Come get your sunflowers at the Spring Forth Farm flower cart Saturday, July 19 from 5-8PM at the corner of Churton and King, just down the street from Radius Pizza.
Author: Megan Cornett Leiss
Breaking Ground: building our foundation
WE STARTED OUR HOME! At the end of June we began work on our foundation. It has been a slow and steady process and we are certain that we will have a strong foundation to build the rest of our home on. It seems appropriate that our home site sits on top of a wildflower field!
We are building a passive solar house that we designed, and so naturally over the course of the past 8 months Jonathan and I have spent a lot of time thinking about home sighting and calculating the sun’s angle at different times of the year. Passive solar means that we harness the suns energy to help us efficiently heat our home in the winter, so we have to install a concrete slab floor (from here on out referred to as “the slab”) that acts as a heat bank. It captures the heat in the winter and holds it, keeping the house warm. However, the other side of passive solar is to make sure that our hot NC sun never shines into the house in the summertime. So we have learned to calculate house position and roof eaves to achieve sun in the house in the winter, but not in the summer….whew!!
Next Jonathan and I spent a long time moving over 40 TONS of gravel into our foundation. Thank goodness for our neighbors with tractors who scooped all the gravel into the foundation for us. We raked it all into the middle, leveled it out and dug the trenches for the plumbing. Let me tell you what, slinging gravel in 95 degree whether ensured that our sweat, blood and tears (mostly mine) made it into our foundation.
Next our plumber, Bruce Carver, came and installed the plumbing that goes under the slab. He did such a great job and was so kind to us. We are planning on installing the rest of the plumbing in the house ourselves, so we watched and learned a lot from him.
What’s next?? VACATION! Jonathan and I are leaving for for 5 whole days and getting up to my Grandma’s lake house in Maryland. When we come back we are installing insulation under the slab, a vapor barrier, rebar and then finally our radiant floor heat. We are doing all this ourselves and then we are hiring out the final pour of the slab!
Stay Tuned for Home Foundation Part II, the well digging, and for opportunities in August to help us raise walls!
Spring Forth Farm Flower Cart, July 12, 5-8PM
Spring Forth Farm Flower Cart will be selling bouquets in Hillsborough THIS SATURDAY, JULY 12 5-8PM. Farmer Megan will have the perfect addition to your night on the town in Hillsborough. Just down the street from Radius Pizza and across from the Wooden Nickel.
Flower Cart in Hillsborough July 4th 6-9pm!
Flowers for Mother Mary
The Episcopal Church of the Advocate in Chapel Hill, NC is hosting a very unique and special event Friday and Saturday June 20th and 21st called “Mother Mary & Divine Feminine at Solstice.” This event is a collaboration between artist Susan Wells and Lisa Fischbeck, Vicar of the Church of the Advocate. Many other artists will be featured in the event as well. Please go to Susan Well’s website for more information and the event schedule at http://susanwellssculpture.com/.
My Mother, Sheryl Cornett, is one of the artists featured and she asked me to make a flower arrangement for her table at the event. I was delighted to spend an afternoon in my art form, arranging flowers for Mother Mary. Below are photos of the process and the final arrangement as well as the ingredients in the arrangement. Some of the different flowers and fillers stood for different aspects of Mary for me and I have included those below too. Enjoy, I did! All photos by Megan Cornett Leiss.
All flowers and foliage from Spring Forth Farm‘s fields and forests
persimmon leaves, red maple leaves, honeysuckle, wild grape, wild cherry branches, dill, bupluerum, hydrangea, sunflowers, zinnias, snapdragons, queen anne’s lace, black-eyed susans, parsley flower
Dill and queen anne’s lace-the umbrel shape for Mother Mary’s comforting and covering persona
Red/burgundy snapdragons and zinnias-for the blood that Mother Mary and all women shed in child birth
Pink snapdragons and zinnias– for the feminine divine
Wild cherry branch– for the seed of faith that Mother Mary spreads in many women
Sunflowers– for the rising of the sun on Easter Day
Wild grape/wild honeysuckle vine- for the wildness of Mother Nature
Wildflower Wedding, May 31, 2014
May was a busy wedding month at Spring Forth Farm. Clients are taking advantage of our DIY bucket of flowers we offer as well as the “a la carte” option for a mixture of DIY buckets with Spring Forth Farm making the bouquets and boutonnieres. Jonathan and I put together a wedding with a “wildflower theme” for Saturday May 31, 2014. Here are some photos of that process. Enjoy the beauty of the flowers.
The handiwork for making boutonnieres and bouquets takes a lot of focus and organization. We like to lay out the flowers as we work so that we aren’t scrambling to find what we need and to strip leaves off of the stems. A year ago I spent a month at Harvest Moon Flower Farm where I first learned to build bouquets from experienced flower farmer, Linda Chapman. We also used Fresh From the Field Wedding Flowers by Erin Benzakein and Lynn Byczynski, a wonderful book to help us continue to learn how to build bouquets and wire flowers for boutonnieres. Spring Forth Farm wouldn’t be where we are now without these resources.
We cut the final few bunches of flowers for the DIY section of the order Saturday morning of the wedding before the flowers were picked up. We love providing the freshest possible flowers to our customers.
The wedding flower pickup by the groom’s step-father on the morning of May 31, 2014.
Congratulations to the happy couple! We loved doing this wedding and love the opportunity to continue to improve our arranging skills. We look forward to our next couple of weddings in June 2014.
This is an exciting weekend at Spring Forth Farm. We are doing flowers for our first weddings of the year, and we congratulate Brandon & Kelly and Hayley & Jay. (Look for photos of the wedding flowers sometime next week.) It isn’t too late to order fresh, seasonal Spring Forth Farm flowers for an event or wedding this season, but we are filling up. Please contact us if you are interested.
This past March, we wrote about our trip to Maryland and brought back a truckload of peonies, hydrangeas, and other perennials. We barely fit them all in the truck.
Now, they have been planted, taken root, leafed out, and to our delight they are blooming! Here is a photo update of this excitement on the farm.
We were most excited about the peonies.
We brought back fifty established plants, each one a mystery. We knew we had pink, white, and burgundy, but we had no idea how many of each, or which plant was which. With the stress of the late transplanting and without irrigation, about half of our peonies aborted the buds, but that means about half bloomed! We were so excited about these sweet-scented balls of color. Most of the ones that bloomed were pink, but we expect we have more burgundy and white that will bloom next year. We are learning so much as we grow this year, and the importance of irrigation for these crops really hit home this spring.
We also brought back hydrangeas, which are starting to grow flower heads, and curly willows. The willows have been growing in trays but we’ve started planting them and are really looking forward to this great crop. Here are before-and-after photos of the hydrangea, stored in our straw pile for planting in March, and now in May.
Here are the first of the rooted willow cuttings being planted out.
When it comes to plants, we get excited about different things, but we both like to experiment. Jonathan was particularly excited that we brought back two dozen eremurus roots, also called foxtail lily. These are sort of an experiment – we don’t know if they will survive the late summer rains – but we hope they do so we can offer these unique spires next year.
We are really excited about nurturing and growing these perennials on our farm and dream about adding many more varieties of perennials to the farm over the next few years.
A Photo Essay
Time is getting away from me. Here is a short photo essay of happenings on Spring Forth Farm over the past few weeks! Stay tuned to find out where you can get your next Spring Forth Farm bouquet.
Frolic Life: living without electricity has proven to be easier than we thought and quite relaxing.
Market Bouquets and Wholesale Accounts: as we continue to figure out how we will market this summer, we are blessed to be able to set up a small flower stand at the school I teach at, Orchard Hill Children’s School.
Maggie at Pine State Flowers in Durham, NC is buying our flowers for her new shop.
These beauties came in during Spring Break. They caught us by surprise so we didn’t have a sales outlet lined up. We donated them to our church and gave them to friends and family, and of course put them around our Frolic camper.
A Bittersweet Beginning
Have you ever traveled 300 miles to spend the weekend digging over 100 perennial flowers in the mud? Well there is a first time for everything. On Friday March 28th, Jonathan and I celebrated his 31st birthday and the beginning of my spring break from teaching by driving to southern Maryland do just this. The forecast was mid 40’s and half an inch of rain over the course of the day. Believe it or not, we ended up lucky.
It drizzled nonstop the whole time but started rain buckets just as we were leaving. We actually had a wonderful time together covered head to toe in mud and actively digging up the beginnings of Spring Forth Farm. There was sadness in the trip too. The reason Farmhouse Flowers sold us their perennials is because they are going out of business. It is bittersweet to take from one small farm ending to begin another small farm. We wish Dave Dowling all the best as he starts a new chapter in his life and we give thanks from the bottom of our hearts for the generosity he showed us as young flower farmers.
We packed the truck to the brim with our hydrangeas, peonies, sedums, foxtail lilies, mountain mint, gooseneck loosetrife, pussy willows, curly willows, and more. We made it home to Hurdle Mills, NC and unloaded them into our bountiful supply of straw!
We spent the day yesterday building two beds by hand to plant everything in. We finished planting just as the sun was setting. It was a successful trip.
Thanks again to Farmhouse Flowers and good luck on the next adventure! Stay tuned throughout the summer for more photos of our perennials in bloom.