Brrr! It’s really getting cold here in Maryland (and everywhere else in the USA), which means that flower-growing season is starting to slow down for many of our flower growers. Or, at least it’s slowed down enough for them to get together and start strategizing for next year!
This morning, I had the pleasure of attending the meeting of the Maryland Cut Flower Growers. Walker Marsh, a brand new flower grower and friend, accompanied me from Baltimore, and I loved hearing about his plans for his farm The Flower Factory that he’ll start this coming year as we drove. I was also excited for Walker to meet many of the seasoned growers at the meeting and for him to pick their brains! The pool of flower farming knowledge that these Maryland flower growers possess is wide and deep, and an amazing resource for anyone who wants to learn about flowers. These growers are also friendly and extremely giving of their expertise, so I knew Walker was in for a treat!
As Walker commented on the ride home, the meeting was very “chill” and “actually useful”, a statement that I completely agree with! During the course of the meeting, we went around the room, and each flower grower shared useful tips and techniques that had worked, or hadn’t worked for them during 2014. Dave Dowling of Ednie Flower Bulbs explained how to use Limelight Hydrangea stems instead of Rebar to stake down a hoop house cover (they won’t destroy your tiller!). Eileen Stoner of Stoney Acres, demonstrated how to soak and split Norway spruce pinecones in half for use in Christmas wreaths.
Laura Beth Resnick of Butterbee Farm told of her success using a solar powered fence baited with peanut butter to keep deer out of her flowerbeds. All this information, and much more, was shared via a relaxed and natural conversation, with many interruptions for questions and comments, and of course laughter!
As Leon Carrier of Plant Masters stated, “we are constantly experimenting with cut flowers.” As all these flower growers have experienced, and I myself as a designer have experienced, there’s always more to learn about flowers, and more ways to improve growing, or designing with them. That’s why there is such a value in these meetings where we all get together, and help each other out by sharing what we know. Because when your life revolves around “experimenting with flowers” it’s nice to know there’s a bunch of smart and awesome flower growers out there who’ve got your back!