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Winter at California Organic Flowers


Winter at California Organic Flowers.bouqNarciscus.jpg

Compared to most of the country, our winters hardly qualify as a ‘real winter’. When my wife Julia and I moved here from Eastern Idaho, where winter lasts seven months, we thought we had landed in the Bahamas. But, we soon learned that Californians consider it cold here and escape to Hawaii for relief from winter! To be fair, we do get this nasty cold fog that settles in the Sacramento Valley and it is as wet and bone chilling as anyone could need. But, for the most part, winters here are a bit like a long cool spring. In fact, the first rains in October trigger the growth of spring bulbs like narcissus (paper whites) that start blooming in January. Yes, that is correct, those cute little fragrant daffodils that most of the country forces inside in little pots grow perfectly well outside here in California. My favorite paper whites are not white at all. I like the Grand Soleil D’ Or, which is a Tazzeta Narcissus and blooms with yellow petals and an orange cup. But the best attribute of Grand Soleil D’ Or is its wonderful sweet fragrance. Unlike the 'white' paper whites which have a ‘some love it, some hate it’ fragrance, Grand Soleil D’ Or is deliciously reminiscent of spring hyacinths. Our Grand Soleil D’ or is generally available in January and February.

Even in our mild winters, a little help is needed to coax flowers into blooming in December and January. We plant some of our crops into 100’x20’ poly covered greenhouses to give them a bit of extra warmth and to protect them from frost. Our greenhouse is a nice toasty 75’ when it is sunny and 55’ outside. Of course, when that nasty valley fog roles in, the greenhouse is of little help! Fortunately we get more sun than fog most years and our happy sheltered plants prosper. Our main greenhouse crops are freesia, ranunculus, anemone, tulips and Dutch iris.

Anemones are always our first flowers to bloom in the winter. In fact it is a tradition of ours to bring the first anemone into our home and put it by itself in special hand blown bud vase. It is the first bloom of winter and very appreciated.  With the help of our greenhouse, our first anemone bloom in early December.  You can find bouquets of anemone on our website from early December until March. Anemones come in rich primary colors of royal purple, deep magenta, fuchsia pink and bright red. Very simple to care for, like most bulb crops, anemones have a long vase life and rarely cloud the vase water. Nonetheless, like all cut flowers, it best to change the vase water regularly to extend the life of your bouquet. Arrange anemones by themselves in mass in a clear glass vase so you can see their smooth graceful stems under water. My favorite vase for anemones is a simple ginger jar vase which affords just the right angle to display their bright blossoms.

By now most flower lovers are familiar with Dutch iris. With my Dutch heritage, I am partial to these lovely flowers. Deep primary blue and rich golden yellow are the main colors for Dutch iris. And it is fortunate, because those two colors compliment each other perfectly. Dutch irises express a wild grassy look and are a perfect compliment to any bouquet. They are not as long lived as many flowers, so we always ship them in bud stage so you can see their full transformation from pencil stage where just a tip of blue is showing to full bloom five days later. www.californiaorganicflowers.com

 

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Posted on Monday, September 3, 2007 at 08:25PM by Registered Commenter[Your Name Here] in | Comments3 Comments | References37 References

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