August 2019 - Flower Blog
As August comes to a close, I can feel Autumn creeping into chilly nights once again. Already, the Alder leaves have begun to turn to gold and fall across the wetlands on our walks.
The flowers have been increasingly prolific this month. I can’t seem to cut enough zinnias, dahlias, or cosmos to make a dent!
Plus, the sweet viola plants have been producing blooms already! They are small however and out of season. I continue to keep their runners trimmed and feed them regularly in the hopes they produce some mighty blooms in late winter. I also decided to go ahead and put them in the ground. I continually worried that I was under watering and over watering them in the pots! It’s been my experience that everything is much happier and healthier in the ground.
I started a new book this month called Edible Forest Gardens by Dave Jacke. It was recommended to me by the local Snohomish Conservation District as a good place to start researching agroforestry and sustainable farming techniques, which appeal to me as my interest in conservation has been with me practically since birth. I also found the Savanna Institute of the Midwest on Youtube, which has been a great resource for lectures on agroforestry subjects as well. I’m especially interested in exploring mushroom farming!
Plantings this month included black columbine seedlings, white Echinacea, all nine varieties of violas, and several kinds of feverfew. All of these need time to establish roots this fall so they can continue putting on height for next year. I’ll also have to be careful to keep them protected from freezing temperatures this winter.
I also planted seven new varieties of iris rhizomes. These include Spuria, Table Bearded, and Border Bearded irises, all of which are known for making good cut flowers. Irises also continue to spread year after year. Eventually, I’ll be able to divide the root into more plants. I can’t wait to see them in the spring.
The stock plants I planted in July are blooming! Their lovely clove scent is filling my bathroom as we speak. I’m curious to see if the last batch of stock seedlings will produce blooms before the frost kills them. Also blooming is the Rudbeckia, with its huge daisy like heads and fuzzy leaves, it’s similar in vase life to Echinacea.
Other ideas I had this month were experimenting with drying flower heads to use as natural confetti. I’ve seen dried flowers being used this way for weddings and cake decorating so I’m making a nice stock pile of white blooms to sell on Etsy this winter. I think dried flower garlands could be fun as well, especially if scented flowers can be included. I plan on trying this out with the many zinnia and China aster blooms I have at the moment.
Finally, I pulled up all the calendula since it unfortunately had leaf mildew which some of the zinnias seem to be picking up as well. I know I could spray the plants to help treat for it but I’m reluctant to spray something (even organic) that might harm other beneficial bugs and microorganisms. I’m thinking of trying to introduce more good microorganisms like mycelium into the soil once I cut everything back for the winter and see if that ends up making for healthier plants next season.
Yes, there will be a next season! Stay tuned for info and sign-ups for next year’s Flower CSA!