6.25.2017

I Promise



It's summer break. And this teacher is celebrating. I am celebrating 25 years of teaching middle school. Complete. Along with hormones (theirs and mine), an endless stream of changes....mostly for the better, and a forward vision that cannot be contained.

I'm sitting here alone this morning, every possible window thrown fast to the sky. The ocean breeze must be perfectly southeast today, its lingering salty thickness fills my nostrils and invades every open space, (although several miles away). I welcome it with a milky coffee and a pair of petite gluten free muffins.

 I revel silently in the quiet of the kitchen, absorbing all that summer brings and means. It is planning and dreaming and hoping. It is a garden just planted, laundry to be hung, a house to be willingly cleaned and organized.

Summer has always felt like a friend lifting an unnoticed weight from my shoulders. Not a burden. Just a heaviness that carries with it too few hours of sleep, and a jumbled brain.

This new freedom sparks my creative side. I long to tug the color from the not yet ready flower blossoms. For now I will be content with their amazing structure and late afternoon shadows.

I look around at rooms filled with filtered sunlight and indulge in the dappled glow that I miss on early to school mornings. I pretend I am a stay at home mom, and coddle two teens a bit more than needed...or wanted...

I also sit here with regret. Regret for summers past...ones where my planning came up short... or my dreams became murky and lost.

So today I make myself a promise, one that only the ocean air and I will know...a promise to just live life this summer. A promise to feel joy or exude kindness. A promise to explore and listen and love. A promise to be patient with myself and to let some things go. A promise to write, write, write, to conquer the stack of books by my bedside and to carry my camera everywhere. A promise to head to the beach at least one a week (even if the house is a mess), to walk for pleasure and to eat healthy, yummy meals from the garden. A promise to not look back with regret...rather to look forward with hope.

It's summer break!!!!!

6.06.2017

Grateful






Drip. Drip. Drip. I stood at the foyer door looking out over the wave of ferns and lush green maples. The sound is what caught my attention first. A steady drip from the gutter onto the leaves of a large potted rose below. A rose waiting to be planted in one of the gardens down the hill. Yet here I was again, surrounded by gray skies and plump drops falling in an endless stream. 

I have been patient. I have been hopeful. I have stood in knee high boots with hair plastered to my face and cold, damp, goose bump covered arms coveting a fleece blanket. (Or perhaps something steaming hot with an indulgent shot of Bailey’s). I have let the drops encircle me for a bit…doing their own rain dance of sorts as I tried to tuck at least one bed with seeds. 

Yet here I stand as skies fade from pale pewter to charcoal, nose pressed hopefully to panes of leaded glass. My world has become a jungle of leaves and blades and petals, shades of green from a Crayola box morphing into an eye-catching scene from Van Gogh’s Irises, although absent is the sunny backdrop.

The rain has forced me to stop and contemplate a moment in time that otherwise would have been forgotten, if not nonexistent. A brief flicker of time spent enveloped in one’s own senses. Overpowered. Overcome. Overjoyed. Forever grateful.

3.21.2017

Garden Book Giveaway!

Win Floret Farm's beautiful garden book!


This is an UNSPONSORED giveaway!





As a flower grower, I appreciate EVERY ounce of assistance that Erin and her team have given to those of us pursuing our dreams!  This giveaway is a thanks to Erin!

Click here to enter on Amazon! 

Good Luck!
(one copy of the book will be given away)

xo

Monica



2.22.2017

What I'm Growing {Part I}

It's February vacation, and this 6th grade teacher only has one thing on her mind…FLOWERS!

This is the week I decide what varieties to grow again, and which ones didn't quite meet my expectations. I'm also venturing into new varieties, as my quest to be a part-time flower farmer is expanding at a speed that I seem to have no control over! It's just kind of "happening". And I love every single detail! My word of the year, PURPOSE, sure is taking itself seriously. 

I hope you'll join me as I share my must haves for flower growing 2017 here at Prince Snow Farm.

{Dahlias} Oh my. Last year I decided to give them a try. Not just the one or two I've grown in an ornamental garden…but 60 tubers collected over the winter with hopes of making an attempt. And WOW did they produce! They are very late bloomers here in coastal Massachusetts…but once they start, they just don't quit. I was picking dahlias well into the fall!And now I have hundreds of new Dahlias to plant. Hopefully I divided them correctly!




{Zinnias} Zinnias have always been a favorite. I plant them close and hardly thin. I encourage long stemmed plants by NOT pinching. Zinnias will produce for me from early to mid-July until first frost. They are my staple flower. I strip all leaves on Zinnias before creating bouquets…so even a little powdery mildew or insect damage will not harm this star of the garden! ( I direct sow after the last frost has passed, and stagger the planting by two weeks) The Benary Giant varieties are my favorites.

 {Snapdragons} I grew a lovely rose-hued variety from seed. (Look in the center of the round vase photo). I didn't have great luck..but I love them enough to try again. Mine were VERY late to bloom,and not especially prolific. They seemed to take a long time to get established once planted out. Opinions? Suggestions?


{Sunflowers} My majestic backdrop…just love them. I grow a small branching variety to mix in multi-flower bouquets, and a larger variety to sell in sunflower bouquets. Plant the larger varieties closer for more manageable head size when making bouquets. I am expanding my sunflower space to about 5x its previous space!



{Nasturtium} Nasturtium are so easy. I direct seed in any old soil and trail the stems over fences and spilling from planters. Nasturtium can add such vibrance to a mixed bouquet. I especially enjoyed crafting this ENTIRELY edible bouquet.

{Cosmos} Cosmos have such slender stems that I treat them like a filler instead of as a main component of my bouquets. But this "filler" sure puts on a show. They add an air of beauty that keeps me coming back. I always direct sow Cosmos after the danger of frost has passed. Double Click Mix is a favorite. I tend to plant Cosmos as a backdrop, allowing the front rows to lend support.




{Limelight Hydrangea}  Our two Limelight Hydrangea bushes have grown into trees as tall as our house in just a matter of a few years. The blossoms keep on coming, even when traditional hydrangeas aren't blooming due to harsh winter temps. They also dry beautifully at the end of the season for indoor arrangements.

{Queen Anne's Lace} Although viewed by some as invasive and a nuisance, QAL was a great and persistent filler. I grew from seed and planted out in a raised bed. Hoping it comes back this year…I'll get back to you on the invasive piece!


{Bronze Fennel} Oh Fennel, how I love you! You attract copious bees (yes, I am a flower farmer who is OK with pollen!). You are vibrant, you are edible, and you make the most imaginative flash of color in my bouquets. So yes, I let you spread into any raised bed you want. You are always welcome here. 

{Lavender} I usually harvest for drying, but also love adding a few almost gone by stems for height. Lavender is a must have.

{Gladiolus} Glads have gotten a bad reputation. Often associated with funerals…but man are they gorgeous. I pick when just a few blossoms are open. I love the yummy sherbet mixes. Glads have a stem height that is hard to findgo for it!

I'm not even halfway done!

I'll be back later this week with more suggestions! 

In the meantime, please leave me YOUR favorites in the comments section.

Happy planning!

xo
Monica @prince snow farm 







1.04.2017

Blessed Beyond Measure

Happy New Year!


January's Freeze

2016 was a year of introspection.


It was a year of developing a keener concept of what makes me"ME". 

Standing Right next to Jane Goodall! A dream!

I have explored the concept of "self" for some time…searching, hoping, questioning.



In 2016 I decided I would add a few more flowers to our growing season.


Taking down the picket fence.

After all, I thought, flowers are easy.


And they are. 


Ok, so I have grown them since childhood.
The garden is my safe place. My artist's palette. My living journal.

Sao Miguel, Azores

So what happened?


In between the rows of plump tomatoes, stems of bright blossoms swayed in the breeze.


Each week from mid-July until late October, I gathered arms full of flowers.


And they blessed me…not just with their extraordinary beauty…but with whispers on my heart.


I feel silly actually…to think that for 40 years I have almost ignored the calling.


I have taken for granted what sat right before my nose.



To think that I almost missed the signs.

Mattapoisett Harbor

I almost became so buried in daily routines,


that I neglected to listen...


…to watch...


…to open my heart.


And then one day, I read an article about myself. And I stood back and admired this stranger….


...this person who was one with nature.


I almost envied her. That girl on the page with the blossoms in her hand.



And that's when the skies opened and a lifetime of questioning and wondering dissolved at my feet.


True PURPOSE blazed in front of me. 
A carpet made of blossoms in every hue, with varied petals and textures lay out before me. 
And it was then that I knew I would move forward with confidence and swiftness.
Blessed Beyond Measure.



12.17.2016

Simmering Potpourri for Christmas

I LOVE making homemade gifts at Christmas. Little hearts filled with lavender…dried rose petals tucked in vintage hankies…but my absolute favorite homemade gift is simmering potpourri.


It's so easy! I dehydrate a big bag full of organic oranges. Then I combine 
them with cinnamon sticks, star anise and whole cloves.


I mix it all up in a generous piece of crispy cellophane and tie the top with pretty burlap ribbon or twine. I like to attach a pretty card printed on simple card stock with ingredients and directions. (I've included a warning to keep away from pets…they may be attracted to the aroma under the tree, and I'd hate any cute little ones to get sick!)

Find two versions of my tags here and here.

I like to order Star West Botanicals organic herbs/spices from Amazon. I have Prime, so they arrive super fast (Not an affiliate, just what I love to use!) In fact I'm about to order mine now!!

(If you cannot get the tag links to work, leave me a comment and I can email you JPEGS)

And Do Not forget to save a batch for yourself!!



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