Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden Book Giveaway

Benzakein with Julie Chai. Book Giveaway

Guess what!

I’m doing another book giveaway with the help of Chronicle Books and Erin Benzakein of Floret Farm I love Erin’s work. Don’t know Erin? Well, where have you been? She’s an extremely popular flower farmer, cut-flower style setter, mother, seed purveyor, and so much more. Erin’s Instagram account boasts 389,000 + followers. Can you say, “Wow!?

I was so happy to help out with her blog book tour. I mean, just looking at these photos is like taking a vacation to Skagit Valley, Washington, one of my favorite places on Earth.

“I have found tremendous joy in growing and sharing seasonal flowers and foliage. My hope is that my book will help others discover this joy and provide practical information to grow the garden of their dreams.” Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books and Erin Benzakein.
“I have found tremendous joy in growing and sharing seasonal flowers and foliage. My hope is that my book will help others discover this joy and provide practical information to grow the garden of their dreams.” Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books and Erin Benzakein.

Since my blog is very photo driven, I asked for a photo essay, and Chronicle Books sent me some beautiful photos of Floret Farm’s flowers and Erin, along with her quotes.

Sit back, grab a cup of something, tea, coffee, a cocktail and peruse the beauty. This is just some of what you can expect to see in the book which I have read.

Sit back, grab a cup of something, tea, coffee, a cocktail and peruse the beauty. This is just some of what you can expect to see in the book which I have read. Note: I was given a copy of the book for review from the publisher. 

“In the book, I share all my tried-and-true techniques for growing great cut flowers. Whether you want to grow flowers for pleasure, as food for bees and pollinators or as a potential side business, you’ll find step-by-step instructions alongside beautiful photos from my garden for inspiration.”
“In the book, I share all my tried-and-true techniques for growing great cut flowers. Whether you want to grow flowers for pleasure, as food for bees and pollinators or as a potential side business, you’ll find step-by-step instructions alongside beautiful photos from my garden for inspiration.”

The book does give detailed instructions for growing your own cut flower garden. The instructions are clear and concise, and I loved the photos. They are scrumptious as you can see.

A summer day full of zinnia harvesting at Floret Farm.
A summer day full of zinnia harvesting at Floret Farm.

I’ve bought zinnia seeds from Erin several times and other beautiful flowers for my own cut flower garden beds. I am especially fond of the ‘Oklahoma Salmon‘ variety. I love cutting gardens. They are such fun to create and grow. Just don’t forget to cut your flowers and bring them inside to enjoy.

About zinnias

Erin says, “No cut flower garden is complete without these versatile, easy-to-grow blooms. Just be sure to look for cultivars that are made for cutting gardens (versus bedding plants) such as the appropriately named ‘Benary Giant’ series, the massive magenta ‘Uproar Rose’ and the ‘Persian Carpet’ mix.”

About dahlias

Erin is also a big fan of dahlias as am I.

We grow more dahlias than any other flower here at Floret.  Dahlias come in a rainbow of colors and are nearly unmatched in terms of flower production. I’ve been bitten by the dahlia bug and have so many favorites that it would be impossible to narrow it down to 20, much less three.”

Dahlia 'Golden Scepter' Floret Farm
Erin holds an armful of Dahlia ‘Golden Scepter.’

Erin also suggests that you let plants do double duty in your garden.

About foliage

“A lot of beginning gardeners focus on growing flowers with big, showy blooms and forget to plant enough foliage to round out your summer bouquets. If you already grow herbs and vegetables in your garden, many of your plants can serve double duty.  Here are a few favorites that can be used for food or foliage in a summer bouquet:

“Mint: I was advised to never plant this vigorous spreader but am so glad I ignored them. Mint is available early in the season, has a great vase life and adds a lovely fragrance to bouquets. My favorite varieties are Apple, Peppermint, Pineapple (white variegated) and Spearmint.

Basil, especially one with red or purple foliage is great in bouquets too. Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books.
Basil, especially one with red or purple foliage like ‘Aramato,’ is great in bouquets too. Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books.

“Basil:  Easy to grow, fragrant and abundant, basil is great for both cooking and floral design.  With deep purple flowers, glossy foliage and a fantastic scent, ‘Oriental Breeze’ has been a favorite of mine for years. Other great varieties to grow include ‘Cinnamon’, ‘Lemon’, ‘Cardinal’ and ‘Aramato’.

Dill makes an excellent filler in flower arrangements.
Dill makes an excellent filler in flower arrangements. Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books.

“Dill: With big yellow umbel shaped blooms, dill flowers add an airy textural element to any summer bouquet.

“Shiso ‘britton’ (Perilla frutescens): Common in Asian cooking, this plant also is popular among floral designers who love its contrasting colors.  The serrated, bi-colored leaves of this culinary herb are green on top and a pretty burgundy-purple underneath.

Book giveaway details:

We’re giving away a copy of Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest, and Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms along with a bunch of Floret goodies: a garden day planner, calendar, and seeds! For a chance to win, just leave a comment in the comment section below. The contest ends at Noon on March 20. I’ll pick a winner on March 24, 2017, with a random number generator. You have to leave your name and email address (unpublished) to enter. I can’t contact you if I can’t find you. Please note this giveaway is only open to continental U.S. residents.

Also, don’t forget my other garden tool giveaway is ongoing. Please feel free to enter it too. It’s an exciting spring!

If you follow along with the whole tour, you will have multiple chances to win!

Visit the other participating blogs below to learn more about the local flower movement and Floret Farms; plus, each blog post will offer a chance for you to win.

Participating blogs:

 

Buy the book here: www.floretflowers.com/book
Follow Floret:
Instagram
Pinterest
Facebook  

UPDATE: Denise Whitehead is our winner. I’ve contacted her so Floret can send her the goods. Thanks to everyone who played along.

 

Blooming plants beat the winter blues

Budding hyacinth on forcing vase.

I don’t know how you feel about winter, but if you’ve read RDR in the last eight years, you know it’s not my favorite season. That’s an understatement. Oklahoma skies are gray and bleak throughout January and February, which can give a red dirt girl the winter blues. I see more rain and snow forecast for today and tomorrow. Whoopee. I’m glad we’re getting rain, and I know the garden needs its rest, but those gray skies can sure bring me down.

Budding hyacinths and paperwhites grace one window.
Budding hyacinths and paperwhites grace one window.

Here’s the good news. We’re seventeen days past the winter solstice, so our days are already growing longer. The bad news? January and February in Oklahoma aren’t much fun, and we only have St. Valentine’s Day to distract us. I have some ideas to help gardeners get through the rest of winter.

A silver pot of lily of the valley.
A silver pot of lily of the valley.

Let’s take exquisite care of ourselves. Don’t forget to gently exercise. Use light therapy, like NatureBright’s SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp, if you need it.

Gardeners also need flowers, and blooming plants beat the winter blues. We don’t just quit loving our gardens in winter even though we realize everyone needs a rest. We need plants and their gentle rhythms in winter too. If you’re having a bad day, take a handful of potting soil and sniff it. It might help you find yourself again.

The sweet peas are growing nicely in the greenhouse.
The sweet peas and coleus are growing nicely in the greenhouse.

If you’re lucky, you have an entire greenhouse of green growing plants, but if not, you can still grow a lot indoors. I’m not terribly excited about the tropicals we see in every store this time of years unless they’re in terrariums, so I focus upon winter bloomers. From lily of the valley to hyacinths forced on hyacinth vases and in pots, my house is decorated everywhere with these early signs of spring.

Hyacinths on glass. It's the beginning of an indoor garden.
Hyacinths on glass. It’s the beginning of an indoor garden.

My living room, called a great room in log cabin lingo, is quite large, 18 x 36 feet. That’s why I can force so many hyacinths at once. I realize the scent gets to other people, but it isn’t very strong in here. I also keep the house quite cool so blooms will continue as long as possible.

Blooming plants beat the winter blues. Hippeastrum 'Red Pearl' amaryllis is the most scrumptious shade of red.
Hippeastrum ‘Red Pearl’ amaryllis is the most scrumptious shade of red.

I have one amaryllis that never broke dormancy. I’ve never had that happen, and I’m bit irritated by the recalcitrant bulb. I put it next to ‘Red Pearl.’ Maybe that will embarrass it into performing. Maybe not.

The closet is still full of hyacinth vases so I have a long way to go. I’ll also head out to the grocery store and see if I find any other plants blooming. Locally, Whole Foods has a lot to choose from. Buying a few orchids or other plants is a lot cheaper than therapy.

Bouquet of roses grown in California and sold at Whole Foods.
Bouquet of roses grown in California and sold at Whole Foods.

Don’t forget to buy yourself a bouquet of cut flowers too. If you can find some that are American Grown, so much the better. On these cloudy days, I find I need a bouquet now and again. These roses my daughter bought for my mother’s birthday dinner were so beautiful they took my breath away.

The Christmas lights have come and gone so it’s good to look at something beautiful. What are your strategies to beat the winter blues? Flowers are mine.