What we learned in our first growing season.

I love this time of year: some flowers are hanging on and we can fulfill a few more bouquet orders, AND it's time to concentrate on next year's weddings! Growing flowers specifically for booked weddings is a lot of fun. We choose the exact flower types and colours along with greenery to make wedding floral dreams come true. This year we grew a number of orange, yellow, and pink dahlias, zinnias, and strawflowers for an October 2017 wedding that had a fall/halloween rustic theme. Next year we have more whites, light and deep pinks, and some reds. For this post I thought I would let any of you urban farmers or individual gardeners out there know what worked for us and what didn't go so well. We got off to a strong start thanks to the sharing of knowledge by people such as Floret Farm, and we want to pay it forward and be part of the sharing economy that is such a key part of the slow flower movement! We would love to hear input from other growers and gardeners about what worked for you as well. 

Snapdragons - we grew the "butterfly" variety, which have frillier and fuller flowers than traditional snapdragons. They thrived from June to October, without any succession planting! They were by far the easiest, most successful flower, and they are so beautiful. 

Lisianthus - we thought these would be harder to grow because they are so delicate looking, but they were very easy. They bloomed from late spring til October, with two succession plantings. 

Dahlias - these were a must-have, and next year we growing every possible colour! We grew in fabric pots as well as in the ground, and all did well. We particularly like these because they normally do not need to be watered every day, which eases the watering burden a bit. We had a bit of a problem with grasshoppers eating them in late summer, and being a vegan business we have yet to figure out a solution!

Strawflowers - these were very easy to grow and excellent for drying. To be honest, as much as I love them we would only grow them again if we found some interesting colours, because I found that I wasn't so inspired by the orange, and used them mostly for drying instead of in arrangements.

Zinnias - loved these, but they had a relatively short season. As soon as the weather cooled down a bit we noticed that their vase life wasn't as long. But "short" season was still from July to early October, so, not bad! And they are just precious flowers.

Astrantia - a perennial, and one that keeps on blooming the more you cut. We really love the pop of texture that this adds to bouquets.

Astilbe - ditto what I said about Astrantia.

Nigella - so nice for adding something different. There is so much pretty details to these guys. But, ours did not come out very robust, so they are not particularly easy to grow, and you must know the ins and outs of having a strong crop.

Mint and basil - must haves for greenery! Very easy and hardy. Only be careful of wilting by taking the proper precautions of cutting in early morning or late evening, and hydrating thoroughly.

Cornflowers - the more you pick, the more they bloom. These lasted from June to late September, and were really easy.

Cosmos - definitely go for the double varieties. They need full sun absolutely, but otherwise are pretty easy. And so lush. And we found that they lasted quite long in the vase, which they don't typically have the reputation of doing...

These are just a few, and I hope you found it helpful!