists, and the general public. The consensus was that we  growers, as a group, need to continue our efforts in promoting locally grown flowers to designers and florists in our community  and help educate the end consumer about the value of  locally and sustainably grown flowers. 

We could have chatted all day long, which is the best part of meeting a fellow flowers friend.  The things we find in common, the shared experiences, the trials and tribulations, and the shared knowledge is so very great and truly inspiring.  At this time of year we have the time to visit other farms and learn and grow as farmers.  So with a hug and a invitation to come see our operation; we were on our way home re-energized and made a promise to make time to come back to Rosehill Flower Farm in the Spring and see all the beautiful flowers.  Check out Rosehill Flower Farm on  facebook at Rosehill Flower farm.

        "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:     'What! You too? I thought I was the only one." ―C.S. Lewis

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Quotable Sunday 11/10/2013

Before and After the Frost

We had a horrible wet September followed by a beautiful sunny dry October. This gave us hope to have flowers for as long as possible.  While we did not stay in our farmers' market as long as we hope or planned; we were able to provide our designers with flowers through October and November.  Our last deliveries were last week.  We were able to choose perfect flowers from these varieties.

Then we got the warning that our night temperatures would be around 28 degrees, so I walked the fields taking photos of some of the flowers and picked a couple of buckets for me and our home.  Felt like I was saying good bye to the flowers for the season.  It has been a rough season for some of the flowers and I felt I needed to acknowledge the effort that some flowers did just to bloom even this late in the season.  The bugs and the critters were especially bad this year and lots of flowers never made it to bloom. 

                                              A bittersweet walk through the fields.

          As predicted the night temperatures dipped to the high 20's and our flower season was over.

So we begin the new season, our 10th flower season this 2014.  All our ranunculus and anemones are tucked in to the hoophouses,  all snug, warm and greening up.  Our new spring season bulbs are going in even as the tips of some of last years bulbs are poking through. 

                            We are redoing the floor and putting in new pallets for our crate house.

       We took time for a very short notice day trip to see about growing fall  mums at King's Mums!
They were all so wonderful and it will be a challenge to choose which varieties we are going to grow for next fall.

So as the leaves continue to turn their beautiful autumn colors and the work slows down a tiny bit; we continue to dream, scheme and plan for another glorious flower season.  The temptation to hibernate from the cool gray days is huge but the payoff of all this fall work is so much more rewarding and wonderful in the spring, it keeps us moving forward.

November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.”
Clyde Watson
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