Well, that’s what I call a flower holiday. A solid week of preparation, then the orders started pouring in, then four 16-18-hour days of frenzied floral arranging until the cooler was emptied.
We sold out of flowers by Friday afternoon, despite buying in flowers from Oregon and California growers to make up for a flower short fall. Lewis County has had the coolest rainiest April in 40 years; plus, Mother’s Day was earlier in the month than usual, so our flowers are blooming late and we were expecting to have half what was needed to meet demand; in the event, it turned out to be even less than that since demand was so high.
Our ranunculus, Icelandic poppies and tulips were ready and plentiful, but some of our Mother’s Day standbys – lilac, sweet peas, columbine – were nowhere near ready. The snowball viburnum I usually forage for Mother’s Day from an abandoned homestead and buy in from J. Foss Flowers in Onalaska, was weeks behind.
I hustled down to the Portland Wholesale Flower Market and bought in fillers and foliage. Many thanks to Charles Little and Company Flowers for lots of snowball viburnum! Because they farm down in in Eugene, Oregon, their flowers are a few weeks ahead of us. It was a scramble! And thanks to a tidal wave of online orders, I was only able to send bouquets to Fiddler’s Coffee for one day. I will do everything I can to prevent this happening next year!
Thank you all for lessons learned this weekend, and those of you who got hold of some of our arrangements and bouquets for Moms, I hope they were everything you hoped for.
I’m trialing some new-to-me flowers this year to help round out our offerings and keep supply rolling through summer: Freesia, callas and annual campanulas. They each have specific needs that I’m striving to meet without climate-controlled greenhouses. This ongoing stretch of unusually cool cloudy spring weather makes it more difficult to predict when we’ll get blooms from them.
Campanulas should be the most straightforward. Here they are in the high tunnel about a week ago. This week I see the first central buds forming. When they really get going they will be close to 3 feet tall. I’ve grown perennial campanulas for years, but these guys – in pink, lilac and rose – are new to me and were planted in early February. I hope I’ll be wrapping up campanula bouquets by early June.
I pre-sprouted freesia tubers on heat mats for 4 weeks starting February and bumped them up to crates in early April. The crates are outside, as freesia are said to like cool weather, but I’m guessing this is too much of a good thing. They appear to me to be hunkered down waiting for some sign of spring.
Callas, on the other hand, need warmth to be inspired to bloom. The wholesale supplier will be sending my tubers in a week or so, at which time – knock on computer keyboard – it will have warmed up enough to plant them in the high tunnel. Keep your fingers crossed for blush, white and burgundy funnel blooms!
For now, bouquets are back at Fiddler’s this week with my favorite pale pink lilac (finally blooming!). Me and the flowers are waiting out the cold rain; some day soon summer will come, and so will the flowers.