Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holiday Happiness

Somehow the time goes along faster then the heart, and it seems Winter has snuck up on us.
Here is some holiday inspiration from our Acadia Craft Fair display. We will have fresh wreaths and greenery at the Historic Farmer's Market until our last week, December 20th.

We wish you all the best for a Happy and Safe Holiday.
              Love your flower farmer,

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall 2014

It seems life has passed by for another season, and we are gearing up for the last hurrah of fall weddings. We held back from posting here on the blog while we revamped our website to make it easier for our Brides and Clients to learn about what we love and what we do. So I'll encourage you to check out our headings. I especially love our newest photos, taken by our friend Becky. We hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Wayne & Amanda 2014

The biggest day of all!

You'll notice I haven't posted anything lately, but I have had a good excuse. I got married! After that it is trying to get back to normal, and then wait for the photos to come in, just so you can relive the happiness with me!

I would like to talk about the process of designing wedding flowers, but this isn't the place. I am all too happy to share some of the gorgeous things that went on during my wedding on June 22nd 2014. I can also proudly say the flowers were all grown on my farm, save for some lupins and wild foraging.

My vision- Strawberries and Peonies. Can you go wrong with that?

I had planned for a garden ceremony followed by a buffet and yes, Strawberry shortcake. I had planned for the peak 'peony' season, but with the cold spring, everything was a week behind, Strawberries included. I was very lucky my neighbors pitched in berries from their first week of Strawberry picking!
As for peak peony season, I had some, at least enough for the bouquets. I also had to leave some in the garden so it would be nice for photos. It is hard not to cut a peony!
Katherine and I spent 3 full days trying to get the flowers harvested, processed and arranged. (2 days of arranging during a week of on again off again rain showers.)
Here is some of the photographs from that gorgeous day! I'm so glad I could share them with you:)

I also had four larger planters out in front of the property to guide people in. 
Two by the road, and two in front of the barn, one pictured here.

Bouquet shot! Loving my Peonies, Baptisa and a little bit of Sedum. 
Wrapped up in antique lace.

What a beautiful day we had! Our row markers were Lupins and Baptisa,
 in vintage Maple Sap buckets. Great for a backyard wedding.

The front of the golf cart- Lupins, Clematis and a yellow Itoh Peony, 
clipped from my mother's garden... when she wasn't looking.

Amanda, pictured here in the garden. I don't get dressed up very often, but I didn't mind this time!

Every Princess needs a chariot! A farm girl gets to have a golf cart, covered in flowers.
Here I am with Dad.

Our son Kaiden was our ring bearer. He looked so cute in his tux!

  Katherine made the ring box of birch bark and moss, in which I attached the rings.

The back of the golf cart was decorated too- complete with a 'just married' sign and tin cans, 
as a surprise to the bride and groom.

Mr. and Mrs. Brown in front of the greenhouses- en route to the receiving line.

A second bouquet was made- as every bride needs to be able to change her mind. This was given to a beloved couple who was celebrating their anniversary too. I had decided to have a small wedding, including no wedding party, instead I named my Sister as Hostess, and my Sister in Law as my witness.

 One of the larger arrangements by the gift table. I was so pleased with the
 dramatic copper beech leaves paired with the lighter colors.

 Now for some of the arrangements

While flowers can seem only a small part to a wedding, to me they meant a lot. Flowers can add to joy, happiness and make the backdrop special and beautiful. Here is an assortment of some of the table arrangements, using whatever floral items we had from the gardens and woods.

We did a lot of clusters of smaller vases for more impact, I also used shells and beach stones
for decorating on our tables.

The Brunch Buffet was made by our local Billtown Baptist Church Ladies Auxiliary- Strawberry Supper- complete with the world's best baked beans, ham, deviled eggs and the works. You may not live around here to understand how good it is, but I've always hated going to other people's weddings and eating food I don't like. That's why I needed them. It was amazing!

We used larger pieces of furniture- dressers, mantles, chairs and tables to make up the 'bones' for the decorating. Then some lamps and lighting were added, just to add atmosphere. We were then able to go in with smaller things we owned, as well as flower arrangements to pull it all together.
Originally I wasn't planning to put anything on the walls, but Katherine recommended
 and hung up all of the dried flowers. It looked so beautiful!
 Wayne and I listening to Dad's speech- I'm getting a little sentimental!

The mantle was behind the head table. I am not one for decorating, but I wanted lots of flowers. I knew I wanted peonies for my bouquet, but I love all flowers and we used everything we could get our hands on- Roses, Lupins, Irises, Sweet William, Anemones and lots of pretty Foliage in various colors and textures. Some beauty bush, a small arrangement and a proper mantle arrangement hung behind us.
I can also add that I spent many happy hours daydreaming about flowers for the wedding, but less then I should on the decorating bits. Thankfully I had some help to steer me back on course.

 One of the vignette's

 Some of our arrangements were made in my Grammie's old tea cups that I inherited from her. 

 Another gorgeous shot.

The photography was taken by my Aunt and Uncle- Sandy and Robert Mosher of Mosher Photography. Sandy also does beautiful wildlife painting and you can find them on their website at:

Wayne and I on our honeymoon. Every bride should take their bouquet with them! We stayed at the Blue Cottage in Huntington’s Point. It is owned by the Charles MacDonald Concrete House Museum.

While many flower farmers get married outside of the busy season, I wanted to be married in it. I needed peonies and all the flowers I can't get at a conventional florist. I can't say it was the best idea, but it was the most beautiful!! I'm just so lucky that I had an amazing team and family to help make it happen!
Thank you so much for checking this out! Every bride deserves a beautiful day like I had.:)

and they lived happily ever after...........

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tulip Mania!

It is the last hurrah of tulips, before all of the other Spring flowers come on- including Lily of the Valley, Lilacs and Alliums. Here is some of my favorites.
A homage to color- in all different varieties of tulips

Most of these are Parrot Tulips- I love them!

Close up of Fritillaria, also known as Checkered Lily or Snakeskin Lily.

One of my fancy 'Butterfly' daffodils- Apricot Whirl

You can make an impact with only one color. These are called Christmas Marvel.

This is my newest friend, who likes to sun himself in my Greenhouse between my transplants.

A miniature Bearded Lily- Pale icy blue. They come on before the regular sized ones.

I believe this is a pink Menton. I need more of these!

Beautiful flowers juxtaposed with concrete and wood in one of our greenhouses.

Bleeding hearts, Pink tulips and White Double 'Peony' Tulips.

While not a great picture, This is how I travel. Flowers in the passenger side to get them home.:)
It has been a funny Spring this year, or perhaps we have been spoiled for the past few Spring's. Tulips came on late, but they came on in a flurry after Mother's Day. It might be the Dutch in me, but I truly love them, and they come in all sorts of colors and varieties at my market table. Nothing gives me greater joy then when customers come to my table and just smile at all of the beautiful flowers grown on my farm. Vegetables for Victory, Flowers for Morale, as was the Victory Gardens Motto during the Second World War, here in Canada.

Humble Burdock Farms
Cultivating Beauty

Monday, May 5, 2014

Get ready to get growing with Container Gardening

Container Gardening- Planning for Success

Why grow containers?
Depending on your level of gardening, and the time you have, growing Containers can be really easy, and a great place to begin without a lot of space. Advanced gardeners will benefit from the four seasons of "potential" listed below. Some growers will want to start their own seeds, and grow vegetable transplants. If it is your first time, it is best to start with the summer transplants this year, then expand across the seasons. There is no right or wrong way to grow containers. The best way is to start with purchasing plants/colors you like! Containers are a great way to add drama on your doorstep or the back deck. A bit of planning, shopping and regular watering is all you need to get started- It is so easy even your Kids can help!

This article covers a range of growing and design topics, so it is best to read it through the three topics- Containers, Gardening and Design Tips, and the logistics.

Seedlings in the Greenhouse- Where it all begins each Spring-

What container do I use?
All sorts of different things can be used as a planter, as long as they have a hole for drainage. I feel it is worthwhile to invest in some nice planters because it is an easy way to make your front step beautiful. Larger ones add greater impact and dry out slower then smaller pots, but will require more muscle, plants and soil. Look for large pots on sale at the end of the season at garden centers/nurseries.
Pots made from cast iron, window boxes, hyper tufa, plastic, bamboo, terra cotta etc, are all available
make your from wood apple boxes, baskets, rubber boots (use plastic liners if you can, and add drain holes as necessary.)
Make sure your pots are also easy enough to carry or move (Terra cotta and concrete/ceramic ones need to be emptied and brought in out of the freeze/thaw cycle to not break.)

Gardening Tips
Good container gardening needs good soil. Buy a bag of peat/growers mix, and add in some sheep/cow etc manure (between 1/4 to 1/3 of the total soil) Soil from your dirt pile can be free, but it is usually too heavy for great growing conditions. Getting too overzealous with the manure can be bad for your plants. Invest now in your soil, and you'll only need to refresh it with more organic matter in the coming years.
Fertilizer is what gives blooms a great start. Water soluble fertilizer is usually used once a week, in the beginning, or every two weeks later on- follow the directions on the pack. Plants don't need a lot, but a little gives them a kick. If you planted perennials- they don't require the same fertilizer, as long as you have some good soil. Add some granular perennial fertilizer once or twice a year, (early before the bloom season, and once the plant  is done blooming) 

Watering and Finding the Time
Some containers are a lot more work then others. Simply by moving a container to reach rainfall it can be pretty self sufficient, compared to a hanging basket on a porch- some plants will also wither out after a season (annual herbs tend to do this- grow quickly- bolt quickly, brown quickly) and beg to be replanted with others, or need to be deadheaded, Etc. Vote for easy growing flowers or foliage if you lack time.
For the most part, it is the watering that is the greatest need. If you lack time, put containers where they can get it on their own (and use larger pots). It is best to be in the habit of checking out their dryness daily. On a sunny porch, pots can dry out daily and require lots of attention.

Impatiens are great for part shade- decorate with gourds during harvest season

How much sun is there?
This is good to note, because it will help you decide what plants you can grow. Almost any plant will grow if there is a half day's sun (6 hours) Less then that, and your choices are limited with less selection or less blooms per plant- but you can still grow things! A full day of sun gives the most optimum inventory, except that things can dry out a lot easier.

Some easy design tips are all about Adding Drama to your containers.
Look for some of these elements to add to your containers, for a easy visual impact.
Tall grasses- spiky Dracaena grass, purple millet, add height and a lush feeling.
Succulents- Interesting, and an excellent texture- most are not cold hardy- bring them inside in the winter
Textures- Look for a mix of textures- fluffy, soft, spiky, foliage or flowers. Like ferns, sweet potato vine, succulents.
Weeping plants or Creeping vines- the Dichondra's 'waterfalls' are popular, or sweet potato vines add drama by growing down over the pot lids towards the ground. Some petunias do this also.
Color- the easiest way to add drama is to look for interesting color variations- Dark colors like reds, yellow, and striped greens and whites. Coleus is a powerhouse foliage that comes in an amazing array of variations. Flowers may not be in flower all the time (unless you have petunias, begonias, inpatients) so it is good to have some colorful foliage as a back up.

So you have begun to get an idea of what to look for when you go shopping, but What do I buy?
This listing is done by the seasons, as any gardener knows how nice it is to extend into the other seasons. But it doesn't all need to be plants! Use your creativity to heighten the impact with things you love.

Sprigs of curly willow, pussy willow
Pansies or violas make for a great Spring plant, and come in a wide variety of colors
spring bulbs (planted in fall- and overwintered) like crocus, tulips, daffodils etc.
Lettuce transplants or fast growing herbs- dill, cilantro
I've seen bare tree branches plunked in and hung with Easter eggs for a sweet spring look.

Herbs are great for container gardening too!

Most summer containers get transplanted in around May 21st, but check the weather nightly to make sure there is no frost until June 1st.
The summer is the best time since there is so much to choose from! Look for re-blooming flowers to keep your pots looking good

Annuals- Saliva, Petunias, Impatiens, Begonias, Zinnia's, Sunflowers- there is so many!!
Foliage- ornamental millet, coleus etc
Perennials- herbs like lavender, sage, rosemary, or Hosta's are a nice foliage plant.
Annual Herbs- basil is a favorite with a wide range of color and taste. Pluck leaves as needed
Veggies like Swiss chard, kale reproduce over the season. Lettuce, small carrots, radish can be direct seeded and done by kids.
Shade Lovers: impatiens, begonias, foliage

When planning out an overall design, for your steps, it is best to do pots of one thing, in multiples (like 5 small pots of pansies)
Or a larger pot with a combination of flowers, foliage and texture-using height or draping greens can add impact also.

Ornamental kale is most popular, as it clings to life when little else does, and potted chrysanthemums.
Marigolds and Calendula also hold for a few frosts, as well as annual Gloriosa daisy (black eyed Susan) Most summer things will probably start to lose their luster by mid September.
Add some mini pumpkins or gourds to fill in the bare spots, or interesting squash and pumpkins

I like this time of year as much as any other season, and keep mine like this till Mid March.
Forage or buy from the Farmer's Market:
Tall things- dogwood, curly willow
Greenery- boughs of pine, fir, cedar etc
Natural elements from the garden- holly, dried teasel, hydrangea, pine cones glued on sticks
and yes, you can a bit of color with baubles and glitz, like large Christmas balls or matching bows.
It is best to keep the dirt in there to keep the stems secured in the planter.
If you are keeping your container's outside, why not plant some spring bulbs too?

Decorating with seasonal greens- Easy and Fabulous

Where to buy?
I am a garden nursery junkie- especially in the Annapolis Valley. One stop shopping- especially if you are looking for interesting containers, soil, unique plants and some colorful options and helpful advice.

Big box stores usually have seasonal garden centers (we all know this) and can be good for getting some supplies. But, I find that there is not a vast variety in each plant like you would find at a nursery. The box stores have the popular sellers, while a good nursery would have more colors and a lot more interesting plant varieties to choose from. A good nursery should also have some helpful advice, since this is their passion too, and can help you choose what it good for your needs!
In the Valley- I am spoiled by the amount of nurseries and garden centers
Blomidon Nurseries, Glad Gardens, Scotian Gold has a good selection to name a few.

In Halifax area:
Check out the farmer's market, Halifax Seed, Atlantic Gardens (Sackville, Bedford) 
If you have a favourite one- let me know- I'm not totally familiar with all the City ones.

Transplants- Nothing is more cheerful then seeing these when it is time to get planting!

What about the farmers market?
Find herbs, veggie transplants and some flower transplants at most farmers markets- us included!
Historic Farmers Market- Saturday's 7am-1pm, 1496 Lower Water Street. The transplant season is the busiest May 17th ( the long weekend) to about June 15th. In fact, you can check out all the plants I have available by clicking above on the Veggie and Flower listings, respectively.

Let me know how your container gardening went by sending your pics to mail@thehumbleburdock.com
Thank you and happy growing!


Humble Burdock Farms
Cultivating Beauty - Celebrating Seasonality