We had so much fun last week working with Potluck Creative on this flower recipe video for Rabbit Hole Magazine. Our video was part of a series of recipe videos promoting their first "Down the Rabbit Hole" dinner on April 22nd at Ampersand, where we'll be creating arrangements with fragrance notes that are paired with items from the menu prepared by Nick Bajal and David Fingerman from Atwood, and Ian Van Veen from Letherbee Distillers.
It's that time of year again (finally!). The first of our dahlia plugs have arrived and we've got a semi truck full of Organimix compost on it's way! We hope you can join us for our annual spring planting party on Saturday, May 17th at The Farm in Barrington, IL. Get all the details and sign up HERE.
Here is a look back on our our 2013 planting party:
A couple months ago we were invited to contribute flowers to an autumn woodland inspired photo shoot, styled by Ashley Bosnick Photography and Naturally Yours Events. Recently it was published in Green Wedding Shoes, where you can view the whole collection. Here are a handful of my favorites from the day.
With frost not too far off, we've been doing a lot of reflecting back on our first growing season. We've certainly learned a lot along the way. We learned that starting with fertile soil and 60 cu. yards of organic compost are key ingredients in producing big, healthy blooms. Our dahlias were incredibly productive with each variety possessing a personality all its own. The drip irrigation installed in the spring was worth every penny and saved countless hours, as did the weed fabric each of our 1,200 dahlias were planted into. Good help is invaluable and so is having friends and family who don't mind getting their hands dirty.
We also learned that finding a balance between flower farming and designing can be a difficult one to strike. We spend the majority of our time caring for the flowers in field: staking, weeding, watering, harvesting and inspecting them for insects and disease. This intimate connection to the plants fuels our creativity, inspires our designs and challenges our mental and physical energy. While our time in the field is necessary and valuable, it is also incredibly time-consuming. As we look to next season, we hope to spend more time fine tuning our design skills, growing our team and our crops.
We have big ideas we cannot wait to implement, and look forward to a winter full of planning (and a little rest too).
There are still a few weeks left before frost and I'll be bringing in lots of flower from the farm to share with everyone during my open studio Sundays. To really get into the fall vibe we'll have cider and donuts available for purchase, as well as a card writing desk where you can put the final touches on a gift. Hope to see you!
Some pictures from our first summer market at Heritage Bicycle General Store. We'll occassionally be setting up weekend shops in their side lot throughout the growing season.
Just harvested this first batch of lilies and I love their soft color. 400 more are working their way up through the ground.
We were really excited to arrange the flowers for the annual fundraiser for one of Chicago's best art organizations, threewalls at The Land & Sea. Dept. Many thanks to Shannon for having us, and congratulations on the amazing entity that threewalls has become. You're an inspiration to say the least.
First of all, thanks to Pure Wow for the nice feature on Field & Florist. I woke up this morning to find a bunch of new Summer Flower Share subscriptions in my inbox, which is always exciting.
It finally feels like Spring is here. These weeks ahead are the ones that have kept me going all winter. Next week we'll be spreading 1.5" of composted manure and landscape waste from Midwest Organics Recycling on the new site. You might be surprised to find out (I was!) that it takes 2 semis or 65 cu. yards to cover the 1/2 acre site with only 1/5" of compost. Their Organimix product is the best stuff, and these flowers are getting the royal treatment.
Also, we are hosting two work parties: April 27th and May 11th and we'd love for you to join! Learn details and sign up HERE. Incentive: you will get 20% off your flower share purchase if you come for one of these dates! (If you already purchased a share and want to come, have no fear, we will extend your share another week!)
If you weren't able to make it to last month's Dose Market, here are some photos from the day! We had a lot of fun meeting new customers and learning about other Chicago small businesses.
Check out this line-up of Chicago's finest! We're feeling like we're in pretty fantastic company for our first Dose Market this Sunday, March 10th. Summer flower shares will go on sale and we'll be making arrangements for you all day. Stop by and say hello! See you there.
This past weekend I went up to my family’s farm in Northern Michigan and cut boughs for Field & Florist’s holiday swag. As I did, I thought about how I’ve always felt at home in the woods… any woods. From my early days as a baby, my dad would put me inside his overalls and we’d hike through the woods bundled up, me with only my head sticking out of the front of his jacket.. Since my Dad was a kid, he has been planting trees there. He has memories of planting spruce trees with his father, my Grandpa, when he was 15. Those trees are now tall and the rows densely filled in, only letting in beams of sunlight on nice days. I like to walk underneath the rows of red pines, blue spruce, balsam fir, and hemlock marveling at the fact that they weren’t there before he planted them.
Each season reveals new things that I love about those woods. In spring, the bright green new growth on the trees sticks out like a sore thumb, and if you’re lucky you encounter some morels. In summer, the wild blackberries fill in the understory and it’s a forager’s dream. The golden fall light connects the field of cut and baled hay to the wide and reaching sunset. There is an abundance of “volunteer” apple trees that have been there for a couple generations; gnarly old things still bearing apples that range from bitter-semi-edible to downright delicious, depending on the year.
But what I love most is sensing the history as I walk there. My Grandpa and Grandma bought the first 40 acres in 1939 and the next year acquired 80 more acres. My Grandpa, trying to turn more of it into usable farmland, cut down a stand of trees, only to discover that the land wasn’t suitable with too many rocks and poor soil for crops so in the mid 1950’s he and my dad planted several hundred red pines together. 5 years later they planted spruce. When I was a baby, my dad planted Balsam Fir, Frasier Fir, Black Hills Spruce and White Spruce.
As I gathered boughs this weekend from all these different trees, I could sense the presence of my family that walked the woods many times before I was even a thought, and who made it possible for me to hear the wind whistle through the pine needles. Quoting my Dad, “The best time to plant trees was 50 years ago, the second best time is now.”