Before the flower farm, there were the gardens. From the first backyard cutting garden we planted in Washington state, to the Family Garden at the New York Botanical Gardens, gardening has been a passion throughout the years. Even when moving from one home to another, some of the most beloved plants moved with us. Needless to say, when New York Times journalist Michael Tortorello contacted us for a story on how to put the garden to bed in the fall we were thrilled.
Michael spent an hour on the phone with Patti digging into the details of her work. About two weeks later, photojournalist Tony Cenicola, paid a visit to Little Big Farm to capture Patti digging up dahlias, pulling out annuals, and finding winter homes for sensitive plantings.
The article is a great read for those who love cultivating the earth. There is a nice slide show and interviews with multiple gardeners who share their insights with Michael who has quite a passion for all things gardening and the home. Dozens of readers weighed in as they shared their garden wisdom as well.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to join Patti and her good friend, Barbara, of Bonnie Hill Farm, as they set up an arbor for a wedding at Bear Brook Valley, a beautiful new wedding venue in Fredon, NJ. As the wedding day approached, the forecast seemed to pointing to rain, rain, rain, but on the evening before the forecast changed to sun, sun, sun! The only problem with the sudden change is that, as weather buffs know, often a dramatic change in the weather comes with a bit of wind as the front passes through.
Patti had been thinking and consulting with the bride on the arbor design for quite a while, but 20 mph gusts required a little on the spot creativity to come up with a new design that fit the weather.
New peonies take time. Back in 2015, Patti and her team planted 100 “baby” herbaceous peonies knowing that they wouldn’t be able to harvest the blooms for at least two years. These perennials need the extra time in order to become established and mature before sharing their blossoms with the world. Sound familiar, moms?
So after two years of waiting, there are just two weeks to go before the first flowers come out. We will be seeing blooms in white, coral, blush pink, and even yellow.
While peonies tend to bloom at the end of May or the beginning of June, it is possible to harvest and store them in just the right manner so that they can be enjoyed fresh for an event well into July or even August. However, the timing of the peony harvest is absolutely critical, for the difference between harvesting at the right stage and “too late” can be a matter of hours.
As every mom knows, a little (a lot?) of patience is required before seeing the fruits of one’s labor, but often worth the wait. We’re looking forward to sharing these beauties with our flower “subscribers” starting the first Friday in June
Even though it’s the same every year, spring always seems to sneak up on us. And how green it is! I took this pic to capture the explosion of emerald green grass that is welling up on the hill like a new sea.
The local flowers are not out yet, but there is a whole other layer of beauty to be appreciated this time of year.