Spring has sprung and none to soon, the much anticipated warm weather is exactly what us Manitobans need to feel rejuvenated after our long winter.
Finding myself in my second season as a flower farmer with a flood of mixed emotions. Comparison to last year with an abundance of rain three inches at a time, drainage ditches were incorporated to alleviate the year’s excess water. This year we are finding ourselves scrambling to add some form of irrigation for our dry field. Sharing this with my brother, a farmer of twenty years, laughed and he said “Welcome to Farming!”
Photo of our bouquets displayed at The Home Workshop Open House. Photo by Sawmill Photo Co.
This being said, the year is going better than last year as we have had plenty of orders to fill, along with sales at a few local spots we are encouraged to continue.
The nurturer in me loves to care for the flower field and is driven to provide the most fertile soil for the best blooms possible. We have a little ways to go yet with our heavy clay soil, having added six loads of new earth and lots of compost we still can use more.
On the design end of things, God has already designed the beauty of each flower, now it’s up to me to make the right combinations of blooms with foliage. With a few weddings coming up this fall we will be busy creating our flowers into the brides dreams.
It is a privilege to work with flowers, learning from others and seeing all the beauty that can be made from locally grown flowers is inspiring to say the least.
The farming aspect is a challenge, as a colleague of mine stated, if it wasn’t a challenge you wouldn’t do it.
Hosting our first ever Thistle Lane Spring Market this June left us feeing inspired and encouraged. Together, with a very dedicated committee we managed to provide our visitors with a market filled with 17 vendors for a local shopping experience.
The country ambience of a farm house bed and breakfast and horse barn setting was the perfect place to display our merchandise. The day could not have been any nicer, the weather was fantastic, the food at the canteen was second to none, and the customers were greeted by the artisans and farmers themselves who were more than willing to show their gifts, talents and products.
We are excited to announce that plans are already set into motion for our first ever Christmas in the Country Market. We look forward to sharing details on this event soon.
This brings us to the possibility of an even larger Spring Market in 2018!
Thank you so much for sharing in this day with us. If you missed it, you may get another chance to attend a Thistle Lane Market soon!
Holiday Crafting with Friends
There is nothing better to kick off the upcoming Christmas season than a gathering of friends. All of us have memories of family get-togethers, Christmas programs, work banquets, and many assorted Christmas related events. On the other hand, a simple event to celebrate the women in our lives and the gratitude that we feel towards each other can only be called “Friendsgiving”.
Our Friendsgiving Day, the scene is set, a rustic bed and breakfast venue, candlelit tablescape with the scent of cinnamon and soft Christmas music playing in the background. The perfect atmosphere for a festive start to the day.
The menu for the event consists of vegetarian quiche, farmhouse quiche (spinach & bacon), caramel pecan topped cinnamon buns, miniature pancakes topped with raspberry sauce, whipped cream and maple syrup. Plus, a full dose of coffee for each of us.
After much chatter and laughter, combined with a need to move around and do something, the party moved to the horse barn for the crafting portion of our day.
Creating a Christmas wreath, under the influence of a lot of coffee, our motto being that we can do this!
With a few basic instructions, pruning shears, wire cutters and a barn full of natural foliage that had already been separated into various evergreen piles, our creativity flowed. So much fun was had as we started experimenting with the look we were trying to achieve; helping each other decide when more or less natural greens were needed and helping each other twist wire around stems.
The final decision, what kind of ribbon to personalize our wreaths, should it be burlap, plaid, shimmer gold, white or classic red. Using all natural materials, mostly evergreens, we had a common thread throughout our wreaths, but the finishing touches that we added, clearly reflected our individual personalities and added that personal touch.
How precious each one of us is, we bring different gifts and ideas together including respect, love and we value each other. How special to appreciate each other’s God given uniqueness. To have a friend is to be a friend.
Thank you ladies for joining me for this fun event!
Surrounded by natural beauty in the fall season, it stirs a desire to decorate our homes both inside and out.
The warm colours that are displayed everywhere we look and the crisp clean air ignite us with creativity. The true beauty of fall decorating is that there is no need to purchase anything. There is no right or wrong way to make a fall vignette, just add or delete natural elements or move things around till they feel just right.
A few things you will need:
Pumpkins, grow your own or pick up a few at the store is quite inexpensive.
Garden pruners for foraging in your back yard or someone’s bush. Always ask for permission first!
Any plaid guilt or throw, most of mine come from second hand stores.
Look around you house for anything rustic country such as birdhouses, wreaths, old pails, garden pots and even a small bench. Don’t be afraid to be creative and the older the item, the better!
Now start putting things together in a layered effect, constantly stepping away from your vignette to see how it’s looking. Before you know, you’ll have the most beautiful, unique fall decor for your exterior!
Let’s start from the beginning, why flower farming? Well, two summers ago I started to cultivate an outdoor riding area which was to be my riding coral. Last summer, I worked my horses in this particular area but something was not quite right, the dirt was very nice. It had a lot of organic matter (old hog manure) which caused me to think, I should really be growing a garden in this location. We can always put the riding ring beside the garden, why not!
Since vegetables did not pull at my heart strings, that left me with flowers! So the research began and ever since then, I have not looked back. I learnt as much as I could, plus with a little bit of seed knowledge from my young married years, I moved forward with this exciting new venture!
I began most of the seeds in my basement under lights and by April, I moved all my seedlings into my old green house. Things were starting to look promising.
Early spring, we put up temporary fencing to keep the horses out of the garden and give definition to the space.
Then, it was time to put the baby plants into the new garden. Planting a few thousand seedlings actually should be classified as a sport, because I felt every muscle in my body and found a few that I was unaware of. Next year the plan would be to train physically prior to this spring time event so that I’m better prepared physically and mentally!
- To provide fresh local flowers during the growing season for the Guesthouse, and Horse Barn Rentals
- To sell locally grown flower bouquets
- Entertain the possibility of offering bulk flowers for DIY brides and events
- Heavier clay soil than first anticipated
- Abundant rain, which drowned out a third of our crop, right off the hop along with a few deer
- Bugs that were unfamiliar to us, eating my precious Zinnias and Sunflowers
- My pony Turbo, who is actually related to Houdini and has no problem showing me how he can enter my garden whenever he wants and step on all my flowers
- To continue to learn about flower farming; knowledge is power
- To bring in extra topsoil to amend the soil and add organic matter
- To continue to work on organic farming practices to conquer bad bugs and encourage good bugs and growth
- To educate the consumer on the need for locally grown products; flowers included
The first year of flower farming has been a learning curve. It seemed as though germinating, transplanting, and growing in the greenhouse was the easy part. Once the transplants hit the dirt, I thought they would take off; it was not so easy. Learning what kind of soil and its drainage was most important. Eventually, after a slow start we started producing flowers and at times more than my market could use!
Thanks to good friends, they received a few flower gifts along the way. There is a sweet joy that these home grown flowers bring to my soul. I can’t explain it, you can just feel it. The season is almost done, and I can hardly wait to start again next year!