The Garden Journal
Planting for Pollinators
Saturday, April 22
Thursday, May 4, and Saturday, May 6
Space is limited in classes. Registration is required to attend.
No ticket sales on date of events.
No pets allowed Smoking of any kind is strictly prohibited on property.
April Showers bring May Flowers
“Every Spring is the only Spring - a perpetual astonishment.” Ellis Peters
Peonies, Peonies, Peonies
Our peony care regimen starts when the tips begin to emerge from the soil. Keeping the crown free from weeds, and grasses, is a full time job in our fields. Once we get the weeds cleared, we can feed our peonies with a top dressing of Azomite and Triple Super Phosphate. A light dressing of compost if/when needed and that’s it.
This year we are taking precautions against Botrytis with a new regimen that is a biological agent (not chemical based) to see if we can stay ahead of fungal pathogens that love our cool, wet spring weather. We had issues with it last year, and were unable to harvest a single bloom, which was catastrophic to our growing operation, and finances. These plants are another labor of love that require time, patience, loads of care, and implements (all costing money) for 5 years before we can harvest as cuts, so to lose a year of production is detrimental.
The other major task of peony care is disbudding our plants. Our 1- and 2-year old plants get every flower bud removed to put energy back into the root stock for a healthier plant. Plants 3-years old and more get all side buds removed. This is a monumental, time-consuming task that is done, by hand, every year. The work of a grower is often unseen, unknown, and under-appreciated when we see beautiful blooms in a bouquet or in a florist’s hand, but please know - even fairly easy to manage plants like peonies come with a lot of work at the scale we grow them.
Nature Series: Bat Love
We discovered Merlin Tuttle’s Bat Conservation (merlintuttle.org) through a wonderful podcast called Ologies, a staff favorite while we work in the flower fields. Not only are bats highly misunderstood, and oft maligned, mammals, they are supersized pest control and a critical part of a well-rounded ecosystem that need our support. Insect eating bats are thought to save farmers an estimated $23 billion in annual agriculture losses to insects - chemical free! And they make guano, a pre-industrial source of nitrogen for our crops.
Not only is the website a wealth of knowledge about all things bat-related, Merlin is a renown photographer of bats, and they are so cute! He has published some terrific books, and I hope you will join us in supporting a terrific agency doing great work on the ground for these guys in the skies!
We are off to the races with another year under our belts of offering our better than organically grown tubers to the general public. We are proud to have sent off tubers to major botanical gardens, landscape architects/designers, flower farmers, and you! We stand by a great product, with repeat customers, which is a testament to the pride and effort we put into our dahlia tubers.
Our dahlias will start shipping early-April, and while our packing efforts took a bit longer this year than anticipated (we are down 2 crew members from last year), our dahlia tubers look terrific and are ready to grow.
March 31st was our opening sale day to newsletter subscribers. Don’t tell everyone until you get a chance to shop first. We will announce on our social channels after you’ve had the chance to shop - and thank you for your support of our dahlia operation.
Weed Control vs. Weed Management
You’ve got a handle on those weeds now, right???
Clearing out weeds from around emerging perennials, like our peonies, is the priority right now. Just staying on top of them is something our team has to dedicate time to every day. On top of all the other Spring tasks, you might see this is a big job…
When we open our farm to visitors, we may have some weeds. We probably will. No, we will. We always will. It is impossible in an operation this size to eradicate every single weed all the time. It exhausts me to even think of it. I’ve talked before about our priority strategy when it comes to weed control, so our main objective is removing the most problematic weeds for our gardens first, and then tackle the less annoying ones next.
This is one reason why we are so determined to keep foot traffic out of our growing areas. Foot traffic does 2 things: it disturbs the soil system, releasing seeds from the seed bank, and it compresses soil, which damages the soil systems, again, making a better place for those weeds that like “disturbed” soils best. I’d encourage you to do what you can to keep foot traffic in your planting spaces to a minimum. Gardeners will lay out a piece of foam or cardboard in areas they are working to spread weight out over a larger area. Putting in designated foot paths or stones that you adhere to no matter what can be helpful as well. Sometimes, weeds are actually being carried by you, on the bottom of your shoes, and will be transported from one area of the garden to the next, unbeknownst to you!
Weeds are not necessarily “bad”. Most of them are just plants in the wrong place, and actually do no harm in the environment. For some, dandelions and clover are welcome sights in their garden. They are fine in our grass areas, but not allowed in our cultivated spaces, or our cutting garden, due to their large root systems and ability to spread. So, it’s just finding what is tolerable to you, in your space, and managing it in the way you see fit - chemical free, of course.
Planting for Pollinators Class
Sign ups for Planting for Pollinators will be open until April 20. This class will be held on Saturday, April 22, 2023 at 10:00am, and is complimentary to attend. Registration is required so that we may prepare our space for all guests. Please email us directly at email@example.com with your name and the number in your party. We will send a confirmation email once you are registered. We will have a wide selection of terrific plants that will be available to shop after the class, at The Garden Shop, which is open that day from 10am-4pm.
Garden Shop Hours*:
See Dates listed
(Shop for Easter!)
Saturday, April 8 10am-4pm - EASTER!
Saturday, April 22 11:00am-4pm - SPRING PLANT SALE!
Thursday, May 4 11:00am - 3pm
Saturday, May 6 11:00am - 4pm
Friday, May 12 11:00am - 4pm
Saturday, May 13 10:00am-4pm
*Please stay tuned for Spring opening
Visit us at:
We are offering the opportunity to join us in the garden, as we put hundreds of plants into the ground, beds, and gardens. The focus is on best practices for transplanting all different size and types of plants for best results. The class will be hosted on Thursday, May 4, and Saturday, May 6, at 10:00am on both days, no matter the weather. This class is complimentary to attend, but does require registration as we are limiting participation for space. Please email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and the number in your party. We will send a confirmation email once you are registered.
We will have more info on our popular Peony events in May, when we have a better idea of when peony blooms will show up. Typical range is mid-May through mid-June. We are planning to host a light tea, with a reserved table, garden visits and more in the works for future events. See our May newsletter for all the details.
The Garden Shop
The Garden Shop will be open on days we have workshops scheduled, to allow class attendees as well as anyone wishing to stop by the opportunity to visit with us.
Please kindly remember that when our Garden Shop is open, our Gardens are still closed to the general public unless announced, and a ticket is always required to enter. Those who attend our workshops are allowed access to the Gardens for the duration of the class. If you are interested in seeing the progress of our Garden spaces, we encourage you to enroll in one of our available classes. Ticket links are above.
Garden Shop Dates/Hours
Saturday, April 8 10-4 EASTER!
Saturday, April 22 10-4 SPRING PLANT SALE!
- Fertilize your beds. Lay out fresh compost and amend for the growing season.
- Put any supports for plants or climbers that need supporting this year.
- Last chance to move trees and shrubs until the Fall.
- Resurface paths
- Feed trees, shrubs and hedges with a slow release fertilizer. Lightly fork into soil surface.
- Feed roses 🌹
- Start planting cooler tolerant annuals, such as Brassicas, Snow peas, herbs, etc.
- Sign up for Laughing Goat classes!
BOLD ITEMS are ON-SITE Events
- Children’s Book Day - April 2 📚
- Find a Rainbow Day - April 3 🌈
- National Dandelion Day - April 5
- International Beaver Day - April 7 (Go Beavs!) 🦫
- Draw a Picture of a Bird Day - April 8 🦅
- Easter Sunday - April 9 🐣
- National Farm Animals Day - April 10 🐄
- National Pet Day - April 11 🐈 🐕
- International Plant Appreciation Day - April 12 🪴
- Look up at the Sky Day - April 14 🌌
- Income Taxes Due - April 15
- Mushroom Day - April 16 🍄
- Bat Appreciation Day - April 17 🦇
- National Garlic Day - April 19
- Earth Day - April 22 🌏
- Planting for Pollinators Class - April 22, 2023
- Arbor Day - April 29 🌳
- Beltane - April 30-May 1
- Transplant Class - May 4 & 6, 2023
- Peony Events - TBD May/June
- Peony Stroll: General Admission, tickets in Garden Shop
- Peony Tea: By reservation only, dates TBD