So much worry about the lavender this season. We are experience problems in our fields and delays like so many other growers around the Midwest and the South. Many farms are experiencing massive losses of plants due to the very wet spring. I am unsure of what our losses are, but know there are some. It's too early to tell on the intermediate lavender. I had some time with God about it and realized I am going to just leave them alone for a few weeks to see if they recover. Most of them have been pruned back to get the dead off and expose the tender new growth to sunshine - when we get it. Most of the Augustifolia or English lavender is greening up nicely but we have also lost some plants. Most notably a large plant I transplanted in 2017 from the old house. There is a bit of green on it, but assuming it will have to go. The Grosso and Phenomenal are way behind and some I have already been pulled out a few. The combo of polar vortex in winter and unusually wet spring have done double duty on them. Many are trying to rally. I am guesstimating a loss of possibly half of them. Only time will tell. I did purchase some replacements. but I am hesitant to put plants in just yet. I would like to see if this raining stops in a week or two.
In the end, I am thinking of starting to replace the Lavadins with augustifolia. While it's not as long-stemmed as the intermediates it's much hardier for both cold and wet. I use the Lavadins more extensively in floral design, but I may start incorporating more English and doing a mix of the lavenders. We could go many years without a winter/spring such as the one we just experienced or we could experience another next year. Last year we also had an unusually wet spring although not as bad as this year.
I did go out and seed the Monarch field today on a happier note. I decided to fill it in with perennial wildflower mixed with a little zinnia and cosmos and more yarrow. We shall see how it does. Doing the perennial mix last year gave us good results on the test plot. This year it's twice the size of plants and different plants have emerged - including daisies which I love and didn't see last year. The instructions say it takes 2 to 3 years to fully fill in. My goal is to just let it go to wildflowers and stay that way. I do have some butterfly weed to also add to the mix.
I have decided to concentrate on our raised bed area this year instead of expanding the fields. Since we are getting such a late start to the seeding process this year I feel it's the smartest way to go. My husband is making some huge 6' x 4' beds. So far we have four of them and two more to complete. Two will be used for herbs and veggies and the rest I am going to seed or plant cutting flowers rather than in the fields.
As with anything with Mother Nature, we just sometimes have to go with it and revise.
Here are some photos of the WF fields.
Our growing season this year, much like last year, is off to a slow, wet start. It's been chilly for May and rainy. Last year, I had a lot of concern for the plants. However, they did perk right up as soon as it warmed up and dried out. I am hoping for the same this year. I have been holding off on pruning lavender because it's been either raining or too cold. We have had a few 60 and 70 degree days here or there, but nothing consistent. As it is, that has given me some guilt-free days inside to try to catch up on floral design and wedding party orders.
Speaking of floral design. I have run into a snafu as far as availability of larkspur which we use in a lot of bouquets. I have ready access to the deep blue/purple. However, the pink larkspur is difficult to find as is the white/cream. Many growers suffered losses of these colors last year for unknown reason, which caused a shortage. At Lavender Rose Farms, we will to start growing larkspur along with other cut flowers this year. Since it's early May, we do not have a crop right now and other growers are sold out of what was produced last year. Leading me to a dilemma on some of my designs.
So, I will rework these designs that rely on the larkspur. Summer Festival, Country Meadow, Lavender and Larkspur, Mountain Meadow, Woodland Bouquets, Peony Jewel and possibly a few other designs use either pink or ivory larkspur or both. These colors schemes can be be substituted with other flowers such as pink or ivory peonies or pink or ivory strawflowers and natural ivory/white baby's breath and pink gomphrena. There really are a lot of different options to substitute the pink and ivory color scheme. Most bouquets it will not make a significant impact to the design. As I said the deep blue/purple Larkspur is still available and will use this in designs.
If you place an order I can send a picture with the new flowers added for approval before shipping. Mostly, though you just have to trust my design sense to rework the flowers available for the ones not available. By my past work, I believe you will find I am pretty good at customizing and redesigning bouquets. Floral design does require artistic eyes and impression. So I am confident I can rework things for great result. As soon as I have new pictures I can add them to the listings.
Larkspur will be available again later in the summer so don't worry it will return to the line up. We will return to using it unless we find clients like the new designs better. You never know!
This is reminder that dried flowers are a natural product and crop. Like any other farmers, flower farmer's crops have good years and less successful years. It's part of growing anything natural. Very reliant on multiple factors. Crops have good years and bad years and we just adjust.
As for now, I have strawflowers on order and will have them in soon and I have peonies in stock. I will post a few stock photos of the new flowers below. I do have a little ivory and pink larkspur in stock, which I will use until they are gone.
Thanks for the support and understanding!
Super excited. We had to have some underground utilities and such marked today. Now we have a great idea what is usable space on our property, and we have so much more than I thought originally. We really have a LOT Of space to expand. We are in a semi-rural area. We are just on the outskirts of town before more rural areas. We sit on land that was once ribbon or strip farms that the French settlers started with access to the River Raisin.
Up until now, we were unsure about having the public to our property. However, now with the idea of expansion firmer and what we can actually do here we are thinking of having a Lavender Festival Weekends in future seasons. These will not be regular business hours per se, but more of special events in future growing seasons.
I am working full-time on the farm and creating all our products, filling orders and doing all the floral design. I am a busy lady. My hubby has a full-time job! My husband and I and our adult sons work the fields. Sometimes it's a bit juggling it all especially in May-Sept growing and planting season. It can be a challenge to keep up with the fields, weeding, and planting and pruning and the orders. I guess that's a good problem to have, right?
Floral design makes up probably well over half of our business. As such, we have decided to concentrate on expanding our cutting flower field this year. We plan to dry much of what we cut for our dried bouquets and designs. We have about 300 lavender plants in multiple varieties we have planted over the past two seasons. Most of the planting is coming on it's third growing season so this means it's at maturity and the plants produce much more lavender. Last year we got a lot more lavender than I anticipated and hopefully if all goes well we will have full harvest this year. As such, we decided to focus on expanding the wildflower fields for the Monarch Waystation which was registered Nationally last year. We also plan to start planting other things I use in my designs such as peonies, yarrow, gomphrena, blue thistle, gypsophilia (babies breath), and roses. We are also working on making six 8x4 raised beds. Some will hold flowers, but others will be vegetables. We will be planting a berry patch as well. So we have our hands full as usual. If we had as much time (and money?) as I have ideas we'd be probably be working at a much faster pace. However, in reality we undertake projects as we can afford to do so both monetarily and time wise. We have done our farm debt-free, which is an important aspect to us.
Our farm is still a work in progress, but we are happy about how things are progressing. If anyone would like a tour we can see about doing an appointment only showing while we work on the fields this summer especially for anyone local in the Monroe area who is interested in the lavender farm down the street!
Other News: The Vintage Market at 110 Sycamore St in Wyandotte is having a 1 year anniversary bash on May 11th. We are vendor with this store so please check out our table/area at the store. They have lots of fun events planned for the day see below.
DATE: Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 4 PM – 9 PM
"Our party will include an amazing pop-up Market! Sycamore will be closed to host 50+ Vintage Market vendors for even MORE amazing shopping!! Free birthday cake and bubbly to our shoppers (while supplies last). Free gift with purchase to the first 25 shoppers! Live music, free photo booth, shopping, food truck. "
Also please remember Honeycomb Creative, which is located at 415 N. Monroe Street in Monroe Mi. We love this little shop and it's Hometown for us being just a few miles down the road from us. It's a new store just having opened in November of 2018! We also have our products in this store and have enjoyed working with them. I love this beautiful little store that is housed in a pretty old vintage home right next to Enchanted Shoes in Historic Downtown Monroe. They also hold classes upstairs as well for different creative projects. I have to say whenever I deliver products I am sorely tempted to buy many things. I particularly am partial to the vintage and antique plate collection. They have furniture, art, and many more treasures (our lavender products as well! ) One thing I will definitely be purchasing from them is their Fusion Paint. We are doing a kitchen cabinet reno this summer on top of our other plans. Honeycomb Creative is one of the few Fusion Paint dealers locally so we have been working with owner Dayna in looking at different color schemes and choices for our project. She is super helpful!
You can check out all things Honeycomb here
MOTHER'S DAY: We have 10% off our gift baskets and gift bags PLUS FREE shipping! We also have a lot of other items on sale that would make great gifts for mom. Go to www.lavenderrosefarms.com and click Etsy Shop. From there on the side bar click "On Sale" for all the items marked down for Mother's Day.