Brrrrrrr, it has been a frigidly cold winter (for us southerners) with temperatures in single digits, inches of snow, ice and so on and so forth. The snow caved in the hoop-house and the ice knocked over trees onto our deer fence. The deer are STILL getting into our fence, so we beefed up the brush around the garden to deter them. The brush might be a bit unsightly, but it seems to be working.
Jonathan and I planted a whole bed of flowers in October to winter over until early spring blooming. We covered the bed with 2 layers of frost cover and left them for the winter. I have been worrying about our little flowers for months on end. With such unusual temperatures and heavy snow and ice making the hoops cave in on top of the flowers, I thought that surely the flowers were dead or suffocated. But no! We opened up the bed the other day when the row cover had defrosted enough to not tear when removed. The flowers were not only alive they were thriving! They love the cold! In fact, more learning has taught us that some cannot even bloom properly without the cold. We gave the bed a good weeding and left it uncovered to get more sun and rain. This bed of flowers includes larkspur, nigella, bachelors buttons, agrostemma, bupleurum, red sail poppies, tulips, and matricaria (a flower in the chamomile family).
Will I continue to worry about the flowers even though they clearly love the cold? Yes indeed. I can’t help it. I want them to succeed. I want us to succeed. Yet in the darkest and coldest times of the year, the flowers are happy and thriving, promising a lovely spring crop. I take heart in that realization.
These past few weeks I got started on seeding for our spring flower crops. I seeded over 1000 flower starts into trays including snapdragons, lavendar, ammi majus, dianthus electron, flowering kale, black-eyed susans, zinnias, gomphrena, herbs, and more, plus some vegetables for us. The “gardner” at Orchard Hill Children’s School has been helpful in watering the starts with me as part of their rotating weekly job. Today I managed to work in the garden beds, seeding carrots, turnips, beets, onions, lettuce, and arugula. Just as I was finishing it started to rain, sometimes the timing is just perfect!!
The recent warm weather has left the taste of spring in my heart, but with nighttime temps back in the mid 20’s my hopes aren’t too high yet. Sigh… I guess we have a little bit of winter left. Maybe it will leave our little farm alone.
But I know that if the flowers can survive this cold and busy winter… then I can too.