Spring Fever 2016!

Over the winter planning takes place. What goes where? How much to plant? What are we short on? What do we grow too much of? Spring is when it all starts to come together.

Over the winter I go nuts with the seed catalogs – ordering new varieties or plants that we haven’t tried here before. Spring seems to be when I get the plant and bulb bug.

The pussy willows I started last year had the most fabulous pink tinted catkins. They were our first blooms of the season. Other early bloomers are popping out of the ground at a phenomenal rate this year, furthering the excitement. The lupine planted out last year looks so healthy and happy! The new flowering shrubs are beginning to show buds.

While doing research I often come across flowers that make a fabulous cut that we’ve over looked. This fall we will plant brodiaea. How did I miss this flower? It keeps well in the cooler, has an excellent vase life,  and blooms very early. I definitely need these in purple, white and yellow.leuc_aest_grav_giant

And what about these beauties? Leucojum would make such lovely additions to spring bridal bouquets don’t you think?

 

 

And then there is the rose desire……

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queen-of-sweden-roseAlthough roses are a pain here and the Japanese beetles love them as much as we do, I have ordered more garden roses this year. The plan is to build a structure around them and screen them off with insect netting. I am determined to grow at least one bed well. To me, there is nothing like the scent of well grown roses and I think there is almost no flower more beautiful.

And while we are lusting over early bloomers, I may as well add some more flowering shrubs. That wish list is long! And more coral peonies and maybe should I order some yellow peonies? You can see where this is going. Once bitten with spring fever, there seems to be no cure.

 

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Thank you

2/25/16

Thank you for all your get well cards, blessings, delicious food dishes, and well wishes! I am now vertical and above the sod, thank you! Whew.

A caring friend and floral designer gently reminded me “No farmer, no farm”, trying to remind me to take it easy and I assure you all, I am being good. I am happy we chose this time of year for the surgery, I am able to put off the heavy lifting stuff and am getting most of what needs to be done, done. 86 flats of seedlings started so far, (it’s just pure delight to see the little seedlings pop out of the soil!) doing most of my own animal care now, and I even got to shovel a little snow yesterday. (Yes I was careful!) Onward!

So here’s the low down and gory details. I know I’ve been quiet; I tend to crawl off and lick my wounds in private.

I am recovering from the second heart surgery in a year because the first surgery back in April 2015 didn’t work. This time they did it the “non-invasive” way, which believe me, is about a zillion times more painful than having your chest cracked open (which isn’t exactly a picnic). They didn’t get this second surgery absolutely right either and had to open me up a second time to remove the drain tube that they stitched to something they shouldn’t have been stitching to. The sorry thing is they figured that out after yanking on the %&@! thing for half an hour or so, which is no fun, nor would they listen to my complaint something wasn’t right. Just keep on yanking! Genius. (A friend of mine thought it would have been a smart move to just have a zipper put in at this point.) This added a couple of days to my escape plan and I’m sure more time to recovery in general.

I do have to say I had one nurse who shined. Deborah, was an angel and really, really truly cared! (Maybe she could write their nursing manual) Her smiles went a long way, she listened when something wasn’t right, and she always, always remembered to move the call button back to where I could reach it. Otherwise it seemed like no one really gave a damn. Just another patient in the busy day of nurses and docs. I was so happy to get home before something else went wrong!

On a happy note, I was born with this pesky mitral valve problem and otherwise I am blessed with a healthy heart. Can’t wait to be back on both feet, and hopefully go back to avoiding major medical stuff for many, many years. I am looking forward to saying “It’s over, this worked, it was worth it!” and to having my energy back!

 

The Season at a Glance

 

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Matters of the Heart & Fragile Phsyche

All farmers feel the pressure of winter coming on, prices that refuse to gain one ounce of sanity, the pressure to “get it all done” before the first frost, the first freeze, the first snow, or the first of the year. After the frosts and freezes, there are endless tasks to be done. Cleaning up the fields and getting ready for next year is no small feat. And tubers need to be dug, labeled and stored before turning to mush. We work until Mother Nature says we can’t work anymore and then still need to get more done.

And added to the endless “to do” list is the fact I have to get my mind wrapped around the frustration of having open heart surgery for a second time this year because somehow “a stitch came loose”. Symptoms are exhaustion, dizziness, visual “disturbances”, shortness of breath (aggravated like crazy by bending over), retaining water until my work boots don’t fit. It’s frustrating to just plain not being able to do some of the things I need to do.  The surgery, as of now, is December 10th. Hopefully between fall clean up and seed starting, which begins late December for us.

With the shorter days, I feel myself making time to have a coherent thought not related to the business. I feel myself taking a step back, taking inventory of things that are important to me, practicing gratitude and practicing saying no in a polite manner, but loud enough that I am heard. We get so wrapped up in the go-go-go of the season, we forget there are other things in life – like sanity and health.

Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. ~Lao Tzu

 

Waiting, waiting, waiting – Visiting The Farm, Photo Shoots, Pick Your Own Events, Ect.

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As this season winds down I realize, again, I don’t have enough hours in every day to get the work done that running a flower farm involves. And a large part of the problem is due to appointments “just to see the farm”, pick your own appointments,  people who want to do “photo shoots” here – and chronic lateness. By nature I am a giving person so I tend to let people come, but I now realize if I want to stay in the flower farming business, I can no longer continue on this path of waiting, waiting, waiting.

Today I had 4 appointments. One showed up on time, one called to let me know they were running (an hour) late, one called to let me know they were running late, then just plain never bothered to show up. And, as I type this, my three o’clock appointment is already 30 minutes late and hasn’t had the courtesy to call yet. This is Saturday, after a loooooong week. Everything is screaming for my attention, but I have stopped what I was doing, washed some dirt off, and waited at the flower shed to welcome people to the farm at their scheduled time. This equals nearly an entire day of waiting for people. And this is pretty typical with appointments lately. I certainly don’t understand how common courtesy got so far out of fashion.

So, that being said, we just can’t offer public photo shoots, pick your owns, or appointments to “just see the farm” any longer. We need to take care of our brides, our regular customers, and our flowers first and foremost. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to sit and wait.

 

 

Something Blue

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True blue flowers are a rarity in nature. It has been estimated only 10% of all flowers are “true blue”. Out of that number, only a few are worthy as cut flowers. The problem? No plant has a true blue pigment.

To confuse matters further, many plant and seed companies tend to call a variety “blue” when it is truly, and often obviously, a purple.

Blue flowers that we grow here, along with flowers that create an illusion of blue, are ageratum, bachelor’s buttons, baptisia, blue mist, clematis, delphinium, forget me knots,  globe thistle, grape hyacinth, lace flower, lisianthus (misty blue) nigella,  phacelia, pin cushion, salvia, sea holly, Spanish bluebells, statice, veronica and, new to us this year, tweedia.

If true blue flowers are blooming on your date, it is a true gift!

 

 

 

For the Love of Floral Design – The Peony and The Peacock


Katherine, the owner of The Peony and the Peacock , came out to do a photo shoot with us yesterday. Not only did I have a blast, but I was in awe of the magic she wove with our flowers.

Katherine begins her design in an old coal bucket. She has chosen flowers that add not only content, but meaning and understanding to her design. From what I could hear, she speaks in flowers.Katherine’s talent not only lies in her floral design work, but also in the way she translates emotion into her designs.

Peony-and-Peacock-GN2H1777I was shooting away, watching her work with her design still facing away from me. When she turned it around, I swear I about fell over. It brought tears to my eyes and goosebumps to my skin. Nothing could have prepared me for the beauty I couldn’t see. Life is like that sometimes. And she was far from finished.

As she continued to add to this stunning creation, it became – unearthly in it’s beauty. My photography does not begin to capture what words can’t even describe.

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words

Peony-and-Peacock-GN2H1915And then, from the goodness of her heart, she gave this incredible, this amazing, creation to me!

Thank you Katherine! I will certainly enjoy.


Contact Info:

Katherine Seeburger CF
The Peony & The Peacock
email: katherine@thepeonyandthepeacock.com
phone: 248-891-8991

Snakes, Frogs, Toads and Spiders

Awwwww
Awwwww

We had a group out a few weeks ago to pick their own flowers. I heard a loud shriek, then hysterical laughter from all. As one of the women was reaching to cut her flower, a tree frog had jumped off and landed on her shoulder. It made me realize just how blessed I am to live with these gifts everyday. Some people are terrified of frogs, spiders and snakes, but they are more a part of this world than we are.

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Truly scientific research going on here. Grace finally has her prince!
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How could a prince leave such a lovely princess? I guess they both have a bit of growing up to do before they finally meet again.

Besides their many attributes, not limited to producing princes, frogs are an indicator of our environment. (see http://www.amphibianark.org/the-crisis/amphibians-as-indicators/for more information) No frogs in your yard? hmmmmm. That would really concern me.

We love to hear the spring peepers when spring finally arrives and the tree frogs serenading us after each rain through the summer. I loving watching the frogs hop out of the pond, nab a tent worm, and hop off with a fine choice of dinner. High five! We have an old wood hot tub that has been converted to a tadpole nursery. Grace and Jerid saved many little polliwogs this year from sure death before the water in our ditch dried up. God bless those two!

Very unfortunately toads do not turn into princes; however they are loved here just the same. Grace has been on a mission for quite awhile to catch and kiss a frog. She finally succeeded! Now the question is -where is that darn prince?

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 One less sunflower munching vermin thanks to this lovely female garden spider.

Spiders are also welcome here. (Think Charlotte’s Web) We only have two species of poisonous spiders in Michigan and these are very rare. Besides their amazing web building skills, spiders help to control insect populations. We keep a live and let live attitude towards them. If they come into the house they are usually gently evicted. I love to see the babies (called spiderlings) balloon off on their own soon after hatching.

Snakes are just amazing animals to me (how can something so skinny swallow something so big and stay so skinny?) and possibly another indicator to the health of our land. They help to keep the rodent population down and, unfortunately, sometimes consume our beloved frogs! We’ve recently seen an increase in brown snakes on our land. The babies (snakelets) are hysterical in their bravado. The adults seem to be much more timid. I have read slugs and snails are tasty treats for them, and a source of great irritation for me, so what’s not to love?

The next time you see one of these creature and get the willies, try to think of just how amazingly they are designed and how useful they are in this world.

Ever feel like this?
Ever have one of these days? We’ve all bit off more than we can chew AND had our fannies chewed. Empathy goes a long way in dealing with any wildlife. (We were able to catch the snake and save the prince for a very fairy tale ending to this story)

August 2013 Thank you!

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I just love our customers.  We get to laugh, we sometimes cry, and together we get to enjoy many of the gifts this life has given us.

I am amazed at the sheer joy, compassion and goodness I find in our clients. Flowers must really bring out not only the best in people, but also the best people!

Veronica…… you a very special and classy woman. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed working with you and your wedding party! Thank you for sharing your photos…. like you, they are absolutely stunning! (Please visit mcshanephotography.com)

Alisha and Ben, thank you for spending your first anniversary with us! I already knew you both in my heart…. it was so wonderful to finally meet you in person! God Bless your friend Wayne (from Australia!)  for driving on the wrong side of the road, in thee only monsoon & torrential downpour of 2012, while hauling 150 (4 foot!)  sunflowers, buckets of amaranthus, some misc flowers, all amazingly crammed into a Nissan, to Traverse City! Your wedding photos are just so gorgeous!  You all hold a very special place in my heart. You are one of my most favorite stories! I love you all!

Dave and Janis from Washington! Finally we get to meet! We have been emailing back and forth forever! What a wonderful surprise! Thank you for sending your beautiful son and daughter-in-law and that tiny, precious grand baby to us! Oh, we are going to have fun this summer!

To the wonderful parents of an amazing 4 year old for fostering a swallowtail caterpillar (and many others, too!) and for showing your son the wonders of nature! I hope the caterpillar enjoys the smorgasbord of plants and herbs you chose for him!

To Kathy and Jess, for giving me goose bumps, for making me laugh and cry, for sharing your precious grandbaby and nephew with me, and for all your kind words. I will never tire of hearing “enchanted” and “magical”. That is my goal, and I thank you for making me realize I am already living in an enchanted and magical place that I can share.  You are very special.

To The Holden’s of Sunset Bed and Breakfast in Pinckney. Oh, what amazing people! If you are looking for a wedding venue, you really need to check this place out. http://sunsetcovebedandbreakfast.com . (My dreamland times at least 500!) Karen and her daughter are the kind of people you love instantly and feel you have known forever. Thank you for spreading the word about our farm and for visiting with us!

To Brittany, for bragging about us! I really appreciate that. You are a love! We have had so many people out who saw your flowers and heard about us from you! You are a darling and greatly appreciated!

To Shayla for sharing your beautiful bottled beer photos. Wow, what an art you and your new husband share! I hope the hops (and flowers) worked wonderfully for you and you are enjoying your honeymoon! I can’t wait to meet your mom!

To my beautiful new friend from Austria (who I am so embarrassed to say I cannot remember your name!) I know your voice and your laughter and your wonderful joy that you give so freely! I hope the wedding was perfect!

Lance, your love for your mom brings me so much joy! I look forward to seeing you again this year. You are a dear young man. We will get that ammi growing in your mom’s gardens yet!

Tonylee and Christopher….. I just can’t express how much I enjoyed working with you! Your love of flowers, life, each other. I hope you both got a well deserved break from work! I am excited to watch your new production, “Low Winter Sun” starting 8/11 (on AMC, 10 o’clock, right after Breaking Bad, filmed in Detroit!) I am excited! (I hope I have all this right)

Ruth, thank you for your patience with the lisianthus! I am so happy it bloomed for your wedding! And thank you for sharing your gorgeous bouquet photos with us! I look forward to seeing your wedding photos!

To all who have supported our farm and flower cart. All who have said kind words when the work gets to be a little too much. Because of you, I am blessed. And I thank you so very much!

Oh, so many good people, I am sure I am forgetting to thank someone!