Monday, June 12, 2017

Before these recent hot temperatures, I really enjoyed the week of pleasant spring weather. Luckily, it coincided with the first lavender harvest. I harvest and dry for bunching and make woven lavender hearts and wands, all of which we sell in the shop.

Lavender flowers should be harvested in bud, before the small, individual florets open. Many florets will drop, if cut when they're open, resulting in the loss of a lot of fragrance. The dark purple variety is Hidcote and is at its prime for harvesting.


The lavender variety is Munstead. Many of its florets have opened, so it is past its prime. However, this is the stage when the bees are anxious to work it. I let it go as long as the bees are interested, and cut off the spent flower stems when they are done with the flowers


After flowering is also the time to shape your plants. As long as there is new foliage at the base, I'll cut it back hard and remove the lanky or spindly stems.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Thanks to everyone who visited us at the Landis Valley Herb Faire. Although Saturday was a wash out, plenty of people came out on Friday. We see a lot of our regular customers from the farm who stop by or wave. And it's nice to see returning customers who visit us each year at the faire. We appreciate all the compliments we receive on the health and appearance of our plants and our large selection.

We still have plenty available at the farm. If you feel like you're behind with the unpredictable weather, you have plenty of time to plant both perennials and annuals. Stop by and we'll help you make selections that will work for your setting.

Here are some things that are looking particularly nice in the garden. Baptisia or false indigo, is a native plant in the pea family. The beautiful blue flowers are followed by blue seed pods.


Oriental poppies are perennial and also reseed, so you can get a big patch fast. The delicate pink petals remind me of tissue paper and they surround a beautiful blue-black center. It's easy to stand and admire these flowers when they bloom.

The four square garden contains mostly culinary herbs.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Many thanks to everyone who came out to our spring open house last week. What a success - it was our best open house ever! We met a lot of nice folks who were visiting the farm for the first time. And we always enjoy greeting returning customers that we haven't seen for awhile.

People are so complimentary - they comment on the health and appearance of our plants, the wide selection we carry and the interesting items in the shop. Some folks strolled through the gardens. I gave John all the credit there because he's been working on the gardens while I've been working with the plants.

It seems that my cautioning people not to plant basil in the ground yet is on target. I see nighttime of 40 degrees at the end of the week. Young basil plants will not even happy with that. Hold off a little longer. Don't worry, we have loads of beautiful basil!


I always say, " Who can resist a flower with a face?" Like Johnny jump ups...


Or  "Jolly Joker" pansy...

Monday, April 17, 2017

A shout out to Sam and Nancy - thanks for visiting​ on a rainy spring day. You surprised both John and I! We met Sam and Nancy through visiting their business, Potting Shed Antiques, on Farmersville Rd. below Ephrata. If you're looking for some interesting additions to your garden - chairs, benches, fence, figurines, bird baths, etc. - check them out. We always find something we love to add to our gardens.

The perennials were moved outside last week. Now they are hardened off, so they are ready to go in the ground.


Even though the weather has been mild, it's too early to plant annuals. Our last frost date is generally mid-May and I don't believe chilly nights are over yet. Be patient a little longer for things like zinnias, tender sages, (pineapple and white) tomatoes and basil. Basil especially likes hot weather and nighttime temperatures consistently in the 50s.

How do bulbs migrate around? I understand seeds moving with the wind or by birds, but I have some daffodils in the wilderness area. It's a variety I've never grown and I certainly didn't plant them there. We also have a lovely patch of grape hyacinths in a small wooded section of sour cherry trees. The closest ones are halfway across the yard on the border with our neighbor. There's so pretty that I picked a bouquet to enjoy inside.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The greenhouse is filled with rosemary


And scented geraniums


And lots of other herbs and old-fashioned plants.


Customers are stopping by with wish lists, or to pick up a plant list which details all our plant offerings to help them plan their gardens.

The greenhouse is full and next week, we'll move the perennials outside. After about a week outside, they'll be hardened off and ready to plant in the ground.

I'm still planting annuals. Those cannot be planted outside until mid-May, so they have plenty of time to size up.

On nice days, now is the time to get out and do garden clean up. Cut back non-woody perennials to the ground. Trim the dead off woody stemmed perennials. Cut back butterfly bushes and other summer blooming shrubs.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Thank goodness that's over! I don't mind snow in the winter, but once March comes and I'm preparing for spring, I'm not interested in snow. And this time, we had plants in both greenhouses, so it was essential that everything was taken care of. As the snow melts, we have to shovel it away from the sides of the greenhouses so it does not accumulate and collapse the sides. When it's a substantial amount, we wind up with a "moat" around he perimeter. I hope that's the end of shoveling this year.



But inside, things are really progressing. All the rooted cuttings and most of the divisions are planted. Lots of seedlings left to go, since I seed crops weekly over about two months.

But after a sunny day, I can go in the greenhouse and see that things have grown from the previous day. And on a warm day, as I water, all kinds of delicious aromas are released. It's a great start to spring.


The greenhouse officially opens April 1. Starting then, our spring hours are Tuesday-Saturday 9am to 5pm and Wednesday evenings until 7pm.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

March is a confounding month. Talk about the pendulum swinging. While it's winter outside...



It's spring inside!



We've really been working on our spring preparation in the greenhouse. Planting plugs and seedlings and dividing perennial stock plants. Lots and lots of planting. It's so nice to see the greenhouse filling up and watch the little plants take hold and start growing.

John spent most of today tagging plants. Each pot gets a tag, so you remember what you bought when you get it home. Since we grow so many varieties, it takes a while to pull all the tags and place them in the appropriate flat.

Be on the lookout for your spring newsletter. We'll be sending them out in the next week or two. You can read about our new plants, our spring hours and upcoming events. At least we can think spring! I