One of the major dates that I have been planning everything around has been the date of the last frost. That’s the date you count backwards from to start seeds. That’s the date that all of your fragile flowers can allegedly go in the ground. Coincidentally, this year it was also the Derby and the weekend that I was going to have some out of town guests.
So I’ve learned a couple of things this year – frost free doesn’t mean rain free. The last weekend in April, otherwise known as the weekend before my frost free date, we had no less than 4” of rain in 24 hours, with some close by areas receiving as much as 8”. Three days before the weekend, my two helps became 1. Twenty-four hours before my guest was to be here, it rained buckets. I am thankful she brought her garden shoes because I had standing water in many, many places. In fact, several of the roads I normally travel on were closed due to high water.
My friend’s purpose in visiting was to help me with the monumental task of getting some of my four thousand plants in the ground. When we drove our spades into the ground to open up a hole to plant, you could just hear this giant sucking noise that was a sure indicator of very soppy soil. But we soldiered on – I mean after all, my plants could drown on the deck or they could drown in the dirt.
That was two weeks ago. Since then, things dried up and I added more square footage to the planting area and had two new rows ready to plant this weekend. And wouldn’t you know it – the rains came again. Inches of rain and flash flood warnings. I cannot tell you have many times I have emptied the trays of plants. At one point, I thought I would save the water to recycle it and I had 13 5-gallon buckets cluttering my deck. I have plants that have become vertically challenged because their roots are bound in the plug tray. My poor Stock bloomed at only 10 inches tall. And the blooms were about the size of a pea which was hugely disappointing.
This was not at all what I planned. No one can look at my fields of sopping short plants and know that I am a flower farmer. Hell, I’m even having a hard time believing it. But then, I got to see the flower I took the photo of above. It’s Love-In-A-Mist, or, more properly, Nigella. In the 2 years’ worth of reading I have done, “everyone” said I had to grow this. In my dwarf specimen, I can see how folks have become enchanted with this flower. It really is lovely.
Okee dokee, I have to remember that it is only May. There’s still a chance that I will get a photo of me with the armload of flowers that seems so cliché on Instagram. But dang it – I’m clinging to the belief that I can’t call myself a flower farmer until I have that photo under my belt.
Until next time, keep dry!