We’re starting to get close to the end of our third season running Cloverhill Flowers and I realize I haven’t done an update on the flower field since July. It’s a long one because I just couldn’t resist sharing lots of pictures of the flowers at their peak.
I always seem to forget that once we hit August the flowers just go crazy. There is so much colour and vibrance – it truly is when the flowers get to shine. It’s our best time of the season for blooms so we booked almost all of our workshops and events for this time, which means August was a very busy, yet fun, month.
We opened up our farm to a local tours one day and it was incredible to see people coming out to walk about our blooms among the butterflies and the bees. More often it’s just my mom and I out there (with a busy toddler playing in the sandbox) and we can forget to really look at all the flowers we have out there and take it in.
Just today my mom was saying how we need to stop focusing on the failures in the field (and there are always several every year) and instead celebrate the many successes we’ve had.
One new thing we did this year was teaching a variety of workshops both on the farm and at retail locations. A big goal that my mother and I had for this season was to teach others about the joy of arranging flowers. We went head first into it and have already done six workshops this year, along with at least one more this month (possibly even more if the frost holds off).
Getting to see other people playing around with the flowers is so much fun for us and it helps us get creative in a very different way.
One of the workshops we did was for a parent-child flower crown workshop in collaboration with a local florist. I had the chance to take a few pics of Lucy in our test crown to use for the promo pictures.
My normally very muddy farm girl cleaned up quite nice for the shoot and it made me think back to how little she was when I did her newborn flower crown photos. I’ll have to make a fall themed one for the new baby this October!
Two of the workshops we had right in the flower field – the adorable flower crown workshop with the sweetest kids and then earlier in the month we hosted a Botanical Dyeing on Silk class with a local artist. Both were very different groups of participant but were so much fun and included lots of cutting their own flowers in the field. It felt really great getting to share our space with other people and get creative together.
The other workshops have been at a local store and a brewery. I love how excited everyone is when they arrive and see all the buckets of colourful blooms we’ve brought. I didn’t know if I would enjoy teaching about flowers, but it’s been one of my favourite things we’ve done all summer.
I guess I’ve always liked doing tutorials, like here on the blog or when I do segments for our local TV station, but this is a whole room full of people staring at you! The first time I had butterflies for about two minutes and then the rest was just so much fun. And like I said – seeing people enjoy playing with the flowers and learning a new skill is so rewarding. I really hope we do more of these next year.
Gathering up all the flowers to head to the workshops is always so encouraging too. To think that we’ve grown everything here in our little flower field feels really great (especially when I still keep killing houseplants inside. Oops).
The Flower Field
This is the flower field in all it’s late summer glory – lots of bright colours and lush greens.
Sometimes it can be deceiving how many flowers are out there until we start cutting and making jars and bouquets to send off to the stores and markets.
Some flowers, like this gomphrena, have been doing well all season…
…while others like our zinnias are just starting to get the big, full blooms we’ve hoped for all summer. The trick with zinnias is to keep cutting them throughout the season to encourage them to grow bigger and better with each new growth.
We’ve had one serious fail with our special variety of Green Lime Zinnias, but these Queen Red Lime Zinnias were better than last year…and as you can see, the bumble bees love them.
One of our new favourites this year are these adorable Bunny Tails, which I shared in my field update earlier this summer. The more I’ve cut it, the more we seem to get – and they’re just so stinking cute. I have added it to our “definitely growing again next year” list.
The big show stopper in the field are our lisianthus. These are an expensive premium flower that by some miracle we have learned to grow really well. We grew 8 full size varieties and 3 mini varieties and they’ve all been successful. Woohoo! These gold ones are one of my favourites…
…along with the classic pink…
…and the stunning Rosanna Brown. Ok ok, so I really do love them all.
These pink ones on the left have burgundy centres that go so well with the Rosanna Brown. I would never have dreamed of growing “brown” flowers and when they first came out in late July I thought that maybe they hadn’t worked out, but as the newer blooms have come in I can see why they’re so popular. They turn more of a burgundy colour with a light green tinge, and the frilliest petals. We grew Black Pearl lisianthus as well which looks very similar but with a dark purple colour instead of the burgundy.
We’ve also grown a classic crisp white…
…and a vivid light purple. I just love these lisianthus so much. They are like a cross between a carnation and a rose, but they last so long in the field and in the vase.
One of our flowers that doesn’t last very long but we couldn’t resist growing are these extremely fragrant sweet peas. They took forever to bloom this year but their colour and sweet scent did not disappoint. We had originally planted four different varieties, hoping to get a range of colours from light pink to an almost-black purple, but in the end only this light purple bloomed.
Last year we grew Eucalyptus and it was so short and kind of a failure, but this year it has gone gang busters. It originates from Australia, so I don’t know if our very hot summer had anything to do with it, or if it just really liked the new location we grew it in this year, but these plants are ten times bigger than the same ones last year. They’re a great filler for arrangements and I just love the scent. We’re going to attempt to over-winter them this year and see if it comes back in the spring.
We grew four varieties of celosia, but then either a bunny or a deer ate most of the seedlings, which we accept as part of what happens when you grow chemical-free. Thankfully this Pink Flamingo Celosia survived and has been lovely all month!
Our scabiosa was another winner again this year and we got buckets and buckets of it from this small section of the field before it almost all went to seed last week. They’re a short-lived flower but they’re so prolific and I just love all three stages of their blooms – from tight bud, to full flower and then to the fun-looking seed pod.
Our perennial bed has been establishing well this summer as well, with lots of black-eyed susans, hydrangea, peonies, delphiniums, blue sea holly, german statice and more. Smack dab in the middle of this bed a HUGE branching sunflower grew, most likely from a seed dropped by a bird. We almost cut it down earlier in the season but I’m so glad we didn’t.
There must be 20+ blooms on it at any given time and we just keep finding more and more all the time. If you cut off the blooms and leave the buds, they keep coming back. We also planted sunflowers all around the back of the flower field, as well as a few spots in our test areas of the garden and even around the chicken coop. We’re hoping to have a nice crop for fall arrangements.
The last part of our perennial bed is this lavender that we’ve been establishing all summer. We hope to have nice lush plants next year and make it a really special part of the flower field. I’m envisioning yoga classes on the grass right beside it for a calming aromatherapy experiences. Ahhhh…
The Veggie Patch
Garrett’s uncle has been a huge help in getting our vegetable garden going this year and we’ve had huge yields of green beans, jalapeno peppers, carrots, beets, herbs and more already. When all the tomatoes start to ripen soon I think we’ll need to a have a salsa-making party or something because I’ve never seen so many! Lucy regularly eats kale, snap peas, cherry tomatoes and herbs fresh from the garden whenever we’re out here. You can always tell what she’s been up to when she comes over for a hug and smells like her favourite “alantro” (aka cilantro).
Our eggplant plants in the forefront there are huge…but not a single eggplant has shown up yet, just a few blooms. Behind it are the out of control cucumber, squash and pumpkin plants that have repeatedly tried to crawl up the lawn and take over everything.
I counted 8 pumpkins last time I was down there and I’m hoping they’ll be just right for Lucy to decorate for Halloween.
Thanks for joining me for a little tour of the flower field and garden. I’ve enjoyed doing this adventure with my mom so much and I truly think it’s giving Lucy such a fun childhood here. She spends most mornings with us down in the field – playing in her sandbox, picking flowers, chasing butterflies and eating “alantro”. It’s going to be hard for all of us to come back inside for the colder months after all this time in the dirt. But then again it’ll give us time to plan for next year!