When I was growing up, the rule was: Don’t plant vegetable starts or annuals until May Day. Maybe back then the spring frosts were more harsh. Still, it’s a good idea to wait until all risk of frost is gone before you put delicate seedlings in the ground.
This past winter was a long one and so far the April showers have been many. Truly though, May flowers are around the corner, and many of us are ready to get our hands dirty.
Three new books just out will help gardeners boost their enthusiasm.
“Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest &Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms” — by Skagit Valley farmer-florist Erin Benzakein (with help from Julie Chai) — is perhaps the most exciting of the three.
The book includes chapters on planning, caring for the growing flowers, and then season-by-season chapters on bloomers and projects.
Floret Flower Farm’s Benzakein (a self-described “floral-obsessed nut”) is constantly posting on Facebook beautiful photos of incredible bouquets of amazing flowers of all kinds. Think daffodils, tulips, peonies, poppies, cosmos, roses, zinnias, ranunculuses, chrysanthemums, sunflowers and dahlias.
But it was a photo of her pickup truck filled with buckets of dahlias that got Benzakein on the map. Movie stars and Martha Stewart discovered Floret, and it was over. The 2-acre farm near Mount Vernon and Benzakein’s bouquet stylings are now internationally famous.
In 2014, Floret was awarded the Martha Stewart American Made award in the floral design category. Describing Benzakein’s bouquets is difficult. Most are wide, airy, asymmetrical and inclusive of all sorts of things — various blossoms, buds, seed pods, leaves and other greenery.
Benzakein says the problem beginner florists have is that they try to use only the most beautiful blossoms, when a combination of big and small is better…