June Field Walk

This is the time of year where our fields start growing inches each day. It's a beautiful thing to see!

Paul in Phacelia

Phacelia is one of our favorites! It's beautiful purple curls and sweet tips are mesmerizing. And the bees LOVE it too! Must be why it's commonly known as "bee's friend". It's a prolific grower - a great addition to any garden.

Calendula just popping out with that brilliant yellow and orange.

Orach Foothills Flowers

This orach will send up some beautiful seeded shoots in no time. A perfect textural addition.

Bachelor buttons finding their blue tips.

Cosmos Foothills Flowers Farm

Cosmos waking up. Spreading the beauty of that wildflower vibe.

Icelandic poppy Foothills Flowers

Icelandic poppies are an absolutely beautiful part of our early summer gardens. That crepe paper petal is something to dream about.

Sweet Peas Foothills Flowers

And the sweet peas are just beginning!

Jewel Tones

We loved putting together Vivian and Spencer's wedding flowers! These beautiful photos are from Natalie Lolita. These dark dahlia tones combined with PNW greenery - perfection.

I also love this tradition that Vivian shared with me: "...in Vietnamese culture, we have a pre-wedding tea ceremony where both families are officially introduced to each other and the groom provides the bride her bouquet as a gift." Isn't that gorgeous?

Seasonal Wedding Flowers

It's such a pleasure to share in the seasons with our wedding clients! Paul and I got married in May, and I will always think of our wedding as the flowers bloom - peonies, calla lilies, columbine, poppies, dianthus, iris, and beautiful greenery.

I loved working on weddings this season. All the brides and grooms we worked with were filled with such love and appreciation for local. Here's a small smattering of flowers from weddings this season. Enjoy!

August wedding - dahlias, amaranth, scabiosa, zinnias, poppies, greenery.  Photo by Joe and Patience

Table garlands. Photo by Joe and Patience.

May wedding. Peonies, columbine, poppies, ranunculus, greenery, and lilies. Photo by Sarah Postma Photography.

Beautiful August arbor - cedar, millet, and ferns. Paul is an arbor master!

September bridal bouquet: dahlias, rudbeckia, hops, crab apple, amaranth, & raspberry greens.

August bridal bouquet - hops, aster, cosmos, ferns, dahlias, amaranth, scabiosa, & sedum.

April bridal bouquet - hellebore, viburnum, ranunculus, hydrangea, poppies.

Beautiful native salal garland.

Beautiful native salal garland.

August table bouquets.

August table bouquets.

Blooming in July

It's July. How did that happen? Time flies, zips, and spins - especially in the summer. The flower fields are bursting with blooms. So much that I walk out into them and stop to stare at the numerous colors and textures. Here's a small photo gallery of some of the flowers filling our garden these days.

Godetia (Clarkia, satin flower, farewell to spring), is a new one for us this season. And it's a fast favorite. It truly lives up to the common name "satin flower" - such a silky, smooth flower. Beautiful in bouquets and arrangements.

Larkspur! This season larkspur has won me over heart and soul. Especially this lavender variety.

Nigella. This variety with the dark purple center is nothing short of "aha!". Perfect airy filler.

Agrostemma, "ocean pearls". Another new one for us this year. Such a beautiful and productive bloomer. This is a really popular one among our farmers market customers.

We're saying farewell to Icelandic Poppies for the season, but "champagne bubbles" were our favorite!

And then we go ahead and put them all together. Anacortes Market on Saturdays, Columbia City on Wednesdays - find us in the flowers!

Seed Magic!

As the ever present weeds stretch out in the spring light they have a whole host of new friends this year. Around our overwintering beds of hardy annuals there is an abundance of bachelor buttons, burplureum, cerinthe, icelandic poppies, larkspur, and yarrow. Once you get used to identifying a few early characteristics of these spring favorites you'll find it hard to seed anything as healthy and as early in your greenhouse. Magic of the Seed! They know just when to go for it and with the warm spring weather they have been thriving. 

Cerinthe!

Cerinthe!

Cerinthe has been a great flower to work with once we figured out the stage of harvest and it has prolific seed production. In our experience, once their large seeds are starting to appear on lower blossoms they seem to have a much greater vase life. In the past few weeks I have been gathering these from walkways and weeding them out of sea holly and shuffling them into greenhouse beds and covering them with a light row cover out in the field. All signs are pointing to an early bounty of this filler.

Bupleurum!

Bupleurum!

The early growth of bupleurum is easy to spot by its two-dimensional alternating structure. The bright yellow flowers, leaves similar to eucalyptus and a structure that makes bouquets easy to build off of, makes this one of my favorites for the early spring. It took me a bit to spot this one as it gets going but once I did I found a carpet of it in walkways between beds. Interestingly enough, it is also a medicinal herb used in a variety of ways, for now, we'll just be using it in bouquets.

The Icelandic Poppy!

The Icelandic Poppy!

You need to be gentle with these ones every step of the way. Icelandic poppies seed abundantly like most other poppies but it offers the grower a particularly ethereal blossom that will last in a vase better than most poppies. If you want to move these seedlings around its good to do it as soon as they are starting to look vigorous and water them in well.

Buttons for the bachelor!

Buttons for the bachelor!

I wait for the bright blue of bachelor buttons with great anticipation in the spring, watching the sturdy plants take off on pace with the cover crop, using every bit of sun and rain the spring brings. The sight of that bright blue among the soft yellows of daffodils and bupleurum is a welcome sign that the full bounty of summer is just around the corner. When transplanting these I try to remember how long it takes to harvest bachelor buttons and scale back my plantings to 30'-40' of bed space that I want to have blooming at a single time. These are some hardy seedlings and I generally have a good time with the extras, planting them on the edges of walkways and shady places that might bloom late or just offer a nice bit of bonus color on our farm. 

Much more to come soon! Thanks for reading.

Paul

Natural Colors

Last summer, amidst the flurry of plantings, weddings, and markets, we saved plant material to experiment with natural dyes this winter. Marigolds hung from our rafters all throughout the summer and fall, rudbeckia heads were laid out to dry. Our neighbor Margot saved black walnut husks for us from the trees outside our window – her fingertips kept the signs of walnut for months.

This winter our kitchen was full of dye pots simmering away. It’s been so fun to play with the colors that certain plant matter and flowers contain. Marigolds give of a soft tan to golden yellow, black walnuts this deep, rich brown, and rudbeckia offers a silvery sage green when it’s simmered in an iron afterbath. We have a few skeins for sale in our shop.

I’m really excited to continue experimenting with natural dyes this season. Our friends Emily and Tatyana at Local Color Fiber Studio, introduced us to natural dyes when we lived on Bainbridge Island (they do a spectacular job). I’ve been fascinated with the idea of incorporating natural dyes into our flower farm ever since. We are constantly deadheading our flowers. We’re all about plant material most of the year, translating these plants into fibers seems like a beautiful and natural component of our farm.

The colors and textures of flowers are one of the things that captivate me the most. I love that these colors can be shared through fiber and textiles as well. Keep your ears open – we have a few fun natural dye adventures up our sleeves for this summer.


Just keep growing

As wild as it seems, there are tiny sprouts coming up under the remay in our lower field. Larkspur, nigella, bupleurum, bachelor buttons, ammi, Bells of Ireland, and more - hibernating underground before jumping out with beautiful vigor in early spring.

Ranunculus is chugging along in the greenhouse. This is one we're super excited for! Unfortunately, it appears that the mice may have eaten all our anemones. Try, try again,

Daffodils are starting to peek up too. I often plant bulbs and think to myself - well, here goes nothing. But in reality - something beautiful always comes of it.

Days are getting longer! It's almost balmy, right? Ha.

Weeks 1 and 2: Starting to seed and embracing beginnings

Paul and I have grand ambitions to write a blog post at least once a week this season. We will see where that goal takes us, and hope for the best.

The first two weeks of 2016 are off to a good start for us here at Foothills Flowers. We've been through some freezing weather and super clear starry skies and then to warmer days with sunshine and rain.

We're mapping out our fields for the coming season, cleaning up compost piles, putting up our start houses and starting seeds.

Behind our house is a little greenhouse with loads of mint, rosemary, and an assortment of forgotten flowers. I'm loving it as a place to organize seeds in this early season before hauling them up to our start house in the upper field.

One of these days soon we'll pull new plastic over it and renew once more. In the past couple weeks, our seed orders have started arriving in the mail, and I'm starting our rounds of hardy annual successions. 

These babies are going in the start house - snapdragons, orlaya, stock, salvia, foxgolve, cerinthe, nicotiana, and scabiosa (if the mice ever stop eating it). More starting tomorrow! And sweet peas soaking in the house. New seasons are such beautiful beginnings.

Down in our fields the dianthus is holding it's own and the hardy annuals we seeded in the fall are starting to pop. Ranunculus and anemones coming up in the greenhouse. Hooray.

 Here's to a beautiful 2016 and season ahead!

 

Dahlias

Frost may come any day now - the chill in the air is growing - but making their last stand in our garden, the dahlias shine on. If we haven't had a frost by next week, we'll say farewell to the blooms anyway and dig those tubers up.

Dahlias were the first flowers I ever cut for sale while I was a farm apprentice at Persephone Farm in Indianola, Washington (this is where I fell for flowers, too). I loved dahlias then, their countless colors and standout structure. I was reminded this season why they capture so many floral loving hearts.

Here are a few of my favorites from our 2015 crop. We're already getting our dahlia order in for next season (as this year's crop ends, order your tuber/seeds/bulbs for next!), I think we might just give in and grow some Cafe au Laits...

We grew this lovely dahlia from tubers ordered from Sunny Meadows Flower Farm in Ohio. 'Lilac Shadow' has been one of our most prolific bloomers this season. It seems every morning, the flowers are opening anew.

Another prolific dahlia - Sonic Bloom from Swan Island Dahlias.

The delicate variations of 'Honey Dew' perfectly meld with an August morning.

Maarn is one of my favorites.

Mary Munns - a tiny gem of a pom pon.

And then it was Fall

Paul and I had the most beautful, consistent, and exciting intentions for our blog this season. But - like so many bloggers before us - life swirled around, flowers started blooming out our ears, and all of a sudden we're planting hardy annuals, gathering greens for wreaths, and dreaming of our next season.

Hopefully in the coming weeks, I can share some of the photos we took through the season - though we didn't take quite as many as we could have - and we'll get back in the habit of sharing bits of this flowery life.

Our dahlias are still blooming, the zinnias, cosmos, amaranth, and marigolds are hanging on. The fields are filling up with hardy annuals - queen anne's lace, bachelor buttons, orlaya, bupleurum, scabiosa, poppies, cerinthe, bells of ireland and more. Our bulbs are being tucked in and cover crop is germinating green and lush. 

Our final weddings have celebrated with local flowers, and the days are dipping into evening earlier and earlier. It has been a most beautiful season. Every day we look at each other and marvel that we spend our days on this gorgeous land, amongst the flowers.


July tour

The garden is bursting, bursting, bursting with blooms! We were away for a wedding this week and came back to sunflowers, rudbeckia, foxglove, sweet peas, and more.

Here are some photos from last weeks blooms - imagine all this, plus so much more. July!

NIgella - both the seed pods and the flowers are so beautiful.

Ageratum - love this fuzzy purple flower! It only gets better with age - and has an awesome vase life.

Ageratum - love this fuzzy purple flower! It only gets better with age - and has an awesome vase life.

Bupleurum

Bupleurum

lovely larkspur

lovely larkspur

Statice

Statice

Hot biscuits amaranth

Hot biscuits amaranth

Amaranth reaching towards the foothills

Amaranth reaching towards the foothills

Sweet pea trellis

Sweet pea trellis

Nicotiana

Nicotiana

Off to market in the little blue truck

Off to market in the little blue truck

Longest day of the year

Summer. It’s felt like summer for quite some time now, what with so little rain and days where the river feels like a bathtub. I’m always amazed by the lingering light -the way it stretches on and on until I look at the clock and 10:30pm has snuck up from behind the hills.

Our annuals are taking off – Chantilly snapdragons priding themselves on their classic shapes in bright pinks, salmons, and yellows. Double click cosmos budding into full disks- cranberry, white, ballerina pink.

And the sweet peas – one turn of my head and they’ve bloomed more. It seems all I can do to keep cutting and bunching. All the while floating on the scent of early summer. April in Paris is always my favorite – with its white rimmed in lavender, I think it is one of the most aptly named flowers.

Cerinthe is a new flower for me. Abundance in bounds - it’s silver, blue, green, and purple, and offers the most interesting shape. Purple heads nodding on succulent green and silver stems.

Yesterday morning, my seven year-old self spoke up, remembering my love for fairies glitting on sunbeams. Picking bachelor buttons, poppies, and sweet peas I thought “aha! I’ve finally found where the fairies must live”.


Noticing

Growing flowers - growing food - makes me take notice. I find myself noting where peonies are blooming out finding each little colombine plant in the depths of nettle forests, peering towards calendula volunteers, and waiting for the mock orange trees to burst into bloom.

Especially being in a new place - my eyes feel so open to each season as it unfolds. And it's amazing to watch how literally the days do unfold. On Monday, our poppy plants are mere leaves - by Wednesday their buds are growing up towards the clouds, nodding their little heads. On Friday, the blossoms outside our house are white - on Sunday they're budding towards red.

I think about when things will bloom, notice when they're early. The peonies are early this year - so often I think of them as a June flower, and there they were - open to the world in the middle of May.

A little table arrangement - now brightening our kitchen table. Peonies, dianthus, lupine, honeysuckle, sage.

A little table arrangement - now brightening our kitchen table. Peonies, dianthus, lupine, honeysuckle, sage.

The foxglove is opening now too. This is one I always I associate with springs and summers growing up on Vashon. Those purples and pinks dotting our property, regal and playful - to me they have such an island, woodland feel. I think I love them now. The reminder of Vashon Island and such a warm home. We don't have too many around here, just a few. I have a bunch seeded in the greenhouse and am excited to have more in the coming seasons.

The Nootka Rose is blooming now too. The pink flowers brighten up the hedge rows down by the river. Food and flowers - both can ignite such beautiful memories. Nootka rose sweeps me back to San Juan Island, my first year of farming, where I fell for the soil and the rhythm of plants.

Our annuals are about to shout out their colors, sing out their shapes. It's been a blessing though, to have so many perennials around us. They fill out arrangements beautifully, lighten the house with soft pinks, bright purples, and countless shades of green.

~ Sadie

Poppies and planting

This is the time of year where when I step away from the farm and come back after a few days – plants seem to have a grown in leaps and bounds. It’s magical.

Our lower fields are planted, the last of our dahlias are in! Major daydreams of big dahlia blooms paired with amaranth, dill, and zinnias. I’m so looking forward to the Fairhaven market, starting up on June 3.

We had the opportunity to sell some bouquets in Seattle over Mother’s Day. Paul had an awesome time delivering these beautiful bouquets of hellebore, lupine, mint, thimbleberry, salmon berry, Solomon’s seal, and columbine to our friends at Saltbox Designs. We got to share the love with my mom – flowers for everyone! And, are super grateful for all our Seattle friends that made it out to pick up a bouquet.

Paul and I were out in the early morning on Wednesday, planting out more zinnias, nasturtium, cosmos, asters, and amaranth. As we walked into the garden, these oriental poppies were tucked down towards the ground, barely peeping some red out from their pods. The next time I glanced over, they had popped up and out – a giant, billowy burst of red.

~ Sadie

May flowers

Spring popping its way towards summer! Potatoes are peeking up, the farm is a wash in every shade of green you can imagine. Paul sowed oats and peas for future chicken feed - they're making a stunning appearance in the lower field.

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Our fields are tilled, with hundreds of baby flowers nestling the roots down into the soil, and sending their green tips towards the sky. Snapdragons, cerinthe, ammi, dill, calendula, sunflowers, sweet peas, asters, nicotana, bupleurum, millet, marigolds, bells of ireland, ageratum, rudbeckia and zinnias - all stretching out to be part of the show.

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There's this beautiful purple and white lupine blooming in the garden. It's been shining bright alongside irises, thimble berry foliage, columbine, hellebore, and solomon's seal in our bouquets. Whenever I see a lupine I think of the children's book - The Lupine Lady.

Along with lupine, we've been discovering loads of columbine blooming up and out from every nook and cranny. It's one of those things - once we started noticing it, we've been seeing it everywhere. 

~ Sadie