During the growing season, every week offers a different mix of flowers blooming and ready to be cut. The off-season is not as pretty (in fact, it is quite the opposite) but it to changes week to week. This year, my aim is to record most weeks the changes and actions I am taking around the cut flower garden. At the end of the year, I want to be able to look back over this series and see my Year in Flowers in photo and blog form - much inspired by Floret's A Year in Flowers.
In this seventh week of the year, we are in the very middle of the off season. In my zone 8b Washington garden I have clay soil. Really, I have just clay. There are paths worn into the ground where I walked repeatedly all year which no longer have grass growing. Rainy day after rainy day has left these paths as pure clay mud. My boots become caked in it, I slip, it gets all over my pants and my clothes. It's filthy.
This slimy clay means I had to amend my garden beds with sand, loam and compost to help break it up. Originally, I turned over the beds with my two-wheeled tiller to get this amendment incorporated. Now, however, I am aiming to use the worms and microorganisms existing in the soil under the grassy sections I am converting to garden to help me incorporate compost and sand into the clay soil. This method is called "No Till" and it allows the existing living soil structure to be undisturbed in the process. That living soil is vital to grow healthy plants, and I am hoping o maintain and improve it rather than turn it all over and ruin the natural layering that already exists.
I laid down layers of cardboard over the grass a couple weeks ago. Already, the grass is turning yellow and sinking into itself. My hope is that over the coming weeks, he worms will naturally break up much of the root and grass so that I have less to peel up before I layer on my compost and amendments and lay down barrier before the planting season starts. I could simply leave the grass and the cardboard as is and add my layers on top of that. That may be the method I take, depending on the progress over the next month.
The perennial gardens are waking up. I have some daffodils that were accidentally left in the ground after last season which are budding up. The peonies are poking their stems out of their tubers, and the roses are flushing with a crazy amount of new growth. I pruned the roses back just before the last wave of intense rain began and apparently that was the right thing to do. There are going to be a great amount of early season roses.
Inside, I have trays and trays of seeds and seedlings under lights on shelves. I stared my perennials and slow growing annuals in mid January. I've spent many hours drafting, drawing and measuring out the garden beds and what pants will go where, how many to start, and when to start them.
Because this season includes taking down the tent shop and building a permanent one, I have completely taken over my living room in our small house with seeding, potting, and designing. Outside the tent is steadily being emptied and it's contents moved to the side of the house under tarps. I've also got a lot of stuff I've been hoarding from past parties, events, and things given to me that I need to take to the thrift store to donate. When I have the space, I tend to fill it up. I'm looking forward to a more minimalist studio space when the 10x12 workshop is built.
It really is a mess. Mud and so much stuff everywhere. But I can see the vision of what it will become. Mother Nature is giving me that little hint of the spring that is coming through these flowers popping up and blooming (thank you, nursery hellebores). Now the rest of this week seven is going to consist of driving to Scattered Seeds Flower Farm and Seattle Wholesale Growers Market to stock up on some locally grown blooms and foliage for valentines day.
Keep up to date with the cutting garden and studio behind the scenes on Instagram @paeoniapines. Subscribe to the email newsletter to see the week-to-week changes as the cutting garden grows and stay in the loop on available bouquets that week (form at the bottom of page). If you want to be a part of the cutting garden and receive flowers through the summer season, check out the Cut Flower Bouquet membership options.
Thanks for being here and checking in on the cut flower garden in week 7!