Winter on the Farm

I'm hunkered down in the thick of winter enjoying my planning and organizing, but still longing for the flowers of the 2018 growing season.  Particularly my favorite, ranunculus, which I've just planted about 1,000 of in the greenhouse.

IMG_1906.JPG

The goal is to get buckets upon buckets of these beauties for a month starting in mid April.  They're the perfect wedding flower; rose-like, but better, with many overlapping petals.  They are really a wonderful flower for any purpose.

IMG_3361.JPG

I first start with prepping the beds.  We have 4 in our greenhouse and prep consists of clearing the debris out, giving the beds a thick layer of compost, tilling, and raking.  I then mark the rows, 5 per bed, and plant the presprouted corms 6 inches apart staggered in the rows.

Pre-sprouted ranunculus corm

Pre-sprouted ranunculus corm

Now it's time to wait for these to grow and flourish.  We'll be adding heat, hopefully next week, to get things going faster for these little guys.  Our seed starting will also begin next week, so our season will slowly get cranking. 

IMG_1356.JPG

I'm so looking forward to the beauty this season will bring!  Even though Phil saw his shadow today, I know there is the promise of so many flowers come April.  Until then I'll get my flower fix by offering Valentines Flowers sourced from flower farms in the US.  Be sure to pre-order flowers for pick up at our Pop Up Shop at Jeannie Bird Baking Co. in Westminster. 

Why Buy Local Flowers?

By choosing to purchase flowers from us, you are getting the freshest blooms in a range of varieties and colors that you won’t find at an average store or florist.  I mean, I buy flowers occasionally in the winter and I NEVER see lisianthus, dahlias, zinnias, and the myriad of other varieties that we grow (over 100!).  Yes, the varieties are fleeting; we don’t have dahlias in the spring or lisanthus in June.  But that’s part of the charm, isn’t it?  Seasonal diversity, and it’s all beautiful.

Liza with her lisianthus

Liza with her lisianthus

This might be the obvious reason to seek out our flowers.  There are also some other factors that you may not have thought about when buying from Tierra Blooms.

We are a tiny farm in Taneytown that grows lots of flowers on a little bit of land.  Our total farm is just under 4 acres, but the soil we cultivate is ½ acre.  We tread gently on the earth, growing with organic methods.  When you buy our flowers, you are enabling us to grow over 100 different varieties of plants, which is a great land use when it comes to preservation and ecological benefits (you should see all the insects we encounter during the season!).

Most flowers bought in stores or at florists are largely sourced from South America or other far away places.  This makes a large environmental footprint, using fuel and chemicals in abundance.  By buying locally, you reduce this nonsense and put money into your local economy.   It’s a win-win.

Our little business is woman owned.  I am privileged that I am able to do a job that I love. There is hard work, dedication and love all intertwined on this farm.  This season we're able to build a team of employees who are also passionate about this work.  When you buy our flowers, you are letting us follow our passion and grow as people.  For this we are so grateful!

So when you think flowers, may it be for your upcoming wedding, for a weekly pick me up, or for a holiday gift, please think about Tierra Blooms!  You will not only be getting a bundle of lovely, you will be supporting so much more!

Awesome anemones coming at ya for Valentines!!

Awesome anemones coming at ya for Valentines!!

How to get our flowers:

Flower CSA – If you are a weekly or semi weekly flower buyer, the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Bouquet Share is for you!  Community Supported Agriculture programs are just that, a community that supports a farm.  Last year we had about 30 CSA Members.  Members pay before the season starts for farm product distributed through the growing season.  In our case, members receive a large market bouquet every week (whole share) or every other week (half share) for 16 weeks from June – September.   This is great if you frequently buy flowers or you want to have more flowers in your life!  It also makes a wonderful gift. 

Valentines Special!  If you buy a Whole or Half CSA share before February 14th, we will give you a free Sweet Little Bouquet on Valentine’s Day!  If the share is a present, we’ll also include a card describing your most unique and thoughtful gift.

Valentines Day Flowers - This Valentine’s Day we are offering flowers that were grown by our colleagues here on the East Coast, who have heated greenhouses!  We aspire to heating greenhouse space to grow flowers in the winter, but we’re not quite there yet.  For now we will patronize our other local growers who have mastered this not so easy task.

Valentine’s Day Ordering – How it works

Pre-order online to reserve your flowers for pick up at Jeannie Bird Baking Company on 2/14/18 from 11 am - 1 pm.  The Bakery will have a special V day menu if you also want to pick up a sumptuous sweet to knock it out of the ballpark.

The Big Love Bundle will include 30 stems of very special flowers, including anemones, tulips, stock, snapdragons, and beautiful foliage.  Flower colors will be pastels and they will be double wrapped in a beautiful paper flower cone.

The Sweet Little Bouquet will include 15 stems of specialty flowers, including anemone, tulips, stock, snapdragons and beautiful foliage.  Pastel colors & double wrapped in a beautiful paper cone.

As our official season opening draws closer in April, we'll touch base on some other places to get our flowers!  Stay warm, think spring, and savor all the seasons!

Ranunculus - A Favorite (Or: Do You Like Butter?)

Ranunculus is a favorite of mine.  This will be my 3rd year growing this fluffy, many-petaled flower.   What’s to love?  It’s one of the first flowers to bloom that we cultivate, shining bright in April.  It is big, fluffy, and colorful; beautiful when petals are tight, but even better when blown open, black center showing.  It has an amazing vase life, upwards of 2 weeks.

IMG_0507.jpg

These are the obvious reasons to love it.  But did you know that the genus ranunculus includes the common buttercup?  The big, blousy cultivated varieties are Ranunculus asiaticus, but the old, run-of-the mill yellow buttercups found wild in fields here in the mid Atlantic are also ranunculus, Ranunculus acris.  There are 500 species of ranunculus, but isn’t it fascinating that the cut flower beauty is related to the buttercup?

IMG_0463.jpg

Another reason that I love it is that (like most of flower farming) there is an irony in cultivating its beauty.  It’s grown by a most ugly corm that we acquire dried, shriveled, and brown.  We soak it until it gets plump and fat and then sprout it in a dark basement until green emerges.  All of this brown, cold, ugliness to produce a most exquisite bloom.  There is a lot of not so beautiful that one would not expect as we tread through a year on a flower farm and this process of growing ranunculus encapsulates the grit involved in growing flowers overall (I know, hard to believe, right?).

This year we will have ranunculus in April if all goes well.  We’ll fight the voles to keep the fleshy corms in tact under our greenhouse soil, and if it goes according to plan we’ll have buckets of the most gorgeous blooms come spring.  I really can’t wait.

Photo credit:  Mary Brunst Photography

Photo credit:  Mary Brunst Photography

Until Spring!  xoxo  ~Jackie

Josie & Frank's Labor Day Wedding

As we are weathering this frigid cold I have some time to focus on last season's wonderful weddings.  Josie and Frank were married on Labor Day Weekend, when dahlias were plentiful and temperatures were warm!  I love the pure white flowers and dusty greenery.  It was a pleasure to work with this family who were very committed to using local flowers!

Bridesmaid Bouquet with Dahlia, Hydrangea, Eucalyptus and Dusty Miller.  Photo credit: Magnality Photography

Bridesmaid Bouquet with Dahlia, Hydrangea, Eucalyptus and Dusty Miller.  Photo credit: Magnality Photography

Isn't this bridal party the cutest?  I love the dress color!  Photo credit:  magnality photography

Isn't this bridal party the cutest?  I love the dress color!  Photo credit:  magnality photography

Josie's bouquet was full of lots of beautiful local and natural elements.  Photo credit: Magnality photography

Josie's bouquet was full of lots of beautiful local and natural elements.  Photo credit: Magnality photography

We are busy planning for next season's weddings, farm plans, and more!  I look forward to keeping the blog updated in 2018 so that you can follow along.  It's gonna be a great year!

 

This week on the farm

This last week of December brings us some seriously fluctuating weather.  Yesterday was 70 degrees, a record high, and today is 45 and raining.  It has been disturbingly mild, save for a short cold spell in November.  It was enough of a chill period to send the buds on the trees into dormancy, and this warm snap was enough to trigger them to break bud.  Driving down the street in Westminster today we saw pink cherry blossoms flourishing in the chilly mist.  This is not good news for the fruit farmers.  I also wonder what it means for us with all the bulbs that we planted.  I have a feeling we should be fine, as it looks like winter is here now, or at least coming in the next week.

On the farm in yesterday's mild weather I was able to get out and finish up some planting that was lingering.  Some Austin Roses and a few straggler Peonies went in outside and I continue to plug away with the Anemone planting in the greenhouse.  Now it's time to buckle down with seed inventorying, ordering and planning for the new year to come.

We've certainly been enjoying a restful holiday break, too.  Visiting family and friends and spending time with the kids have been highlights.  I hope you had a wonderful holiday and a have a very healthy and happy New Year!

This week on the farm

Things have slowed down rapidly this Thanksgiving week.  We've been working hard to get all the fall planting done and are finally feeling mostly finished.  The list was long of what went in the ground over the past month.  We've been focusing on adding a lot of perennials to our gardens which will produce flowers for many years, without having to replant.  We have also planted thousands of bulbs and corms; tulips, ranunculus, and anemone among them.  Dahlias are lifted and tucked into our root cellar.  There are still a few more loose ends to tie, but it's all feeling a bit more doable now.  Coming down from this whirlwind of a season, I am so grateful for this little bit of downtime!