Creativity comes in many forms. I have experienced this many times, first hand. As a professional artist for most of my life, I have found it doesn’t just stop with a certain medium or expression. As many of you know, I am in the process of building a rural retreat venue in western Goochland County because I love to teach and gather creatives, but did you also know one of my fervent passions is growing cut flowers? It sets my soul on fire! I have been growing for 4 years now and finally feel I’ve got the hang of it. And because I’m creative and reaching for the most aesthetic expression of growing, I delight most in growing the special little blooms. The ones that sparkle in a boutonniere and dangle out of a bridal bouquet. The ones you can’t get at the wholesale warehouse that are shipped all the way from South America.
Intrigued yet? I bet you are! My goal is to begin a collaborative, creative relationship with event floral designers in the Richmond and Charlottesville area who are not satisfied with the status quo. Who believe it’s important to support small, local growers and want to offer flowers that smell like heaven and delight the senses. Creatives who want to push their designs over the top.
To better serve you, I am currently planning my field right now with your needs in mind. My focus will be on softer tones with plenty of frilly white bits for wedding work. I’m imagining the Pantone Color of the year, fuzzy peach, might be of particular interest for your trendy brides. To that end, I’ve ordered 10 more rose bushes called Francis Meilland. She’s a stunner, with peach to blush tones that give way to soft white as it opens. Yes that’s right, she opens, unlike her South American cousins, and she is very fragrant with sexy stems. Take a look…nice, right?
I’m also adding a wide variety of peachy tones in each flower range. Check out a few samples of what I’m talking about.
Here is a complete list of flower offerings by month for 2024
Small quantities of helebore and daffodils. We always have plenty of evergreen branches year round of many kinds. 98 acres of forest!
More daffodils. Cut branches of redbud, peach and dogwood.
More cut branches of dogwood. Mid-late month, cool flowers start popping, including bachelor buttons, bupleurum, nigella, and last year my PEONIES popped by the last week of April. Ya’ll….I have over 50 peony bushes that are 5 years old! That means I will produce a minimum of 600-700 blooms. I have a variety of colors and types. Stay tuned for more on this.
The stars of the show this month are peonies and cottage roses. Need I say more? Each bloom is really so special. May is also when the cool flowers sing…5 types of scabiosa, 4 types nigella, cress, bupleurum, blue cornflower, soft pink and white bachelor buttons, peachy foxglove, dill, pink to maroon ammi dara, daisy, queen anne’s lace, pink and maroon sweet peas, fragrant mock orange, lots of colors of yarrow, bright pink and white wand flower, geum scarlet tempest, orlaya, and white campanula. Most of these varieties are being grown in several colors and don’t worry, plenty of white blooms here for my wedding designers but also some surprising punchy tones as well… hello geum!
More of the same from May except now MORE! So much more! The fields really start to hum in June. Only bad news is the peonies are done now…hey folks what can I say, they are here for a good time, not a long time. Same thing for mock orange. I really need to plant more of that this year…it’s so yummy. So the lesson here is, reserve early for those. We have acres of wild flowers and grasses peaking in June….so many unique things to play with there.
Hello Zinnias!!! And dahlias, cosmos, and scabiosa still going strong. Here’s where it gets fun…I am also growing colorful cherry tomatoes, hops, lavender, hyacinth bean, and thornless blackberry branches! Also I have tons and tons of rosemary and asian basil…ever played with that in arrangements? So fragrant! See, I told you I would challenge you to play outside the box! Oh and now would be a good time to say I will be growing over 20 varieties of unique clematis varieties, seeds coming from Ukraine. If you follow Floret, you know. If not, click this link and learn about an amazing flower farmer called Alla Olkhovska. Seeds from her amazing collection of clematis are winging their way here all the way from the war zone. Check out her remarkable story. Can’t wait to start those seed trays!
It’s getting hot now! And some flowers are loving life! The hateful June bugs are dying off and about to hand back my roses late in the month. We don’t use pesticides here at Crane & Clover. So we must be patient. But the summer blooms are roaring now….zinnias, celosia, cosmos, gomphrena, strawflowers, joe pye weed, pokeweed, sunflowers, queen anne’s lace, black eyed susan, and wild flowers galore! Now is a good time to also say, I have many hydrangea bushes but I’ve chosen to grown the lacey soft pink and white varieties mostly. Yes, I have limelight but also, but I think the lacey varieties are so much more interesting in arrangements. I’ll let the wholesaler provide the big mopheads.
I know I mentioned sunflowers before but autumn is the season where they really shine. It just feels right in the fall. I have chosen a selection of procut varieties…you know, the ones that are pollen free and perfect for arrangements. Varieties from Johnnys include procut peach, procut red, procut gold lite, procut white lite, and sunrich lemon. I am planning to succession plant these beauties and will offer them all season. I am also growing 4 types of fancy, long stemmed Chrysanthemums this year. Remember I promised unique things no one else will have? How about Mina Lobata? Ever even hear of it? Imagine this gorgeous beauty dangling from a fall bridal bouquet. Enough said.
Oh one more thing….the middle of September is when the gorgeous dahlias pick up where the zinnias have given up. They charge back with the change of weather and wow do they ever delight! And guess what? You cannot get dahlias from afar. They don’t like to travel. I will be honest…I do not have tons and tons of dahlias. But what I do have are really special. Another case of get em early. I will also have roses in the fall as well. They just don’t give up!
We are rounding the corner to frostmas here at the farm. Dahlias give up the day the first frost arrives. Last year for us it was Oct 23rd. It’s bittersweet to be honest. But that’s the cycle of life. Nature working her magic. The fall foliage makes a gorgeous show of color and somehow eases us into winter less painfully.
One more thing!
I need to tell you about something very special that many of you might be interested in. Teaching! I know many of you want to teach classes on designing with flowers but maybe don’t have the space to use for it. Lucky you, I have a barn studio standing ready to receive your classes and a walk in cooler to keep your flowers fresh for your students’ use.
Imagine welcoming your students to a working flower farm to create beauty. You can design your classes to incorporate a field tour, cater a delicious lunch al fresco on the barn porch, bring your own flowers or purchase mine or some combination of both, and maybe finish up with a celebratory champagne. What a lovely day you could create! And I’ll be here to help you make it happen. When the retreat is built and if you’re wanting to expand it to a weekend retreat, we can accommodate 12 overnight and will have an art studio. How about inviting an artist to teach your students how to watercolor the arrangements they just created? Imagine offering a wake up yoga session by the creek with a hearty breakfast before creating begins. Maybe you want to give your students free time in the afternoons to enjoy the spa or hike the miles of trails on the farm? Just a few ideas. What fun we will have!
I know I am so ready to meet you and create magic together. I could sell flowers at farmer’s markets(in fact I did last year) but it just didn’t fill my cup. I need the magic. The creating and connection that comes from collaboration.
My plan is to send you a weekly availability list every single week and update the website as well. You see something you gotta have, shoot me an email with your order and I’ll confirm they are reserved just for you. I will then harvest and hold for pick up in my cooler or deliver them for a nominal charge. I’ll invoice later. Let’s see how this method for ordering goes. If you have a better idea for it, I’m all ears. I’m not new to creating or growing but I am new to these kind of logistics. This way seems easy enough.
Let me hear from you!
If you made it this far, clearly you are interested or at least curious about working together. You want to give your clients the unexpected and have fun doing it! You are my kind of creative! So let’s do this…shoot me an email right now. Get on the list! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Introduce yourself! Still not sure? Check out my instagram is @craneandcloverretreat so you can see what we’ve been up to and what is coming soon. Cool right? Better yet, come out for a tour. I would adore meeting you in person and putting a face with a name. Let’s see how I can help you not only level up but have more fun creating magic this year.