Our garden is a haven of fenced space flanked by woods on the south side and lawn on the north side. We grow mostly annuals, in seven 65′ rows and a few wooden raised beds. Our gardening year starts the previous fall, when hardy annuals and biennials like Icelandic poppies, Scabiosa, Foxglove, Snapdragons and Larkspur are seeded and bulbs like Tulips and Daffodils are planted. In Spring, tender annuals like zinnias, cosmos, celosia, amaranth, nicotiana, rudbeckia, and a host of flowering vines and herbs are planted in succession to carry us through summer and into Fall. Dahlia tubers are also planted in Spring for late summer and fall blooms.
We are fortunate to have an abundance of neighboring trees; they help keep the summer sun from becoming overpowering, and create a little space for a part-shade perennial garden for favorites like Hellebore, Heuchera, Solomon’s Seal, and Japanese Anemone. A 30′ long trellis supports tumbling vines from Sweet Pea in Spring to Love in a Puff and Clematis through summer. We have a little hugelkultur experiment just outside the garden gate, where a decomposing fallen tree serves as home for daffodil bulbs, as well as worms, beetles and likely snakes; the sight of the white and yellow papery blooms in early Spring, emerging from moss-covered logs in the dappled light, is a vision out of our dreams.
We love to tuck vegetables in amongst our flowers, to add textural interest to arrangements and to enjoy ourselves; tomatoes, garlic, peppers, snap peas, beans, eggplant, herbs and greens are planted in abundance. We love edible flowers too – they capture the best of both worlds – especially Nasturtium and Calendula, along with the Violets that grow wild throughout our space.
We have goals of extending our growing season and streamlining our seed starting process through low tunnels and a small greenhouse. There are some favorite flowers we’d love to add to our repertoire, like anemones, ranunculus, peonies, and heirloom chrysanthemums. We plan to add a full bed of medicinal herbs like Tulsi for teas, and to grow more plants useful for natural dyeing. Dreams of a larger farm are active in our imaginations. However, we believe that starting small, in close proximity to our shop and customers, is a low-input and high-reward strategy for us as beginning growers. Through our little urban flower oasis, we love experimenting with uncommon blooms to share with all of you. We can’t wait to see what next season brings.
Designing with garden flowers elevates and inspires our work in unexpected ways. Flowers that come from a wholesaler, shipped to us across the globe in cardboard boxes, can undoubtedly be lovely after a little time in water, but there is something about the unexpected color variations, the wild curves, the windswept resilience of freshly cut garden flowers that inspires our creativity and propels our vision like no straight-stemmed rose ever could. Designing with our garden flowers has its challenges; the shifting of the seasons and unpredictability of nature’s whims can both give and take away in a breath. We are forced to adjust and adapt. We are forced to let go. We celebrate the small victories as much as the large. But aren’t these lessons gifts, as well as constraints? We aim to see it that way, and it is rewarding to get better at the practical aspects of gardening as well as the mental and emotional ones, season by season.