About Good Scents

The cut flower business ended in 2011 but I continue to post other items about gardening.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Clean up and November Flowers

My last delivery was on October 16th and since then I've put in 2300 tulips for next year and finished cleaning up all the beds at the farm. For beds containing perennials, this means cutting everything down and removing as many weeds as I can manage. For the beds that contained annuals, the plants pulled out, the bed weeded and tilled, about 5-7 wheelbarrows of compost are added, and then the bed is tilled again. Then the bed is covered with straw to prevent germination of weeds until next year. I prepped about 50 4'x25' in this fashion, moving about 25 yards of compost by hand. The best thing about doing this is that I get to eat all the ice cream and peanut butter I want and don't gain any weight.

On my last trip to the farm I cut a final bouquet. It is a bit dull because it is all blues and purples but pretty cool to be able to still harvest flowers in November.
The flowers are delphiniums, asters and sea hollies.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Bouquets for Monday August 31st, 2009

I have lots of different flowers to work with right now so I'm able to make more different color combinations. Herre are 5 different ones though there were probably 10 different color combinations today.
I used only dark red and dark purple in this first one. This might not be what you'd want if you were depressed but one of my daytime customers said, "Wow! I like that" when I handed it to her. The dark purple flowers are lisianthus, the small red ones are 'Serenade' china asters and the large red ones are zinnias. A single dark red snapdragon spike adds an another variety to the shapes.

This birght bouquet of orange and white might be exactly what you'd want if you were feeling depressed. The large orange flowers are zinnias and the small orange ones are butterfly weed. The whites are lisianthus and a large white dahlia, and the greenery is artemesia.

This yellow and white that is also very cheery. A yellow snapdragon is surrounded by yellow lilies, white lisianthus, goldenrod (not yet open), and yellow zinnias.

I always like using complementary colors. Here purple lisianthus are paired with salmon zinnias and agastache.

Fall is definitely coming in this last bouquet of yellow and rusty oranges. The small daisies are helenium, combined with sunflowers, zinnias and dahlias. The cattail spikes are an ornamental millet called 'Purple Majesty'.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bouquets for Friday August 21st

Someone at the Open House mentioned that she has especially enjoyed the one and two color bouquets I've been doing this year, so this one made of all different shades of purple is for you, , Karen. The delphinium is a rebloom on one of the new plants this year, along with lavender statice, blue 'Cinderella' lisianthus and purple aster 'Serenade'

Here is another bicolor combining reds with white. the white lisianthus actually have a very faint rose rim on the petals but you probably can't see it in the picture. The big dahlias are 'Naomi', the china aster is red 'Serenade', and the snapdragon is red 'Opus'

More Tomatoes!

Some of the larger beefsteaks are starting to ripen now. that's a quarter on the cutting board to give you an idea of scale.

Left to right there is 'Evergreen', 'Gold Brooks' and 'Pineapple'. They weigh 6, 9 and 16 ounces respectively. I really like all of them but without tasting them side by side I might have a hard time telling you how they differ. 'Gold Brooks' seems to have relatively few seeds and is kind of dry for a beefsteak, almost like a big paste tomato. The sweet-acid balance seems about right to me. 'Evergreen ', like most green tomatoes, is a little more fruity-spicy as is 'Pineapple'.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Garden Open House

All my customers already know this but if you're not one of my customers and would like to see where I grow all the flowers I write about on this blog, here is your chance. I will be hosting an Open House at my garden at Dawn Farm on Saturday August 15th from 1-4pm. The public is welcome - check the Dawn Farm link above for directions.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Last year I grew a few tomato plants and felt like there were never enough tomatoes so I went overboard with them this year. I volunteered to head the seed starting team for Project Grow's heirloom plant sale and started several other varieties on my own at home. The first tomatoes are coming in now so I took a picture:

I don't have a very educated or experienced palate for tomatoes but for what it is worth, my comments follow.

From left to right - top row

Lemon Drop - these tiny yellow tomatoes are almost translucent and are super sweet. It is early and productive but cracks easily. Great for eating right in the garden.

Chadwick Cherry - seems like a standard cherry tomato to me. Fairly large, red - nothing more to say for now.

Gajo de Melon - this cherry has a fruity, melon-y taste I like but it also has a really thick skin I don't care for. On the other hand, the thick skin may help it resist cracking.

Nell's Green - a Project Grow introduction that didn't sell very well at the plant sale. That's a shame because I really like it! It has a bright, fruity taste similar to other green tomatoes like 'Aunt Ruby's German Green' but is earlier and seems easier to grow.

Second Row, left to right

Green Gage - I'm not crazy about this tomato. The texture seems mealy or mushy to me.

Cherokee Chocolate - is certainly striking looking and tasted...well...like a tomato is supposed to taste. This is not faint praise because I find some of the more popular heirlooms, like 'Kellogg's Breakfast' kind of bland.

Black Zebra - this is one of the prettiest tomatoes I've seen. It has the same dark orange-brown coloring as Cherokee Chocolate but with dark green stripes. The flavor of black tomatoes is usually described as "complex" or "smoky" or "winey". I would say this had more of a black tomato (different) taste than Cherokee Chocolate, but I didn't taste them side by side.

All for now but more varieties coming!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Pole Beans

I don't grow many vegetables but have been trying to do a few more. One of the things I'm growing this year are pole beans. Pole beans are climbers that don't start producing until a week or 10 days after the bush beans but are supposed to continue bearing until frost if you keep them picked. Most people grow them on teepees made of bamboo poles but you can also grow them on a trellis. I didn't trust myself to build a credible teepee so I got a 16 foot cattle panel and bent it into an arch. The base of the arch is about 4-5 feet wide and you can walk right under it. I planted a row of pole beans on either side of the panel and they have done really well. You can see the beans hanging through the trellis - pretty cool!

I'm completely sold on this way of growing beans. The trellis should last for years and the beans are easy to pick. I'd like to say I thought of this myself but I read about it in the Vertical Gardening forum on GardenWeb. I bought the cattle panel afor $20 at the Tractor Supply in Saline. Transportation can be tricky. A friend of mine has a big stake truck so he picked it up for me but one of the posters on GardenWeb said he just bent the panel into shape and stood it upright in a regular pickup truck. The tension in the panel held it firmly against the sides of the truck and he drove it straight home. I'd probably still want to tie it down but it ought to work.

I am growing two different varieties - 'Blue Lake' and 'Kentucky Wonder'. 'Blue Lake' appears to be a bit more vigorous - it is the one growing on the right side of the trellis - or it may just be that the right side faces east. They are similar in taste but I prefer the 'Blue Lake' a bit. the 'Kentucky Wonder' beans seem a bit more prone to curling, too, so I'll be sticking with 'Blue Lake' from now on.

So far I have harvested about 8 pounds of beans. I'm not as diligent at keeping records as I'd like to be but I'm going to try to keep track of how much I harvest and over how long.

Bouquets for Friday August 7th 2009

I have lots of lisianthus available now and making pretty bouquets is easy. The first bouquet is red and white. The oriental lily is 'Dizzy' - quite a bit more striking than 'Stargazer'. The lisiathus are white with a rose rim and the dark red dahlia is 'Naomi'. A single white delphinium is th eonly other flower.
Everyone who has gotten these blue (or purple), white and silver bouquets has really liked them so I will keep making them while the flowers hold out.

All yellow and white in the next bouquet. This is another orental lily with no pink or red in it called 'Time Out'. The double yellow flowers are Rudbeckia laciniata, sometimes sold as 'Golden Glow'. Yellow statice and white lisianthus fill in the rest.

I am almost out of Bells of Ireland and was only able to make one green and white bouquet like this. The lisianthus here are 'Magic Green' - basically a white with a green eye, and the dahlia is 'Center Court'. There are also sprigs of Sweet Annie (Artemesia annua) for foliage.

Last is a bouquet with no lisianthus containing a mix of Rudbeckia laciniata, snapdragons, yellow statice, zinnias and Rudbeckia hirta

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Few Close-ups from the Garden

I seem to never remember to bring a camera to the farm but I did yesterday so I took a few close-ups. This is dahlia 'Cornel'. The flower is about 3" across.

This is a yellow dahlia called 'Hissy Fitz'. It is larger, maybe 4-5 inches across.

A couple Rudbeckia hirta next. The first is the quill petaled 'Chim Chiminee' and the second is a double called 'Autumn Sunset'. Both are quite large, perhaps 3-4 inches across.

Then a couple Benary's Giant zinnias. The first is 'Wine Red'. It is like Benary's Giant Purple except a bit redder and a bit darker. A nice color though I was hoping it would be darker. The second is 'Salmon Rose', one I have not grown before.

Last of all are a couple delphinium pictures. The first is from the 'Misty Mauves' seed strain from Dowdeswell Delphiniums in New Zealand. The 'Misty Mauves' is interesting because the flowers are so doubled. I think the color is really cool, too - the outermost (bottom most?) petals are tipped in pale blue. Also, unlike other delphiniums I grow, this one has almost no contrasting center or 'bee'. The second picture is of 'Aurora', a really nice hybrid delphinium. You can really notice doubling and absence of a bee when you compare the 'Misty Mauves' to the 'Aurora'. All delphinums are gorgeous, or course, but the 'Aurora' looks almost dowdy in comparison to the 'Misty Mauves', especially when view closely like this.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bouquets for Monday July 27th 2009

A few new flowers this week. The lily below is scented like an oriental lily but has coloring like an asiatic. The orientals usually have only crimson and purple shades of red. This one is called 'Red Dutch'. The bouquet also contains grass 'Purple Majesty', yellow statice, rudbeckia and coreopsis, and zinnias.

One of my customers who received a bouquet like the one below said it was her favorite so far. It contains silver artemesia, blue echinops, white liatris, white lisianthus, blue ageratum, white a blue phlox and white feverfew.

This bouquet is all pink, red and white - kind of like Valentine's Day.

This bouquet contains salmon lisianthus with salmon zinnias, Opus 'Appleblossom' snapdragons and Bells of Ireland. There is also a 'Coral Charm' peony on the right from the fridge.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fashion Statement for Ken

I don't collect Barbie dolls but I do own one Ken doll, called the "Magic Earring" Ken doll. I bought this particular Ken doll back in the 90s aftter I read about it in (of all places) the Wall Street Journal. He's been sitting in my bathroom ever since.

At any rate, I saw a single floret from a Bells of Ireland on the floor the other day. When I picked it up I noticed that this Bell of Ireland looked a bit like a little elf hat and decided that after 16 years Ken needed a wardrobe update.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bouquets for Monday July 20th

I took a bunch of pictures this week. I was actually short of flowers because I have almost no heliopsis or gooseneck flowers this year to use as yellow and white fillers. had to use some commercial chrysanthemums but planted new heliopsis this spring and divided the gooseneck flowers today, so I should be OK next year.

The first one combines pink larkspur with purple phlox 'Laura', Bells of Ireland and a big white globe thistle at the top. The salmon sweet william is from the 'Sweet' series, an annual type (first year flowering).
The second one is a standard set of colors - red, orange and yellow. A bit different because of the big dark gold or brown amaranth 'Hot Biscuits' in the center. I am not sure how I feel about amaranths - I like the color of this one but they always look a bit coarse to me. You can also see the first orange zinnia of the year along with a quilled rudbeckia 'Chim Chiminee' on the left. The red flower in the upper right is a crocosima. This bouquet also had centaurea and achillea 'Terra Cotta'

This purple bouquet has the first liatris of the year with a light purple phlox called (I think) 'Blue Boy'. You can see some peonies in there that were cut in the first week of June. I still have a bunch in the fridge and need to use them pretty quickly. The big lily is 'Triumphator'

I wanted to include a picture of this yellow-orange-white bouquet because the delphinium is one of the 'Green Twist' delphiniums I got from Dowdeswell Delphiniums in New Zealand. It is a bit hard to see in the picture but the individual flowers are very double and edged with a bit of green.

Also wanted to include this one because it is a color combination I had not tried before - yellow-orange-green. Kind of fun. The grass spikes you see in some of these are Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium).

Bouquets for Friday July 10th

I have not been doing a very good job of keeping up this year. I liked this one because it was a color combination I don't use often - all purple and red. The purple phlox with the white eye is 'Laura' and the raspberry colored mondarda is 'Raspberry Wine'. You can also see a couple purple balloon flowers in the upper right. the other flowerrs are larkspurs and a lavender delphinium.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bouquets for Monday July 6th

A few new flowers for Monday - green Bells of Ireland (Molucella laevis), orange perennial butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). This bouquet combines salmon pink larkspur and clarkia with 'Appleblossom' snapdragon, 'Suncrest' lily and Bells of Ireland.

This second one is all hot colors - bright yellow snapdragons with orange butterfly weed and red monarda.

This third one combines purple larkspur - both the spike and open branched kinds - with an orange lily, orange butterfly weed and a few purple erigeron.

Bouquets for Friday July 3rd

I made a bunch more red-white-blue bouquets for the holiday but I posted pictures of those Monday. Many other people received pink-purple or coral-white bouquets like these on Friday. Most of the flowers have already been used this year. There are purple larkspur, pink phlox, erigeron in the pink-ppurple bouquet and coral and white bicolor snapdragons and clarkia in the white and coral bouquet, along with a coral lily.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bouquets for Monday June 29th

Quite a few fun colors and flowers this Monday. In honor of the upcoming holiday I did a few red, white and blue bouquets using blue delphiniums, red lilies and monarda and white feverfew. One of my Monday business customers said the monarda looked like fireworks!

I also made quite a few using just purple and pink. The purples are clustered bellflowers and another bellflower I only know as 'Kent Belle'. It may be some kind of hybrid, I don't know. The pinks include delphinium, phlox, astilbe and clarkia.

Also did a few apricot and purple like this one using apricot lilies with the same purple bellflowers plus achillea 'Terra Cotta'

About half a dozen bouquets were blue and yellow. Most of my heliopsis died over the winter so I won't have many. I started more this year but I should have done it last year. You can also see a yellow centaurea, white annual gypsophila and yarrows.

I almost never make anything containing only two kinds of flowers, but I made quite a few bouquets containing only delphiniums and clarkia - basically salmon and blue.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bouquets for Friday June 26th

Each year I grow cut flowers I learn something new and (I hope) produce better and better bouquets. Mostly this involves learning how to grow things, though somtimes it involves learning how to harvest things for better vase life or something like that. It took me several years to be able to grow decent Clarkia with stems long enough to be useful. The trick was to get them into the ground as soon as possible before they get pot-bound. This year I planted them out exceptionally early under a low tunnel and have been rewarded with probably the nicest ones I have ever grown. The bouquet below has salmon and white clarkia combined with delphiniums and sweet william. There's also a single stem of white phlox in the middle.

If you follow this blog at all you can see I use maybe a dozen different color schemes but create them with different flowers throughout the year. One I haven't used yet this year combines purple with dusty rose and green-ish lilies. The little pink daisies are fleabane (or more prettily, Erigerion).

This next bouquet is the same all pastel color scheme I made a bunch of on Monday. The only difference is this time I was able to add some white astilbes.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bouquets for June 22, 2009

Lots of delphiniums this week but they will probably all be gone in one more week. I have posted so many with blue and purple so here are a couple different looking bouquets I made with white delphiniums. The first is white, purple and coral with the purple coming from clustered bellflowers and the coral from Heuchera (coral bells) and 'Newport Pink' dianthus.

The second one combines white with orange trollius, melon colored lilies and yellow yarrow. The colors make me think of citrus.

The last one is all pastels with silver artemesia. The pink daisies are erigerion.

I also made a number of lavender/apricot and blue/yellow bouquets this week.