Cool breezes. We are endlessly grateful for cool breezes. The two jobs I envy least in a southern summer are roofer and chef. Farming is no cake walk in these temps though.
Your muscles ache from constant dehydration and a buildup of lactic acid. Your brain literally gets overheated and distinctly diminishes in cognitive function as you notice your eyes are bloodshot from being slowly simmered from the inside of your hot head. Oomph and enthusiasm wane as self doubt attempts to crawl its way inside. Why do I feel so exhausted and near-defeated so much? Am I getting too old for this? Why is everything brown? Why is everything breaking? How did these fire ants get in my underwear?
Then the God of everything good hits you with a hint of a cool breeze. Almost at the same moment, you catch the first whiff of Tea Olive blooming and all is good in the world. Nothing sets the tone for gratitude better than a background of near constant low grade suffering. The sudden absence of it, or even the first hint that the absence is coming, is invigorating. Your love for the land and the work revive again as you realize that you aren't too old or hurt to continue. You just had low grade heat stroke for 4-5 months and the fever is starting to break.
We are exhilarated that Fall has started to start out here. It's not here here, but we are getting glimpses and that's enough. "Tah Cooh Doh Mah" is how Naw and Marry say "it's cool out" and it's a delightful phrase to begin to utter again.
In addition to a newfound pep in our step, for us, Fall means dahlias and more dahlias. It also means Spring oddly enough. We have to start building new tunnels, cleaning and repairing old tunnels, testing and amending soils, processing and starting tubers, corms, seeds etc... in order to make everything near perfect so we can plant tens of thousands of Spring blooming flowers over the next 3 months. Now is the time that all the effort to shepherd ranunculus, poppies, anemones, and snaps through the winter begins. It's a great time to plant from seed as well. Spring flowers are almost always better if planted in the Fall. If you are looking for cold hardy seed varieties to plant right now for your spring garden (bachelor buttons, poppies, etc) check out our store for varieties (link below) and we can ship some to your door. In addition to adding beauty to your garden and your vases, many of them are great for supporting pollinators like honey bees and butterflies.
Spring flowers are the heart of the farm. It's our niche specialty and it's where we put most of our growing emphasis. Not all of our eggs are in one basket, but a lot of them are. The basket being the fragile ecosystem of 7 greenhouses and the cold and wet months to come, where one unprotected frost could deal a tremendous blow to our whole year.
In light of that, we tend to invest our newly invigorated energies and high spirits the Fall has bequeathed unto us into putting into motion the plethora of systems required to carry us successfully through Spring. It's a bit like conducting an unruly orchestra, but also a bit like herding cats. We can't control all the variables, so we just do our best to maximize good and minimize potential for bad. Really, that's our M.O. across all fronts, but business wise, this is the time to get really focused.
So, if we are slow to reply to an email, it's not because we are drinking pumpkin spice and antiquing. We are headlong into a million projects and doing our best to make next spring's flowers as beautiful as possible. All while harvesting, weeding, babying, bunching and shipping dahlias and running the store and plant sales etc... It's a bit discordant in the brain to be in 2 seasons at the same time, but it's all okay. We've got the occasional cool breeze.