Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Flower Growers School

Last weekend I had the incredible opportunity to attend a Specialty Cut Flower Growers School put on by The Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and Washington State University Mt. Vernon Research and Extension Center. I learned SO MUCH in the two days of the workshop- everything from crop selection, seed starting, harvest and post-harvest flower care, hoophouse and greenhouse construction and crops, succession planting, business planning, crop costing, beneficial insects and dealing with pests in a sustainable manner.... the list goes on and on. It was a conference full of super helpful and pertinent information, and it left me so inspired and ready for the next phase of The Botanique Cutting Garden, the 500 sq. ft. area in our backyard that is rapidly turning into a mini, urban flower farm! I feel like I am only just beginning to digest the smallest little fraction of what I learned, and can't possibly fit it all into one blog post. So for now I will just share some photos of one of my favorite parts of the weekend, a tour of Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, where the second day of the workshop took place.

The hellebore beds at Jello Mold Farm- LOVE THE HELLEBORES!!!
One of my favorites, love that dark purple, grape juice color
Columbine, just starting to poke up through straw mulch.
Soil Blocking- a great way to start seeds.

Dahlia propagation!!!

Diane Szukovathy (my new hero). Diane was one of our teachers for the weekend, and she and her husband Dennis Westphall run Jello Mold Farm. I have gotten to know Diane and Dennis through purchasing their flowers at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, and it was so awesome to see where and how their flowers are grown.

It was a truly inspiring weekend! It made me want to move to the Skagit Valley and farm, farm, farm..... but for now, I am STOKED to get the Botanique Cutting Garden going for the year! Small-scale, urban flower farming- YES! 

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Two centerpiece mock-ups for a wedding I am doing this June.... very different styles, very different color palettes, but both are very RED. 

Centerpiece #1 features deep RED roses, carnations, and snapdragons, scarlet spray roses and ranunculus, dusty miller and agonis foliage, and, my personal favorite, black pussy willow.

Centerpiece #2 features the same deep RED roses and carnations, Spicy Roses (the burnt orange roses), a few sprigs of eucalyptus, coral bark maple twigs, and a few orange parrot tulips:

The jury is still out on which design will be selected! Which would you choose?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

One more arrangement before we hit the road....

Tomorrow, Eli and I are heading off to Breitenbush Hot Springs- yes!!!! But before we go, a few shots of an arrangement I made today for a friend's booth at the NW Flower and Garden Show.

Please excuse the blurriness... there was gorgeous light spilling into the basement when I went to grab a crate to pack this bad boy up, and so I decided to "get crafty" with my photography and take a photo in a location other than that trusty fence you may have started to recognize from almost. every. flower. photo. I. take.

But then I got frustrated with my camera (which was not doing such a great job of focusing this low-light situation) and had to take the photo operation outside to.... you guessed it- the fence!

Ahhh, the fence, where there always seems to be just enough natural light...

Ranunculus, Acacia, Dusty Miller, Eucalyptus, Pussy Willow and Drumstick Allium.

Enjoy the weekend and Valentines Day! Botanique is NOT taking Valentines Day orders, but I will be working at Terra Bella Flowers on V-Day, so if you want flowers for your sweetie I recommend you get them there!

Monday, February 6, 2012

February's Hellebores

Oh spring, oh spring, could it be true? Are you here yet? This weekend brought two 60 degree days, and it sure felt like spring. This weekend also brought the first crocus and snowdrop sightings of the year, and the first arrangement of 2013 made with with flowers from the cutting garden!

Dusty Miller, Green Amaranth, Green Berzillia, Pussy Willow from the Vashon Island Adventure of a few weeks back, and the infamous HELLEBORE.

If you can find a place to plant a few hellebores in your garden, I would strongly recommend that you do!!!! They are without a doubt one of my favorite plants- gorgeous flowers in FEBRUARY, when almost nothing else is in bloom. Depending on the variety, they come in an assortment of different shades of rose, plum, white, cream and chartreuse. The variety I have growing right now is Helleborus niger 'Joseph Lemper-" the flowers are pure white, and as they go to seed the blooms turn a light, lime green color, with the backs of the petals turning dusty rose. They are truly gorgeous...

Most often they are billed as shade plants- they will bloom and thrive in the shade, however I have also found them to be extremely durable and unfussy in the sun- in one of my gardening clients homes, they are part of a completely drought tolerant parking strip that receives NO irrigation- and they bloom and grow like nobody's business. You can cut back the foliage in late fall, or leave it through winter and cut it back in early spring when they start to bloom (I am a fan of the latter method as their evergreen foliage is a nice addition to a winter garden). Plant a few- trust me, you will LOVE them.