I hope everyone is well! Today, I thought I would tackle something that’s not necessarily directly related to the garden, but more so to the task that I’ve taken on. This was my first year growing a flower garden larger than my little ole’ backyard. With this, it was necessary that I adopted some larger scale farming techniques – something which I knew absolutely nothing about, as well as become closer to nature (much, much closer!). Alas, here are some of the most important things that I learned:
Beware of Animals – Okay, before you judge me – I know this sounds like it should be a no-brainer. You’re outside, of course there are going to be animals! However, I never knew there could be so many different things jumping out of the rows to scare the bejeebz out of me. I knew there would be spiders, bugs and other creepy crawlies; but I never expected to walk right up on a skunk just hanging out under the zinnias. Luckily, the skunk just looked at me unphased like, “Hey dude, what’s up?” But you can bet, that I took off running in the other direction. I’ve got plenty of stories just like this one, and I’m sure the neighbors looking out their windows just say, “Looks like she’s over there freaking out again.” and continue sipping their morning coffee. I still tend to run from bumble bees (I got one stuck in my hair and couldn’t get it out – it was really traumatic – please don’t make me talk about it), and I’ve definitely learned the hard way not to ever wear neon colors out into the field. As it turns out, hummingbirds really love neons and will go to great lengths to see if they are a viable source of nectar. I’ll never forget being chased about 50 yards as one viciously (seemingly) followed me and tried to feed from my neon yellow headband.
Beware the Fairy Tale – If you search online for flower farms, you’ll quickly see a lot of wonderful images of women with armloads of flowers and perfect hair – wearing long sleeve shirts of all things. The images are so lovely that it’s extremely easy to get caught in this fairy tale. However, if you live where I do, when the summer heat can hit 110F and the humidity makes you feel like you’ve got five or six elephants sitting on your chest – this just isn’t a real thing. Of course it’s unrealistic to think that flower farming is filled with glamour – there’s definitely a huge amount of hard work – but I literally can’t go out into the field for less than five minutes without coming back into the house looking like some kind of wet, sweaty professional wrestler. The sad part is, I’m not even kidding. Maybe I’ll have a chance to take a bunch of pictures that make me feel like garden nymph in the fall…if the frost doesn’t hit first. And that thought leads to my next point…
Beware of Misfortune – This rule applies more to life than flower farming specifically. It’s Murphy’s Law. Though I had planned and planned for this season, almost everything that I planned went wrong and made me feel like a complete failure. More often than not, it feels like the universe is there fighting back every step of the way. I’ve experienced a lot this season – passing of family, stolen seed trays, stolen seedlings, someone cutting entire rows of flowers down with a lawnmower, house flooding, vandalism – seriously. And the year before, I couldn’t even go into my own plot at the community garden because someone was using it as a restroom (I kid you not.) I’ve had many mental breakdowns through this process, but these failures have ultimately made me stronger and made me want to push forward even more!
Overall, I think I managed to have a pretty good growing year. Now that the weather has cooled and things have mostly ended their cycles, I’m extremely eager to start over again next year. Always trying to improve, always learning something new. Have a great day, much love!