When Pigs Fly....

The Little White Flower Cottage here at Butternut Gardens is open for retail flower sales. Come by to pick up some fresh flowers right where they are grown. 

The Little White Flower Cottage here at Butternut Gardens is open for retail flower sales. Come by to pick up some fresh flowers right where they are grown. 

The Little White Flower Cottage at Butternut Gardens had its big day today as it opened for retail flower sales of my farm grown flowers. I loved showing off TLWFC to so many of my flower friends. Thank you to all for stopping by.

In case you couldn't make it today, you can try to beat the Nor'easter and stop by tomorrow - Saturday, May 13 between noon and 6 PM or come on by with Mom on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 14 between 10 AM and 4 PM. Maybe best to wait until Saturday, so Mom doesn't blow away?

Within this magical little cottage you will find amazing (don't mind if I say so) flowers keeping cool in their nice cool, temperature-controlled cooler. You don't know how happy this makes me. I hate, yes, strongly dislike, working so hard to grow awesome flowers and then not getting them to you in as cool a fashion as possible. So, cue the cooler. And cue the huge smile on my face! To think, I used to bring ice to put into the buckets at the farmer's markets! I know my flowers are super fresh when I cut them, but ninety-five degrees is 95 degrees, folks, and once that flower is cut 95 degrees is NOT ideal. Neither is wind.

Going forward, the Cottage might need a day off after Mother's Day weekend, just to rest up a bit. After that, you will be able to visit this magical little cottage whenever it is best for you. It will be open and full of flowers pretty long hours every day of the week. So, forget about racing to the Farmer's Market before it closes. Forget about having to drop the tennis racket, or pack up the beach gear to meet market hours. Take a casual little drive over to the cottage whenever it suits your schedule. The Little White Flower Cottage will be holding some sweet flowers just for you.

Weathervane on top of the Butternut Gardens LLC barn near the Little White Flower Cottage.

Weathervane on top of the Butternut Gardens LLC barn near the Little White Flower Cottage.

Closing up for the night, after day 1, wasn't easy, but this flower farmer needs a bit of rest so it was, "Good night Little White Flower Cottage. Good night pig flying over the barn. Good night Moon." 

Tomorrow is another day.

Mixed bouquets, straight bunches, and flowers in vases are all available.

Mixed bouquets, straight bunches, and flowers in vases are all available.

Tulips and Poppies for Spring

We have blast off, folks!  

As I am busy trying to get things set for retail sales at The Little White Flower Cottage here at Butternut Gardens, I am also working my "real job" of getting seedlings planted, and, yes, actually cutting flowers.  

Here are some of the goodies bursting into bloom right now.

Tulips are going to my local retail partners for the weekend! Some bright, and some more subtle. 

Want to learn how to make a gorgeous Spring Centerpiece?

Last night's workshop was jam-packed with gorgeous spring flowers and, boy, was I ever amazed by the finished designs my "students" put together.  When teaching, I take a step by step approach and then stand back and let the creativity and experimentation take over.  There is always, always, always a moment when I look at the designs and freeze because the beauty and individual expression of design simply overwhelm me.  Happened again last night!

With the upcoming holiday weekend in mind, I challenged workshop participants to craft a design which could be lightly freshened up for next weekend if they are hosting a gathering. We put in bonus potted pansies which enhanced the designs and can be planted outside for months of enjoyment. Thank you, wonderful flower friends, for the courage to give this a try. I hope you are proud of your creations. I know I sure am! I hope to see you again at a future workshop.

Spreading some more Spring Flower Fairy Dust

Pansies - harbingers of spring

Pansies - harbingers of spring

In early spring everyone seems to jump on the bandwagon for pansies. You find them for sale everywhere - plant nurseries, grocery stores, building supply companies, farmers markets.  And, why not? They are so darn cheerful. Even though I do not grow them for cuts, it is very hard for me to resist putting a few in the window boxes sitting on my deck railings. So, here to spread some springtime cheer, are pansies. Enjoy!

Fleur du Jour - Iris coming in May

Siberian Iris at Butternut Gardens

Siberian Iris at Butternut Gardens

I love Iris and grow three major types - Dutch Iris, bearded or German Iris, and Siberian Iris. They are gorgeous additions to the late May and early June bouquets and arrangements. Some of the bearded Iris have absolutely amazing fragrance to boot.

Good news - we are inching closer to this year's Iris. - only 85 more days based on first cut date in 2014.

Also, anyone noticing how much more daylight we have these days? Maybe hard to tell with all the snow around here. In any event, we are less than 1 month away from the first day of Spring, or vernal equinox. Kick up your heels, folks!

Fleur du Jour for Post Blizzard 2015 hope for spring - Anemone

Anemones from Butternut Gardens enjoying the company of Scilla.

Anemones from Butternut Gardens enjoying the company of Scilla.

Everything outside is white. Except for the leafless trees. How patiently they wait for spring. A lesson to teach. Blizzard 2015 has come and gone, leaving less snow than predicted, but a sizable cover nonetheless. Nestled among the snow I have five low tunnels harboring Anemone and Ranunculus. Today's Fleur du Jour - Anemone - should be coming along by mid-April, if not sooner.  Sometimes when it is frozenn outside, the soil under the plastic low tunnels is still in the 50's. Last year I only planted red Anemoe and red and white bicolor Anemone.  This year I have added some more subdued colors as well - perfect for weddings. Enjoy the snow, if you have it. Only 70 days to Anemones. Not long at all. 

Fleur du Jour for a snowstorm - Peony

While new peonies are introduced every year, some of our garden favorites, and most popular cut peonies, were introduced in the the late 1800''s and early 1900's. Sarah Bernhardt, a favorite pink variety was first introduced in 1906, while Duchesse de Nemours was introduced in 1856 and remains a sought after white. Some of the popular coral varieties were more recently introduced - Coral Charm in 1964 and Pink Hawaiian Coral in 1981. I am sure they will remain popular for centuries to come. This spring I expect to offer another very interesting old-timer called Gay Paree. It is a pink and white two-toned peony, which I think will be absolutely spectacular for event work and everyday bouquets and arrangements. Gay Paree was first introduced in 1933. Imagine the changes our world has seen. If peonies could talk! Only 120 days, and many, many snowflakes to peonies 2015!

As the snowflakes shush to the ground here with a soft chorus and our Blizzard 2015 unfurls, I call upon Peonies for today's Fleur du Jour and thoughts of spring. It is magical watching peonies develop from the tightest round buds akin to pin heads, to hard, marble-like buds, and then slightly-open marshmallow buds, which finally burst open into breathtaking blooms.  

Throughout, it is common to see ants marching up and down the stems to garner the sweet sugars, which peonies secrete as their buds develop. Peonies can live for decades, and some for even more than a hundred years.

Fleur du Jour - Hyacinth - to loosen winer's grip

For those of you in the New York metro region, which includes me, who are prepping for 1 to 2 feet of snow, I can't think of a nicer Fleur du Jour to highlight today than Hyacinth. I will sit here and just dream of Hyacnth's sweet, sweet fragrance. I did, for a number of years, force Hyacinths into bloom for winter farmers' markets, but have since decided to grow seasonally only. I must say, I do miss the forced bulbs.  Between hyacinths, tulips, grape hyacnths, paperwhites and narcissi, you really can create a stunning midwinter show to boost the spirts. For outdoor growing, based on last year's first cut date of April 10th, we have only 82 days to fresh cut Hyacinths. When the blizzard expected during the next few days passes by, it will undoubtedly seem like an eternity to these fragrant beauties, but let us enjoy the wonderful winter snow cover while we have it, for it does indeed help the plants in the ground, and let us find patience within us for the grass and flowers to appear once again.