Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Hyacinth Update in the Month of Love...

Bergamot & Ivy, my design business, just finished up with Valentine's day, a blitzkrieg of a holiday! Everyone always thinks you make a fortune during Valentine's day(s),depending on when the date falls, such as this year-on a Monday, it becomes several days of business for us. The problem is, because it's such a giant holiday for growers, wholesalers and florists/designers, the premium flowers are sold for super premium prices on down the line-from growers to retailers.You pay for quality, plain and simple.                                                                                                                                                                                                              We are not a "rose" shop, that means that we don't buy cases of cheap, South American roses, sprayed within an inch of their lives. We all know the "dozen ROSES- 12.99" specials that pop up during mother's day and especially for Valentine's day. These are frightening concoctions of weak, scentless, usually red roses (bred for shipping, not beauty), tacky baby's breath,  leather leaf fern and an acetate ribbon. What we sell to our customers is the antithesis of that, every order is custom, whatever each cherished client wants, we do our best to deliver. Lilac, sweet peas, hybrid lilies,delephinium, hellebores, hyacinth...we create living works of beauty, to woo your love.                                                                                                                       Everyone wants something different, and special, and that makes for a great deal of work and planning. special containers and vases, just the best selection of Orchids, ribbon to order, FLOWERS to order-from all over the world. Do we make a fortune? the answer is NO, we do not.We pay such high prices, to get the best, that we actually make a lower mark-up, then we would when the demand is back to normal...just to be able to carry the product and make our regular clients happy.                                                                  Most of the year, an event or nice wedding , makes a much better profit because you are working with a set plan, and can order accordingly-like a recipe-no waste. Finally, you have to get many, many orders delivered all over an entire metroplex, as early as possible and in flawless condition...be kind to your florist, they have worked so hard for you!

Now, I had to touch base on valentine's day, but my intention was to give some hyacinth up dates, and share some bumps along the road! Everything was going great, roots were starting to develop, and I forgot about them for a week or so. When I checked up on their progress, I found to my horror, that the spare refridgerator had malfunctioned, and some of my glass forcing vases had ICE forming inside!! DRATS! I lost three good forcing vases to ice expansion, and two hyacinth bulbs as well. Forcing bulbs, should never freeze. Cold, yes-but not frozen, they turn to a rotted mush. Two of the vases were contemporary English vases, too bad, but no big loss, the third was one of my oldest, and although plain, a flint glass beauty in my eyes. I thought it was fine, then picked it up, and the bottom dropped off, a clean break. There just isn't any point in crying over spilled milk, as they say-move on. All the rest of the forcing bulbs and vases survived, thank goodness! I've started to bring out a selection, based on how much growth is beginning to commence.
this is a good example of proper root development and top growth to begin "forcing"

It was fun to pull out the more active hyacinth vases, seeing all the roots and bright green shoots just beginning to elongate. I grew my more rare bulbs in terra cotta pots of soil, those seemed even more robust to me, maybe the soil has acted as an insulator, protecting the hyacinth bulbs from the near freezing temperatures in my faulty fridge. Plump white roots are growing out of the drain holes, and all looks great! I'm bringing a tiered iron and frosted glass plant stand inside, to display all the bulbs and vases to their best advantage.

getting ready for a display....moss comes next.

I'll bring this first group inside, keeping them well watered and cool-warm temperature can be disatrous at this point, the flower stalk needs time to elongate before flowering. Sometimes, if the temperature is too hot, the flowers will almost bloom down deep, inside the bulb, ruining the display. I always add fresh, live sheet moss to my bulb pots, it looks natural and keeps the soil moist and cool.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Festival of Snow

What a day! in so many ways...We, here in the central Midwest of the U.S. are in what is being called a "snowcastrophy"....It is fiercely cold, and the snowflakes are swirling around in eddies as if choreographed to the Nutcracker suite. The downy abundance is forming peaks and valleys, looking more like meringue than just frozen water.

Everyone I know has stocked up with as my best friend Lisa calls "provisions" This includes firewood, good food, chocolate chips (for the necessary oatmeal chocolate chip cookies,) good wine and movies...I have plenty to keep myself busy at the farm, always paperwork, working a large painting for a dear friend, seed starting, movies that I never have time to watch-you get the idea.                                                                                                                                                          When I first got up this morning, frankly, I was disappointed. We had a nice layer of ice from the day before, but only a half inch of the white stuff. I went out, fed the chickens and gave them fresh water, giving them some green"treats", rather than feed the compost pile. After strong coffee and a breakfast of fresh eggs, I noticed the snow had begun again, this time-it didn't stop!

It is truly spectacular out there, but being in the single digits now, I'm glad I'm inside! I received a new camera for the holiday, and I love it, but the memory card is faulty, and only will let me take six images before shutting down. Believe me, this is not the day I'm going to go find a replacement card! A friend I was chatting with thought I should go out and capture the winter moment, although I only had six shots, these are what you are seeing now, thanks Aaron!

I thought I would share two poignant stories with you.First off, two of my amazing designers are blessed with a new baby into their family as of today! For one designer, it's her little sister's first baby, and for the other designer it's her brother in law's first---see, they introduced the happy couple, and of course did the flowers for their wedding a year ago, good job guys! and welcome to Lucille Rose!! We are all thrilled for the happy threesome. A great story of life and birth and fresh beginnings., right? Right. But, and this is a big BUT...at the same time all of that was happening, my third designer has had a sad, sad 24 hours to deal with...Her parents, who are a fantastic couple from Holland, moved to Kansas City to be closer to family and services, getting settled into a nice retirement community that has worked out well for them. Her mother, a charming lady, who is a fine designer in her own right, has been suffering from early stages of dementia. She has had the best of care, but the outlook has not been good for her. Last night, while walking their family dog, she slipped on the ice, falling and hitting her head, she is now on life support, waiting for her children to come and see her one last time before they will turn off the respirator. The blood thinners she has been on, and other health related issues have made surgery out of the question for the family.I send my love and thoughts to the entire family. It does seem ironic, that we celebrate the entrance into the world of a tiny baby, only to be balanced by the sad loss of a loving mother,wife,and true lady-you will be missed by many! Life is nothing if not a true balance, take the time to be loving to one another and celebrate that!