Notes from the Field: Early Summer with Love 'n Fresh Flowers
Have you ever received a bouquet of flowers or bought fresh cut blooms at the market and thought about where those flowers came from? In our latest installment of Notes from the Field, we’re taking a peek at life on a local flower farm as spring turns to summer. Specializing in “seed to centerpiece designs,” as well as workshops and a budding Plant Share program, Love 'n Fresh Flowers is not only a thriving florist, but a full-fledged flower farm as well. Owner Jennie Love will be checking in with us throughout the year to share what life on the farm is really like. Read on to learn more about what Jennie is up to during the farm’s peak season!
terrain: What time did you start your day?
Jennie: Still rising and shining around 6 AM these days, though with the unseasonable heat wave we've been having here in Philadelphia, we're getting started earlier and earlier in the field to get our harvests done before it's too hot.
terrain: What color is most prevalent in the fields at the moment?
Jennie: There are a lot of citrus tones-- yellow, orange, peach, and coral-- since those are the predominant colors in the poppies, ranunculus, and baptisia. There’s a fair amount of purple, too.
terrain: What's blooming right now?
Jennie: We're about a week into peony season now, and it's already one of the best I've seen! We're also at peak bloom for our Icelandic poppies. The bearded iris is coming on nicely, and baptisia in shades of purple and yellow are in full force. We've got about a week left of ranunculus and anemones before we pull them out and plant another crop in their place. It was an amazing year for both flowers, and I'll be sad to see them go. Viburnum and spirea are just about to finish up, too. Their season is never long enough! Bachelor buttons, lupine, cerinthe, and agrostemma have all just had their first harvests, with many more to come over the next several weeks.
terrain: What's about to bloom?
Jennie: Feverfew, larkspur, buplerum, and dianthus are budded up. The sweet peas have put out a few blooms already, but they'll really get going in the next week or two. Several more varieties of peonies will pop, too. While not a "bloom," we'll start harvesting baby peaches and plums on the branch to use in centerpieces. They're so cute!
terrain: What are you planting right now?
Jennie: We're still planting lots of annual summer crops, such as zinnias, celosia, gomphrena, broom corn, and scabiosa, but the big planting push in May was dahlias. A couple thousand tubers are snugged into freshly tilled beds and are now putting out healthy green shoots, growing inches a day.
terrain: What did you enjoy most about today?
Jennie: I have an ongoing creative side project called Backyard Bouquets. It's a weekly series of blog posts during the growing season, showcasing what's in bloom. Today, I worked on a design that combined some intense red iris with red anemones and taupe tulips (above at right). The color blending just made my heart sing. Finding those kinds of striking color pairings gets me giddy like little else does.
terrain: What 5 flowers are you thinking about the most right now?
Iris, because they're so dramatic and they're all over Instagram.
Peonies, because we have to pick them several times a day to get them at the perfect stage of bloom.
Tulip poplar blossoms, because I want them, but they're high up (like 50 feet+) in the tree, so I'm trying to devise a way to get them.
Muscari seed pods, because they're really cool and I wish I had more.
Lily of the valley, because the ones in our cooler are making it smell like heaven and I may be hoarding them as a result.
terrain: It's the end of the day. How do you feel in one word?
terrain: What is tomorrow going to bring?
Jennie: We've got a couple of big weddings this weekend, so tomorrow will be full of design work -- lots of centerpieces, bridesmaid bouquets, boutonnieres, a big floral wreath, and more!
terrain: What's the next big project on the farm?
Jennie: We’re getting a shipment of about a thousand new shrubs that will be planted when they arrive next week. This will include breaking new ground on an expanded portion of our fields that has been fallow up until now.
Want to see more from Love 'n Fresh Flowers? Follow Jennie on the farm via Instagram.
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