Whoa Nellie, is it ever busy around here!

 One of the buckets of flowers placed near the entrance to the back gardens to welcome visitors yesterday during the Westport Historical Society's Hidden Gardens Tour.

One of the buckets of flowers placed near the entrance to the back gardens to welcome visitors yesterday during the Westport Historical Society's Hidden Gardens Tour.

So much happens here in April, May and early June I cannot keep up with blog posts or much of anything else. This year, of course, had the added bonus of being cold, cold, cold late, late, late, so some tasks were pushed back and during the latter part of May I was so jammed up.  I was able to catch up with most planting by the end of May, but with no rain for 23 days in a row, it pushed watering to the top of the list of tasks for the sake of all of the tender seedlings trying to establish themselves in the soil.  

Usually, when I cut tulips I am cold, wet and basically verging on miserable.  I distinctly remind myself that there will come a time in the summer when I will be lamenting the heat and humidity, Not this year! 70's and dry. Very different. It felt like summer was already here in May, and several thousand tulips have been cut and sold or placed into storage. Yup that's right, cold storage. That is how I had nice fresh tulips for the Hidden Garden Tour this week, to benefit the Westport Historical Society.

 Another arrangement among the gardens to help visitors of the Hidden Garden Tour truly appreciate the meaning of garden to vase.

Another arrangement among the gardens to help visitors of the Hidden Garden Tour truly appreciate the meaning of garden to vase.

Thousands of seedlings and cuttings finally made it into the ground - Zinnias, Ageratum, Basil, Geranium, snapdragons, Lisianthus and so many more. As I look across the rows now I see so much life. The once barren rows have filled in and gained height and, in some cases, blooms already.. The perennials have pushed upward again - always such a miracle to me following such extended dormancy. I am just in awe every day watching foliage and buds emerge from the stems and branches. Everything has greened up and flowers have burst forward all over the place.

Many early cuts have been made: daffodils, Muscari, Anemone - all gorgeous. Then came iris, lilac, allium, foxtail lily and more. In May I did a run through of the several hundred peony plants to disbud some of the side buds so as to encourage all the energy to go into the development of a single beautiful flower per stem. As a result, I have since cut hundreds of fabulous peonies. This year was a good one for everyone's peonies it seems. Hurray! Peonies are mighty needy when it comes to cutting. Wait too long and it is "late" and it is only a matter of hours before it is "late." An interesting challenge.

 Off-site work with a marvelous waterside wedding. (Photo: Dorothy Yu, NYC)

Off-site work with a marvelous waterside wedding. (Photo: Dorothy Yu, NYC)

New lilies and calla lilies have been planted nearly every week since March and I now have my first cuts of Callas and Lilies.  I put in place staking and netting to give  many of the plants support so I get straightest stems. Dahlias - nearly 700 in number-  are in the field. I can't wait to see them from mid-summer through Fall.

Talk about blooms. Let's talk about the thousand plus stems each that I have cut of Bachelor Buttons (two types), Corn Cockle, Lady's Mantle and Love0-in-the-Mist. When these babies bloom, they go full throttle. 

 A huge show of color from the Corn Cockle as it burst into bloom.

A huge show of color from the Corn Cockle as it burst into bloom.

Spring and early summer wouldn't be complete without a few weddings.  This year was no different. In addition, the subscription service started up for local delivery and i also began my weekly runs to Brooklyn to visit the designers with Connecticut-grown flowers.

Yesterday offered another wonderful treat for the season as Butternut Gardens was one of seven stops on the Westport Historical Society's 24th annual Hidden Gardens Tour. I had quite a bit of fun creating arrangements to add to the garden areas. It was particularly important for me to show the several hundred visitors the link between locally grown and garden-inspired arrangements. Boy, was I proud of all of the flowers. They looked great!

So, now I head into another season one day at a time. It is truly marvelous watching everything unfold.  Sometimes I wonder what on earth I am doing with all of this and why I am doing it, but then I just look at the flowers and realize I am truly quite lucky.