Cut Flower Campaign 2016

Between hauling buckets of maple sap, stoking the fires of our maple sugaring evaporator and finishing off big pots of maple syrup in the kitchen, I’m warming up for the spring sprint of a million garden tasks AND some unusual summer projects as well.

With all the uncertainties of our erratic climate, it’s not clear when spring will join us. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe a month from now. But I’m guessing sooner than later.

While last year we still had a couple feet of snow on the ground on this day, this year it’s a whole different ball of wax. Not much snow all winter and now greening grass. In fact, it sounds like it may warm up so fast in the next week that our maple sugaring could come to a rapid end.

For maple sugaring we need alternating cold nights below freezing and days in the high 30’s and 40’s. This up and down is necessary for the sap to run. This is because the sap only runs when it’s rising up past the buckets into the branches of the trees as the temperatures rise and then when it’s going down past the buckets on its return to the roots of the trees where it is stored in winter. When it gets warm and remains warm, the sap stays up in the trees and the tree begins to leaf out. Sugaring is over.

That’s the theory anyways and one that the trees often disregard. I love how frequently on a day when it’s a bit brisk and doesn’t quite seem ideal for the sap to run, the sap buckets are brimming over. It’s equally interesting on a text book day for sap when the trees hardly run. Trees are alive with a mind of their own, and I love this!

So today it sounds like it is going to soar into the 50’s and 60’s and then stay warm. I’m not entirely clear how fast this will end our sugaring for this season. It could end swiftly.

In any case, there will be plenty to do once the sugaring is over. I have pruned about half of our fruit trees and need to finish them before things really warm up. I also have started seed flats and have many, many more seeds to start in the next few weeks.

This year I am starting an especially large amount of cut Flowers i.e. annual Flowers that make good Flowers in Flower arrangements.

For those of you who remember that very, VERY thick notebook I had for organizing Elizabeth’s wedding in May of 2012- well…… the NOTEBOOK IS BACK. Emily is getting married in August to Charlie Carey. Their wedding is in Maine where they met and fell in love, and it’s quite a bit bigger than Elizabeth’s wedding. Like five times bigger. While many of the details will not be in my hands, I wanted to do the Flowers. Emily loves Flowers and Flowers love her. And I did the Flowers for Lizzie’s wedding and that went well. When I made the offer I wondered how complicated it could be to do a bigger wedding with a church, a formal reception, nine bridesmaids and a flower girl named Grace.

Oh quite a bit more complicated.


On the kitchen table there is fresh maple syrup for anyone brave enough to linger near me and my WEDDING FLOWERS NOTEBOOK. Everyone in the household knows it is best to eat and run, because the kitchen table has become COMMAND CENTER for my plans to grow a heck of a lot of cut Flowers.

Already I am boring everyone to death with conversations about vase shapes, boutineer construction and how to properly condition each kind of cut Flower. As people sprint through the kitchen desperate to get a snack without running into me, I see their eyes glaze over as I toss out pithy comments like, “Did you know that Zinnias are best preserved by a quick dip in boiling water followed by a night in tepid water in a cool place?”

They didn’t know, and they don’t care. They just want to finish their pancakes in peace.

And please, did I really have to pause the Downton Abbey finale a half dozen times to look at the floral arrangements?

Thank goodness I can bore all of you with details here!

In fact, no time like the present to set the stage.

Here are some photos of our 2012 efforts. In the face of 10 bouquets, 20 table vases, arrangements at the church and boutineers/corsages for a cast of thousands these earlier efforts seem like amateur hour, but a sweet sort of amateur hour. Let’s hope I can pull it all off again in Maine!

First a wedding cake I did but that I am not doing this time. I offered the baker of Emily and Charlie’s cake Flowers for her efforts, but even I could be talked off the ledge of doing the Flowers and the cake while also being the MOB.

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Our ridiculously low key Flower set up for the last wedding as we only had a couple bouquets to do.


Note slave/friend/GHF staff goddess Catherine Boorady at the sink slaving away. I booked her for this wedding too, bless her brave soul.

One more thought about the Downton Abbey finale. Preoccupied as I was by the Flower arrangements at Edith’s wedding, I could hardly give a hoot how things turned out for anyone upstairs or downstairs. So too, I now zero in ONLY on Flower arrangements in all photos.

Here’s a photo of the bouquet from my last wedding bouquet effort. I think I was related to the bride but can’t quite remember- My head is too full with data about days to bloom, stem wraps and floral preservatives.

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How do you spell single-minded? I’d say you spell it FLOWERS.