Journal

Natural Dye Notebook :: No. 1, Prepared for Dye

Posted by Erin Howe on

Natural Dye Notebook :: No. 1, Prepared for Dye

The ribbon is really what started it. Every Mother’s Day I snag up on the choice of ribbon to wrap around the bouquets I send out. I want something luxurious, but that doesn’t break the bank for me or my customers, and I want something biodegradable. No sense in a single-use ribbon ending up in a landfill.  I’ve tried polyester satin. Shiny and beautiful, but not biodegradable. Acetate; technically biodegradable but looks like funeral flowers to me. And I’ve tried silk, but it’s so limp it doesn’t hold any shape, especially after going through the cold, wet cooler. Fluttery is...

Read more →

How to Start a Flower Farm

Posted by Erin Howe on

How to Start a Flower Farm

I’ve noticed a trend among flower farmers: they’ll start a farm, work hard at it for several years, and then write a book. The book will be full of gorgeous photos of their farm and instructions for beginners on how to start their own flower farms. Because the best teacher is often not the seasoned expert, for whom whatever’s being taught is second nature, but the enthusiastic intermediate. A little experience, a fresh memory of the beginner’s pitfalls, and wonder not yet worn into habit can make for a good hand to hold.    And so I began to wonder, as...

Read more →

Friends Like You

Posted by Erin Howe on

Friends Like You

This winter I was reading George Eliot’s magnificent shadow-box of English rural life at the turn of the 19th century, Adam Bede, when I came across a quote that made me laugh out loud. Mrs. Poyser, the sharp-witted, sharp-tongued farmer’s wife, having been praised for the flavor of her whey, says,     “Ay, ay, the smell o’ bread’s sweet to everybody but the baker. The Miss Irwines always say, “O, Mrs. Poyser, I envy you your dairy; and I envy you your chickens; and what a beautiful thing a farmhouse is, to be sure!” An’ I say, “Yis, a farmhouse...

Read more →

The Peony/Farm/er in Winter

Posted by Erin Howe on

The Peony/Farm/er in Winter

Question: What does a peony plant look like in winter? My favorite measuring tool.In winter, it’s said that peonies “die back” to the ground. I guess that’s sort of accurate, if a very people-centric way to say it, since the top half of the plant does die entirely. Below the ground, though, a peony root is the exact opposite of dead.  If, in spring, we were to dig up some of the bare root peonies that we planted in the fall, we’d find that they’re covered in white, hairlike feeder roots that they’ve been industriously growing all winter. If we...

Read more →