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An Ode to the Flower Season

Last week brought the first frosts of the season to the farm. Mid day Tuesday we started feeling a little anxious.  Maybe we were taking the predicted low of 35 a little too casually, considering that in Durham the farm is always a few degrees cooler than the forecast. So we rushed to find row cover that would fit over the most sensitive crops and tucked them in for the night. However, probably the most important lesson learned from farming is that everything has it’s season and somethings need to be let go.   In this particular instance we are speaking of flowers.  Yes we could have spent the rest of the day elaborately covering them,  but the effort would far exceed the reward.  So instead that day we walked through what was left of the flowers, harvested what we could, and said our thanks and goodbyes.
Our employee Lydia harvesting the last of the Cosmos

Though our main focus at Star Light has always been, and will always be growing good food, 2022 was our 4th year growing cut flowers along side our familiar veggie friends. There have been plenty of ups and downs, not to mention the learning curve. Still certain things remain the same. Flowers are a great way to increase biodiversity on the farm. Obviously they attract loads of pollinators, insects, and even some beloved hummingbirds, but their root systems also are more interactive with the soil life than most of the veggie crops that we grow. As farmers we love long term crops like flowers, planted once and harvested all season. This again benefits the soil life because the microscopic world built around the roots isn’t disturbed, even now that the frost has taken the blooms we will leave the stalks and roots in the ground for the winter. Allowing this subterranean metropolis to live on. The cut and come again nature of flowers also makes them a valuable crop for the limited space they occupy.

But I think first and foremost flowers have become a staple for us here at Star Light for their beauty and their pleasing nature. Not only to us who grow but also to those of you customers who enjoy them. In a way anyone who chooses to buy a bouquet is taking a piece of Star Light Gardens and making it a part of their home. Flowers have this ability to evoke so much emotion, living breathing art that touches each of our senses. I doubt any two people experience any one flower the same way.

This year we had the honor and pleasure of providing flowers for a close friends wedding. It was a beautiful weekend long event. Friday night was spent listening to the grooms band play while guests helped make dozens of mini arrangements for the reception the following day. It was such a joy to gift something we tend so intimately to loved ones.

Although the ’22 flowers are through, our sights are already on 2023. Hundreds of tulip bulbs arrived this week to be planted before the new year. Dreams of entering into the world of dahlia growing are starting to materialize. Before long seed catalogs will start to pile up and so will flower seed orders. We even made some fabric dyes from some of our favorite flowers that we will play around with this winter. It’s safe to say that as vegetable production expands here so too will our flower growing.

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