There is so much work to be done on the flower farm, and winter is the ideal time to catch up. You'd think it would be time to put my feet up and relax in front of the fire after a long growing season. On the contrary, you'll find me out in the fields from sunrise to sunset.
Tucking in the dahlias for a long winters nap, for instance, is very much a winter chore. I'm leaving the dahlia tubers tucked in this year and will pull up and divide every third year. They are so nicely rooted, the 2019 bounty will be phenomenal after overwintering in place. If they survive the winter in the ground, that is.
The beds will be covered with a layer of craft paper, this doubles as insulation and weed control. After wetting down the paper, a layer of horse manure, followed by a layer of fall leaves will be applied, wetting down once more. This should provide enough warmth for the tubers to survive our mild Louisiana winters. Additionally, the manure, leaves and paper will have several months to break down into black gold to feed the dahlias prior to their awakening.
Planting bulbs that didn't get planted in the fall. With good intentions to have all bulbs and corms planted this fall, there's still more to be planted. What was I thinking when I placed those orders?
Along with the bulb order, I also got a little carried away clearing the fence lines this fall. Falling a bit behind planting the bulbs. We are nearly at the two year mark of having purchased the property. I have been plucking away little by little since we moved in. This fall, as I began to remove a few weed trees, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I knew if I could keep the momentum going I'd get there.
And, right I was! I am over the moon excited about this two year project. I have cut the jungle back, pruned all of the azaleas that had crept 10 feet forward and cleared the majority of dead branches and fallen trees. Moving forward it'll just be maintenance. (For the next two years I'll be repeating this process on the back portion of the property).
My ranunculus and anemone corms were planted this fall and my tulips, hyacinth and daffodils will be coming out of the cooler and planted in the coming weeks. This puts me about 2 weeks behind schedule. But let's look at the positives. It's been a pretty mild fall, if I would have planted these beauties out as planned, it is possible the unusually warm weather would have encouraged them to bloom prematurely, on short stems.
So, there you have it. I cleared the fence lines and saved the tulips, yay! :)
Keeping the Mums going and tucking away when they tire. So far, the Heirloom Mums are still producing. Albeit, slowing down quite a bit. The last of the blooms have been harvested, however they have budded up again and appear to want to produce another flush.
As the last flowers standing on the farm this season, these ladies have earned a great deal of my time and attention. Weekly feedings, weedings, and prunings will continue this winter until they go dormant. After, they will be tucked in using the same process as the dahlias, as well as dug up and divided every third year.
Additionally, winter is a great time to take chrysanthemum cuttings for rooting, increasing stock of my favorite varieties. They are very hardy plants and can easily be rooted from a cutting and blooming by next fall.
I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse of my life on the flower farm in the winter. I'll continue with a part two as we progress. Please leave a little comment and let me know you're out there. I'd love, love to hear from you!
Farmer, florist, lady with the feed bucket. Horses and flowers make my heart go pitter-patter. Or sometimes clippity-clop.