A half century birthday calls for a serious bouquet – and notice the handle wrapped in a hosta leaf.  Except for the peonies which were chilling in the fridge, here’s what’s I picked for the birthday bouquet – yellow foxglove, foxtail lily, bellflowers, yarrow, heliopsis, and hosta.    My talented sister Deb arranged them; she first arranged them in a plastic florist bucket which we then set  inside the metal bucket.

Happy 50th Shelly!

It’s a mystery.   For years I’ve tried to grow this clustered bell flower for cutting, and regardless of where I moved it or what care I showered upon it, as far as a cut flower – it was a failure for me.  Then a few summers ago as I was strolling through a friends garden, I halted in amazement as I stood before an enormous bunch of purple clustered bell flowers.  The funny thing was, she didn’t even know what they were, just ‘some plant’ she got as a gift from her kids.  I begged a few starts from her, and this summer they are just as stunning in my own cut flower gardens.  A few years ago I wouldn’t have recommended this plant, but as the photos show, you can grow some stunning clustered bell flower for cutting – some as large as the palm of your hand!

Growing information:

Hardiness – zone 3 – 8

Height – 20 inches

Bloom time – early summer

Light requirements – Full sun to part sun

July 16th, 2010

Flower prep the day before the wedding – sister Deb made six hand held  bouquets,  40 or so tabletop mason jar arrangements, two pulpit arrangements and the flower girls basket – all with flowers from my garden except for a few dozen roses that we ordered.  We used hundreds of peonies that had been sleeping in my fridge since May and June!

Florist designer - sister Deb

sorting peonies for the wedding

Scott and Becca’s wedding – July 17th, 201o

Storm watching before the wedding

Scott and Becca's rainbow

Funnel cloud over the church after the wedding

Becca's bridal bouqet

Handheld bouqets all in a row

mason jar arrangement

Made with love

Family pictures to follow soon!

To market, to market

May 28, 2010

What’s blooming today and heading for market?  Lupine, peonies, false queen anne’s lace, sweet william, goats beard, coral bells, buplureum, and salvia.  Most of these flowers are blooming weeks ahead of schedule because of an unseasonably warm weather pattern that we’ve been experiencing.

I picked these flowers late in the evening and let them condition in a bucket of water overnight.  Then early the next morning I made them into bouquets and put sleeves around each one for protection and a nice appearance.   Then off to market to find a new home.

What’s blooming in your gardens today?

I love Pasque flower for being such an early bird bloomer in my gardens.  The colorful star-shaped blooms are opening right with the daffodils, even before the tulips.

And while I love them for heralding in the Spring, I also enjoy them when they are done blooming; it is then that the fuzzy-wuzzy seed heads often find a place in my flower arrangements.  While the flower itself is often too short to use as a cut flower, the stem continues to grow taller as the seed head emerges, making it useful for cutting at that stage.  It is a very low maintenance perennial.

I initially planted both a purple and a red Pasque flower, and now have a violet Pasque flower that I am guessing is a seedling from a cross of the two.  I love surprises like that!

Growing information:

Hardiness – zone 4 – 8

Height – bloom height 8″-10″, seed head height 12″-15″

Bloom time – Early Spring

Light requirements – full sun to mostly sun

Formerly known as Anemone Pulsatilla.

Treat yourself or someone special to a flower subscription this summer, and receive a beautiful, fresh cut flower bouquet once a month, of  flowers that are home grown on our family farm. There are three options to choose from:

3 month subscription (June, July, and August) for – $50.00
4 month subscription (June, July, August and September) for – $64.00
5 month subscription (May, June, July, August and September) for – $75.00

Each bouquet will consist of approximately 20-25 fresh cut stems, and each bouquet is unique to what is blooming that day.  Bouquet pick up or delivery dates are flexible and can be arranged to assist you  with your entertaining.  Subscribers are welcome to come to the farm and pick up flowers, or local delivery can be arranged for an extra fee. For more information call Cheryl at 320-286-5384.

Fresh bouquet 4-16-10

April 17, 2010

Twelve little blooms pack a colorful punch in this milk glass container.

Fresh Bouquet ~ 4-6-10

April 9, 2010

The first bouquet of the season – daffodils with a sprig of Abeliophyllum

Veronica can be a workhouse in the cut flower garden; it will provide a full second crop of stems if cut down completely to the ground after the first harvest. Veronica is a spiky or linear type flower that provides movement, action, or life to an arrangement, and is long lasting in the vase.  Available in blue, purple, pink, or white, I have found the blue and purple varieties to be the most vigorous and productive growers.

My Veronica Longifolia does require support to prevent flopping and bent stems; a simple light-weight wire tomato cage is adequate.  I also grow Veronica Spicata for cut flowers; they are shorter and don’t require any support, but the blooms are smaller and stems are thinner than the Longifolia, and the second crop is often too short to be useful as cut flowers.

In my gardens I have found that Veronica attracts the tarnished plant bug, which causes unsightly damage to the foliage.  The tarnished plant bug can be easily controlled by hand picking or with an insecticidal soap.

Veronica spicata is also an easy perennial to grow in borders and accent gardens.   It is not fussy, and grows in a neat, tidy  clump that doesn’t need frequent dividing, and provides an upright and spiky contrast to mounding and round flowers or plant shapes.  Deadheading of spent blooms will provide subsequent re-bloom throughout the summer for continual color.

Growing information:

Height – from 15″ to 30″, depending on variety

Light requirements – full to partial sun

Bloom time – first bloom in early to mid summer, second bloom in late summer if cut back

Hardiness – zone 3 – 8

I am often questioned as to where I purchase plants and seeds.  Here is a list of internet/mail order resources that I have used and been pleased with.   Also, remember to check your local nurseries – by supporting them your dollars help to keep the local economy stimulated, and if any problems arise, it is handier to get a replacement.

When mail ordering perennials, try to order potted plants versus bare root.  I have consistently had poor luck with bare root perennials, and hardly no problems with potted perennials.  Order or purchase flowering bulbs in the largest size available.  When purchasing shrubs or trees, purchase the largest size you can afford.  Trees and shrubs usually do fine as bare root stock, as long as you plant and water them immediately.  Some seed companies give better seed starting information than others, and that can make your seed growing more successful.


Cook’s Garden
John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds
Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Harris Seeds
Park Seed – excellent seed starting information on packets
Pinetree Garden Seeds
Seeds of Change
Select Seeds
Stokes Seeds
Territorial Seed Company
Thompson & Morgan – excellent seed starting information on packets
Veseys Seeds

Perennials, shrubs and trees

Bluestone Perennials
Busse Gardens Perennials
Contrary Mary’s Plants
Jung Seeds & Plants
Klehm’s Song Sparrow
Nature Hills Nursery
Roots & Rhizomes


Brent and Becky’s Bulbs
Scheepers Bulbs

Local Nurseries full of fun surprises

Cattail Corner, Howard Lake, MN
Thomsen’s Green House, St. Peter, MN

What favorite seed or plant companies have you had great luck with?