Interview: Gabriella of la Musa de las Flores

In this episode of the Team Flower Podcast Gabriella shares her floral design process and her gardening philosophy. You'll learn about her favorite flowers, including dahlias, phlox and petunias. Learn how she protects her flowers from heavy Mexico rains and thrives in her event work in an unpredictable market.

Video: Centerpiece design quick tips

Join Kelly as she goes through a free 4-part quick tip video series on designing a centerpiece. She discusses designing for a table, using the lines principle of design, and shows the ingredient use and purpose. Watch these completely free video lessons.

 

------------------------

Video transcripts

Hi, I'm Kelly Perry with Team Flower, and I'm here to show you a few quick tips for designing on a narrow rectangular table. If you have a client that wants a long, full, lush, centerpiece, or you're doing a styled shoot and they want something larger, it can be a little bit tricky to fit all of the things on your table that you need to, cups, glasses, flatware, plates, and you, of course, want it to be beautiful, but you also want it to be practical for your guests. I think that's really, really important. 

So, I have just a few tips for you if you're wanting to go in this long and lush direction. The first one is to use a centerpiece container that has a little bit of height to it. So, maybe you're doing a bowl, but it has a little pedestal and then the bowl is on top. What you're looking at right now is pretty low. There's no pedestal on this bowl. It's just a bowl with a small little lip at the bottom. And what we're running into problem wise with this, is that the flowers are kind of just invading this space. There's not enough distance between the plates and the flowers. 

So, we want to create a little bit more space. And I'll show you the difference that it makes just to add a little lift underneath your arrangement. So, now you can see there's a considerably larger amount of room between the plate and the flowers, and so the guests can easily access their dinner, and cups and things like that fit in a little bit better. The next tip that I have for you, is to do a little mock setup before your event and before you start designing. So, if this is for a wedding, just set up a table similar. If you're working with an event planner, or cater, or whatever, just ask the dimensions of the plates that will be used. 

You want to be mindful of chargers. Sometimes, you know, you'll get there and oops, surprise! There's chargers, and on a narrow 30-inch table, you cannot fit chargers end to end, and then also, you know, really large centerpiece. So, that's something to consider during the design process when you're working with your client. If they mention charger, you have to kind of ding, ding, ding, remember. It's going to be difficult to fit all that on the table. So, you can set up in your studio, just a quick little-- maybe with a little pop-up eight foot or six foot table, whatever they're using, or round six foot table, just to get an idea of what you're looking at. 

If you don't have those tables, you could do a little visit to the venue if that's practical for you, and you could kind of chart out and set it up, and see what dimensions your flower arrangement should be. So, that way you know if you control your greenery out a little bit more, if you need to tuck it in more. But the most important part with these narrow, long tables, is this section right here. You want this to be pretty narrow. So, tip one, you know, popping it up a little bit higher, tip two, having a little mock setup table. Now, what's great about this, is you're making your first arrangement, you can sort of, examine how the cup-- the cups are kind of the thing that, a lot of times, will get in your way. 

So, if you have the height and width of the cups and you can set that up, you can sort of trim out of your arrangement, little pieces that are interfering with the guest access to those elements of the table. So, this particular pokeweed berry is touching the glass, and I just want to get that out of there, so that it's comfortable for my guests. So, just a small adjustment-- maybe we get rid of this leaf as well-- it makes a big difference, and that'll save you a little bit of time whenever you go to set everything up. It helps the event planner or the caterer be able to access those things easily. 

You don't want to be the florist that always has flowers in the way of other people's jobs, and just practicality is important. So, those are my two quick tips for you. Get the level up, and then set up your little mock table, and that'll help you get an idea of the general size that you need to go for. And then you can also clip things out before your arrangements head out the door, just a little bit of quality control to help you make things a little faster on event set up day. I hope you enjoyed this little video, and if you'd like to see more, you can visit teamflower.org/free. I'm Kelly Perry, thanks for watching. 

------------------------

Hi, I'm Kelly Perry with Team Flower. And I am back with a little flower recipe for you. This might be a great option for a bride who would like something that has just a little hint of fall in the air but is still nice and summery. 

It's late August here in the mountains. And I think that these colors are really just telling of the season and the time of year that it is. We have some of these pinks, and we've paired them with some-- just a real rich orange that just has that little bit of a knod to fall, which is fun. 

So the leaves have started changing colors. And this color palette just reminds us where we are in the season. So I just wanted to go through and tell you a little bit about each of these ingredients. You might find a way to work them into your garden, or into an arrangement that you have coming up soon. 

So the first arrangement that we're going to start out with is pokeweed. It's this right here. And it has little pink and green berries. 

Later in the year, they turn into a very dark purple. Once they hit that stage, I don't use them in arrangements anymore because they stain pretty bad. So I just like to avoid that liability. 

But whenever they're at this stage, they're really, really great to use. This is something that just grows wild. And it's weedy here in Boone, so it's easy to come across and a great way to fill an arrangement. And next, we have some snapdragons here-- these little pink guys. And I love how they pull the color out wide into the arrangement. 

These little orange guys here called gomphrena. And they come in a carmine pink and white lavender. So there's a lot of fun color options with these. They have just really nice texture and just that little knod that you can use as a finishing piece. 

I'm quite a bit of lisianthus in this arrangement. This variety has a nice dark burgundy center, which I love how it just captures what's going on with these queen redline zinnias-- one of my favorite zinnias. and then I have the burnt orange dahlias deep in the arrangement here. 

And if we flip over, I just have one other variety of dahlias that we pulled from Darlanna Besecker's farm, Hope Valley Gardens. So here is another variety, that dahlia. And then I missed our little base in here. 

If you look in real deep, there's some limelight hydrangea and then, also, some sedum. So that is my little quick flower recipe for you. Hope you enjoyed it. And if you'd like to see more videos like this, you can visit teamflower.org/free. See you soon. 

------------------------

Hi, I'm Kelly Perry. And I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about one of my favorite design principles, and it is, lines. It's never fun to stand in lines and wait. But it is so fun to see lines in your arrangements. 

There's two different kinds of lines we're going to talk about today. One is actual and one is implied. As you can imagine from the definition, an actual line is what the stem creates. It is a line that you follow with your eyes. So you can see it right here in this little piece of gomphrena. 

Implied lines are like connect the dots lines. Maybe if you think about a starry night, all the different constellations and how we use those stars to connect the dots and to create a picture in our mind, that is what an implied line would be like. So I just wanted to show you how I used flowers in this arrangement to create some lines. 

So of course, we just talked about the gomphrena and how we have this little bit of line here. I love to use maybe ranunculus, or things that have a little bit of a curvy stem or some interesting stems that can add some interest to the arrangement. This one's pretty straightforward. But we have some nice curve lines going on with the implied line. 

So let's talk about the first one that's probably most obvious in this arrangement, and it is the zinnias. These are queen red limes. We start our line right down in here. And you can see they're at different levels and the direction that their faces are pointing are a little bit different to add some interest. 

So we have one here, here, here, here, and here. So this is one of our implied lines. Now, the next one we're going to talk about is the line that is formed with these burnt orange dahlias. So it starts down in here, and it pops its way up. 

So here is another implied line. Another one would be here with this lisianthus. We're going this way. 

And this one's more horizontal as opposed to curved like these ones were. And I'll flip the arrangement around. You can use different flowers to create the lines on different sides of your arrangements if you want to add some interest and variety in the flowers to your arrangements. 

So in this one we have dahlia's going in a little line like this. And then, lisianthus, again, we're using to go here. And then over here. 

The great thing about lines is they guide your eye through the arrangement, and they invite you to keep looking deeper. So that is what I'd encourage you to do today. Consider how to add some lines to your arrangement, and always be thinking about how you can think deeper. 

Hope you enjoyed this lesson. If you'd like to see more, you can visit teamflower.org/free. Thanks for watching. 

------------------------

Hi, I'm Kelly Perry with Team Flower. And I wanted to do a little bit of a different take on a tutorial. A lot of times, we see the arrangements come together step by step, but when we actually look at them in real life, in a photo, they're already completed. And it's like, wow. How did they get there? 

So I wanted to have a completed arrangement for you today. And I would like to pull it apart piece by piece. I'm going to go backwards, I'm going to show you the last thing that I put in. We're going to just slowly work our way out until all we have remaining is our container. So this will be a really fun one. I hope you enjoy it. 

The ingredient that we're going to start with is this gomphrina, up here. So, I'm just going to start pulling it out in the order that I put it in. I like to use this as the final little bit of movement in the arrangement. So, you can take a little snapshot in your mind and see how removing this ingredient changes it. You could still do something like this if you had a bride who wanted something maybe just a little bit more tailored, less sculptural. Just deleting this one ingredient gives you a more tailored look. 

Next, I'm going to pull out some of the focal flowers that I was working with. And, back here, they were the dahlias So the dahlias are going to come out and I'll show you what it looks like without those dahlias in there. And then on the other side of the arrangement, we were working with zinnias as the focal. And you can see them right here. So I'm just going to tug those out. And then I'm going to go in and pull out the lisianthus So you can take just a quick little peek of what that looks like without those dahlias and without the zinnias. And I'll start pulling out the lisianthus Everything comes together one step at a time, no matter what it is. Flowers, cakes, books-- just a series of steps. Homes. All of those things. 

So, it might seem like a daunting task at first, but as you just start deconstructing it and thinking about it a little bit differently, it becomes, in a way, a little bit more attainable. Which is fun. So if I get overwhelmed, I kind of like to step back and think about all the steps it took to get there. 

OK. Next, I'm going to pull out the burnt orange dahlias, here. And now I'm really getting down to the base material of the arrangement. These ones that I've been pulling out-- the dahlias and the lisianthus-- I would consider the accent flower. So, those are gone. Next I'm going to pull out the snapdragons. These were used to carry color to the sides of the arrangements. Missed a zinnia. 

And now, we're left with the pokeweed, which creates the shape. And, then, the hydrangea and the sedum, which creates the grid that we can layer all the other flowers into. If you find that flowers move around on you a lot, especially with bouquets, this might be the ingredient that you're missing. Something like this, the flowers can really latch into. Because just the overlapping stems, I think, isn't quite enough sometimes. So I think it's helpful to have a flower, a structural flower, in there, as well. 

So out comes the hydrangea. Now you're starting to be able to see the flower foam that it was arranged in. And, of course, with these, the purpose is to cover up that base or that structure, whatever you're using. Whether it's a frog or chicken wire or the foam. Each of those things has pros and cons to them. And you can learn more about those on the free page at Team Flower, where we go through the three different ways that you can set up an arrangement. So if you're curious about the different kinds, and pros and cons, and when to use what, you might consider watching that and chiming in with a few comments. 

So, out comes the serum. And, then, all we have remaining is the pokeweed, which is what created our shape and our general-- how big we were going to get and how wide and deep. So I'll pull that out, too. And a lot of times, with this-- I'll leave this one in here, I guess-- some of these shorter pieces go in second. And I will use the longer pieces too. Those ones will go in first, to get the general shape established. And, then, these act both as a shape and then also as cover. And one little piece of spirea that I put in here. 

So, there you have it. The deconstructed table arrangement. This isn't a very pretty way to end a tutorial, but it was pretty when started. So, anyway, I hope you enjoyed that. And hope that that helps you and inspires you to take the next step with your business. If you'd like to see more free videos like this, you can hop on TeamFlower.org/free. And hop on our mailing list, you'll be notified as soon as new videos are released. Thanks for watching. Have a great day. 

Golden rule for every inquiry

Let's talk about how we treat people behind all our inquiries. Not just our ideal clients — we lavishly love and adore those folks! But what about the less than ideal clients? The ones that never even become clients. How do we honor and show grace to them?

How to make a skirt with real flowers

Recently while working in the garden, I found myself mesmerized by the beauty of the Annabelle Hydrangea, and imagined myself sprouting out of the ground, surrounded by the beautiful flower. The idea for a floral dress took hold, and I decided just to do it. Let’s see what it looks like to walk around in a flower!

Video: Amending soil and growing snapdragons

Lee of Goldenrod Gardens has been working with me for several years, providing amazing plants for my wedding work. In this video she shares in-depth about amending soil, nutrients and how she plants snapdragons!

-------------------

Transcription:

We're back and we're talking about what this field used to be and the goal for soil amendments and texture of the soil that we're working with and all those kinds of things. So tell us a little bit about your field. 

We're south facing here, which is an important thing, if you're growing at a high altitude. 

OK. Now, why is that? 

Season extension. 

OK. 

You need to be where the sun is going to hit you and it's going to be consistently warm temperature. And if it's frigid-- for example, we're going to try and overwinter these snapdragons. 

OK. 

You want to be south facing, because that's where the light is. Throughout the winter it drops. And this whole area, this whole field was-- they were Christmas trees. So they were Fraser firs. They were farmed here and they have a short crop season, fir tree. So I would say maybe max for this area was 10 years. 

The soil's wonderful. It is a loamy, sandy mix. It's very well-drained in most part. 

Yeah, there's no-- like, it's not that tight compact clay that you can get sometimes. 

And low on the rocks too, which is a dream up here. A lot of times you're in rocks, which I use to my advantage. I say they're good for drainage and they have a lot of minerals in them. You just have to release them. 

Yeah. 

But this area has also not been overfarmed. So it doesn't have a lot of weeds, see. The weeds that are here-- 

So overfarm, that term means there's just been-- every year, there's been a lot of different-- 

Crop after crop. 

OK. 

And in some places people do a crop after crop. And they'll start and then they'll let it go to seed. And so the soil ends up being, sometimes-- 

Full of all of these other seeds. 

Weed seeds, yes. And it's also been leached of its nutrients. You know, if you're gardening in a certain area or if you're farm in a new field that's never been farmed, you will have the most amazing stuff the first year. 

Yeah. 

But after that year, that's when you really have to deal with what's going on in the soil. So what's going on here is we're on the bottom slope of my field. There is a natural-- and I think I've noticed this with a lot of areas, when you get to a lower area, is acidity. 

OK. 

Acidity is pretty much how the whole like eastern coast is, acidic soil. 

OK. 

You know, if there's been a woodland or a swamp, there's acidity. It is what happens when plants break down and decompose. So that's, you know, peat, peat bogs. And they are what they are, because they're so acidic. 

OK. 

There is a little bit of an issue here of acidity in this low area. And it's like it seeps down. And you can amend that with lime. And that's what's already been doing to this soil. 

OK. 

Before we add the good stuff, the other extras, I've already limed this area, because I noticed the acidity. 

Yeah. And you didn't really need to do any amendments to the texture of the soil, because it was that nice kind of ideal condition. 

Well-drained. 

Perfect. So we dealt with texture. And then, we know that we're a little bit acid. So we're dealing with the pH. And now, we're going to look at the actual nutrients that are in the soil. 

Yes, which you have N, P, and K, are our main nutrients. Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. When you're growing flowers you need them all. But you don't need as much nitrogen as you would need as if you're growing a bunch of lettuce. 

OK. 

You absolutely need a good bit of phosphorus. 

OK. So how does the nitrogen hinder the flower production and how does the phosphorus aid? 

Nitrogen causes leafy growth. 

OK, but no blooms. 

No blooms. 

OK. 

They all work together. You need the nitrogen, but if you have an overabundance of nitrogen, you're going to have leggy, weaker stems. 

Well, that's what's happening with my cosmos right now. Like, I have lots of leaf, leaf, leaf, but I'm not having the growth. 

Buds. 

Yeah, buds. Yeah. 

And it happens. 

Yeah. 

You overfeed them with that. 

Yes. 

This area is known for being low in phosphorus. 

OK. 

And so I'd like to touch on that. It can be noticeable, to the point where there is a purple tinge on leaves if they are deficient of it. They're not only like stunted and not as flowery, but their leaves are purple. It's not supposed to be that way. Another tricky thing about phosphorus is it is immobile in the soil. 

OK. 

So you can't just sprinkle it around and think that you're going to correct it. 

You really have to like work it in. 

And bring it in. Even my professor at school said, just, you got to dig a hole and stick it in. 

Yeah. Yeah. 

That's an important thing to remember. 

To remember. 

Calcium, magnesium, and potassium. They're all very important roles, but phosphorous seems to be one of the things that's a little bit harder. 

Sure. 

Another one I'll touch on while we're here and there's sunflowers, I can grow sunflowers here right now this season, but next year, if I grow sunflowers here, I'll have to boron. 

OK. 

Sunflowers don't form if there is a boron-- 

Deficiency. 

--deficiency. 

And they kind of like eat it all. Like this crop will eat it all up. And so will the kale, collards, all of that. And if you're in the desert, you're good on boron. It happens where you are getting a lot of water. It just runs through. And even if you over boron, it'll work itself out very quickly, with even a hose. 

It's kind of like vitamin B in your body. You get rid of what you don't need. 

It goes away. 

OK, perfect. 

So we're going to add the basics today. 

Great. 

We're going to start with pal-- and this is all organic. 

OK. 

So it makes it a little bit more difficult, but it makes it a lot easier to work with maybe a little bit stinky sometimes. 

Yeah. 

We're going to do pelletized chicken manure. 

OK. 

Which is a good balance N, P, K and calcium. 

OK. 

They don't list their micronutrients on there, except for the calcium. But I consider calcium very important. And I buy it in a pellet. 

OK. 

It's a lot easier to do than nonpelletized chicken manure 

Ugh. 

I've done both. I recommend this. And what we're going to do-- you're going to help me in your white shirt-- is one of these buckets-- this bucket full this will fill and amend a good 50-foot row. 

Oh, wow. OK. 50 feet by how deep? Four? 

Two. 

Two? 

Yep. It depends. You don't want to over beef, but since this, for me-- this did have Christmas trees in it, I do want to kind of enrich it, because there will always be flowers and vegetables here. And I think if you start-- this is the first year on this field for me. And you want the sweetest soil you can have. And this is a good way to start it. 

OK. 

So voila. We have our pelletized chicken manure. And then, we have our ever expensive, and I must tell you, bone meal. 

OK. 

This is the organic source, one of them, the main one, for phosphorous. 

OK. 

It's slow release, but it is organic. This little baby costs, you know, $16 to $20. 

Yeah. 

Whereas two and a half buckets of these, like, maybe total $11. 

Yeah. 

But it's worth it. You have to have it for flowers. 

Yeah. But the ratio of what you really need of bone meal to chicken manure, is the same? Different? 

I burn through this. 

You burn through it? 

Yeah. 

Yeah. 

If it's deficient, you kind of have to really add to it. 

Yeah. 

But it's not mobile, like boron, so it's not going to wash out. Once you get it in there, it's going to stabilize it. And there are actually cover crops that will help fix it. 

OK. 

Buckwheat fixes phosphorous. 

OK, so the bone mean functions as-- you said it stabilizes-- 

Well, it stabilizes in the soil, but what it does is it creates strong stems. 

OK. 

Strong stems, big flowers, and just a healthier plant. It also affects the root growth. 

OK. 

And I can get into potassium, but these are the picky ones for flower growing. If you have a burn pile and this is potash is what it's called, that's where you grow the best stuff. Grow it in the burn pile, because it's phosphorous, calcium, everything. 

Everything. 

Favorite other little amendments. And one Epsoma. It's a company called Epsoma. 

I think I just bought something from them. 

They grow the tones. So you get flower-tone, bold-tone, holly-tone, citrus-tone. 

Yeah. 

You can get phosphorous. But this is flower-tone. 

OK. 

It has the major nutrients in it. It's not just N, P, K. It's the list of all the elements. 

Little ones, uh huh. 

It also has beneficial mycorrhizae geared towards what you're growing which is the fungus that is good in the soil for flowers or citrus. 

So it's like probiotics for plants. 

Yes, exactly. 

OK. 

So I have flower-tone. And then, I have-- well, we're going to call this azomite. It's a rare earth mineral. 

OK. 

It is like the periodic table of elements, but just in just tiny, tiny doses. And so it's just a full amendment for the whole of the soil. 

OK. They've decided that there are certain things that the plants have to have to live. Doesn't mean that they're not going to benefit from other things in the periodic table. 

Sure. 

And this is one of the things that includes everything. 

Yeah. 

There's even gold in it. 

Yeah. She's a big fan of this, the azomite. 

And I've actually done tests, like just field test of like kale side by side, poblano peppers side by side, zinnias side by side, and it is so amazing. Oh, and dahlias. They're so much stronger and so much happier of they have a good dose of the azomite in them. 

OK. 

I recommend it. 

OK. Great. 

It's soil building. You donate a lot. 

Perfect. 

So that's what we're going to do. We're going to add stuff. 

Perfect. 

It's likes baking a cake. 

So if we're trying to figure out, like maybe I have a space that's not as big as this space, like maybe I can write it down, but like the ratios of like how many scoops of this we need per square foot and those kinds of things, what you would recommend? 

I would say, if you had a nice plot, a four by four plot, I would add-- if you really want to make it really happy, I would add about maybe five pounds of the chicken manure. 

OK. So you're like top dressing. And then, you're going to like and bake the cake. 

Till it in. Turn it in. So you'll do, if it's new soil and you have just a little test plot, I would do five pounds of the chicken manure, a good cup of the bone meal, a half a cup of azomite. And with the flower-tone, you can do, maybe a cup dressing, two cups dressing. It depends on your soil, if it needs more building. Or you can just put a little sprinkle in each hole and mix it as you plant. 

Sure. 

And that's where I like it too, is when I'm planting like plants that are a little bit bigger and I'm having to dig a bigger hole and not just like a finger. I can kind of throw a little handful in there too, mix it around, and then get my plant in there. You just don't want it to-- if you're using something like that, you just don't want to nuke it on top. You need to mix it in. 

Yeah. Yeah. 

Otherwise it could burn. It could get really happy and suck it all up at once and just go-- 

Yeah. That happened to me this year, whenever I transplanted everything. All my stuff, I think I just like overfed it and burned. 

Yeah. You have to be careful. 

Yeah. 

And temperature has definitely. But mixing it in. I know it's easy to kind of get over eager. I would go with like the amounts that they recommend first. 

Yeah. 

And then, if you need to add a little side dressing, you can go back later. 

Sure. Now, are there any of these things that if you overdid it, it would be like, bad news? 

Well, I think I killed a hydrangea this spring, because of the chicken manure. 

OK. 

It was thirsty and I gave it lime and it said. Yay, I needed lime. 

I really needed that and then it was like I'll take way too many things. 

And then, I put some chicken manure around it and it said uh. And it was one out of six. So maybe it just was on its way out. But nitrogen will burn faster than anything, because if it's a good source of nitrogen, or even a mediocre source, it will suck it up so quickly it will cook it. I think that nitrogen is probably going to be your biggest killer. 

Yeah and nitrogen plus lime, because lime helps you absorb all of your nutrients, little deadly combo. 

So you got to be careful. 

OK. Perfect. Let's do it. Yeah. 

Very good. 

Very good. OK. 

It's a good even coating. That's like my magic booster. It's like baking soda. 

Oh, yeah. It is. I could see that. 

Whereas this is like the eggs, because it's the chicken. 

We're going to go all in on the baking analogy. 

So this was the flower-tone. We just did one little cup of this. 

Light. 

Little light dusting about every, what, like eight feet per cup? 

Little zigzag. 

Is what we're doing. 

Yeah. And this is one of those things that you can always go back midseason, and a little bit more. 

And top dress. It's great for that. 

Because it'll rain and go down in. So top dressing works for this. 

And heavy feeders, I would say, like sunflowers, well, if they're fast sunflowers you don't need it. You just have to feed the stew out of them to begin with, because you're not going to have time. But dahlias, any type of perennial, and I would say zinnias as well. It's a good thing to go ahead and add some midseason, just to give it a little extra boost to get you through the first frost or until you're tired of cutting them. 

Yeah. 

Which who knows which comes first? 

Whichever comes first. 

And this is bone meal. And I'm going to go ahead and say that, just observing like this winter, this lower part of the field was-- I saw purple, weeds. So we don't have a ton of bone meal right now, but I'm going to focus my dosage down here, because this is where I think it needs it more. 

The part where we're going to plant. 

However, you know, the chicken manure did have phosphorus in it. But this is a good strong extra source. 

Energy boost. 

And it's really dusty so keep it close, close to the soil, so you don't lose any, because it's expensive too. 

Yeah. That's what I didn't do right with the plant-tone at first. I was holding it too high. 

Which just, I don't know which one of those nutrients tends to go through the air fastest, but it's probably the one that I really need. 

Yeah, right. 

If you're not having to certify organically, you can use triple phosphate. 

OK. 

But it is strong. And so you have to do it in really low doses. But if you're in a situation-- 

Instead of bone meal? 

Instead of bone meal. 

Because it's cheaper? 

It is cheaper. 

Or what are the pros? 

It is a lot cheaper and it happens a lot faster. 

OK. 

It's strong. Another organic source though is greensand. 

Oh, OK. 

It would take pallets of greensand for me to do what I needed to do here, because of the way our phosphorus is. All regions are different. 

OK. What is greensand? 

Greensand is a mined sand. It's a mined earth. 

As opposed to playbox sand. 

Yes. 

OK. Got it. 

It's literally has a green tinge. And like this comes from, basically, the same place that the chicken manure comes from. And it comes from processing. 

OK. 

They're bones. It's bone meal. They're ground down. Greensand is a mined element. And it just depends on where you are and what you have access too. If you need greensand and you're in the southeast, you're going to pay five times-- 

A lot of money, because it's tons-- 

--on the shipping. 

Heavy. 

So you have to think about your local sources of what you can do to amend your soil too. And I think that's an important thing to consider. 

Would the extension office, like the local extension office be a good resource for connecting you with those different places and sources to get them? 

Absolutely. Yes. And like our local extension agency has a alternative farming adviser. And he helps with people that are certifying organically, or like to use organic, even if they're not interested in certifying. 

Sure. 

And then, there's the regular office. They're both wonderful, ours are. But they both have wonderful resources and classes to help you learn about your region. And even they-- 

Yeah, I think they're such a great resource. 

And they usually know the people in your area who supply the things that you need. 

Sure. 

So go to them. 

Yeah. 

They even do the garden masters. 

Yeah. Master Gardeners. 

Master Gardeners, that's your local-- 

Great resource as well. Definitely. OK. We got it all? 

Yeah. Well, we're going to add a little azomite, just add it. And then, David's going to come through and till it. And we're going to-- 

What do we do if we don't have a David? 

You get a little tiller, or-- I did not bring my-- you do it by hand. 

By hand. I have one of those little like, it looks like a lawnmower-- well, I have the little Mantis. And then, I also have this little thing that looks like one of those push lawnmowers. There's just like all the little like tines, which works for my little boxes that I have. 

I'd recommend the Mantis. 

I probably would break my boxes with the Mantis. 

No. 

No? 

No. I use it in my little boxes. 

OK 

But the Mantis is awesome. 

Yeah, very, versatile. And they're not too hard to, like, manage. Once you get like the real big ones, like I can't manage those. But I can manage a Mantis. 

Yes. And it does a lot of work. I mean, I could go back and forth with my Mantis. It is, I think, more efficient than a rear tine tiller sometimes. The rear tine tillers somewhat leave gaps. They're slow. With the Mantis, I can actually like hoe with it-- 

Really get it in there. 

--and pull the bed together, I can do all work with it. It's a little thing. And it's easy. But then, there's a tiller on a tractor. 

This is a simple quick system to set your lines, if you are planting or laying horizontal netting. We're using hoops that have been-- they're conduit. They've been bent with a hoop bender. 

This is rebar. 

These, do you buy these bent? 

No. 

You have to buy this at Lowe's straight and then you bend it on a hoop bender. 

Which you can purchase through Johnny's Seeds. 

OK. 

They actually have several sizes. 

OK. 

You can do a smaller one, which will bend up to, I think, an inch thick. But they also have some that will bend conduit for caterpillar tunnels. 

Oh, wow. 

These are made for low tunnels, or bent for low tunnels. Caterpillar tunnels are for the kind that you can walk through. 

Sure. 

And I just don't do that type of large scale. If I were to set up a cover over this area, I like low profile, because there are winter winds. I think the caterpillars are great for, possibly, that if you have a good anchor. But I'm going for hard core winter protection. 

Sure. 

But what we're doing today with the snapdragon planting is using this as multifunction, adjustable, holding for our horizontal netting for our snapdragons. Because our snapdragons, if they fall over, they don't fall back up. 

No. 

And if they fall over, they do this. And you just get no fun. 

Yeah. I didn't stake mine. That's what happened, to all of them. So I just pulled them all out yesterday. 

But they went a long time. 

They did. Yeah, they did. 

And those were like the rejects that you got too, which is awesome. 

Yeah, they went. 

I had four cuttings, four major cuttings out of the crop I put in. 

Yeah. 

So with Chantilly snaps, it's my first time to have the patience to go through that. 

Yeah. Little seeds. 

I was excited. 

Yeah. OK. So we bent our rebar with our-- 

No. 

No, no, no. Our conduit. 

This is conduit. 

Right. 

It's roughly four feet wide now. This-- 

From Johnny's Seeds. 

Johnny's Seeds. This is rebar. This kind of stake with the arrow in it is generally used for electric fencing, like, just pop-up quick electric fencing. But I use this in the field. Lowe's, yes. You get these at Lowe's. We've already preset 18-inch shorter pieces of rebar that were going to slide the conduit onto. 

As your anchor. 

These longer pieces of rebar in this string, I've used in this field repetitively since April. This is how I mark my lines and keep my bed widths-- 

Consistent and neat and tidy. 

Consistent and straight. 

Which is great, because whenever you're organized and everything's straight going in, like you can really pack the plants and make the most of the ground that you do have to work with. 

Exactly. 

OK. So we're laying this on. We're going to make it tight. You're going to hook-- just lay your ends on the corners of the rebar. And David's going to help you and make them tight. Can you get that corner? Of course, it's the broken one. The tighter the better with this stuff I've learned. It's plastic. So if it's not tight, it tends to get a little squirrely very quickly. 

Nice and tight. 

All right. 

And what'd you tell me this was? This is the-- 

This is horizontal netting. 

Horizontal netting, as opposed to the-- or no. Is this vertical? 

This has been amended. This was vertical netting. It was 10 feet high and I cut it and I cut it. 

Yeah. 

I think with the horizontal netting that you can purchase from Johnny's, it's more of a square grid. But I had, a good 100 feet of this. So I cut it. 

Using what we have. 

And we're going to just lower-- it's good and tight. Yay. We're going to use this as our planting grid. 

OK. 

So this kind of does double duty. We're going to take our snapdragons-- 

So we just want to put it right down on the ground. 

On the ground. We're going to put our snaps in. And then, once our snaps are in, we're going to put our hoops on, and then raise this netting up. And as they grow, we can raise them up a little bit more to hold their height. 

OK. Perfect. So you just raise it as the plants are growing? 

With the hoops too, I use the hoops. I've noticed-- this is the first time I've really put this out. If you have a big wind in the spring, if you had just this, it would be goodbye netting. Now this, actually, it kind of like moved. 

OK. 

But it didn't fly away. What I did later in the season is I took the hoops out, just so I could get in and out. And I had this up. And for security, I zip tied to make sure it was tight and didn't get knocked out of place. And that helped it stay. But I hit a point with the hoops being here-- 

We're going to overwinter these snapdragons. So this not only provides horizontal support, it's also going to provide a cage for either greenhouse plastic or [INAUDIBLE] or growing fabric, which just gives it frost protection. So that's what we do. And then, that's when you use all your extra rocks to weigh down the edges. Save the big ones for the end. 

Random bricks left over from something. Yeah, OK. Perfect. We're going to put these in there, tuck them in? 

Tuck the little plants in. 

OK. 

Specialty Cut Flowers book is a heavy handed book for me. And I highly recommend it for anybody that's seriously trying to grow-- 

And he wrote that book? Is that what you're saying? 

Yes. He and another lady, and I can't remember her name right now, and she's wonderful to, but his books are-- I can't do without them. 

Yeah. 

His perennial book and his professional cut flower, specialty professional cut flower. 

Yeah. 

But the recommended spacing-- and it's a group effort, by the way. They used input from flower growers across the country and their experiences and they have them in notes. And they definitely rely on having it as a group-- 

Group effort. Great. 

Because we can't all-- I mean, you can't-- 

Can't all know everything. That is for sure. 

You can't test certain things in Athens, Georgia and expect them to grow in Spokane, Washington. 

So I do plant in rainbows. It helps me organize mentally and it also helps me when I'm cutting large groups of things. So we're starting with purple then go in to velvet and then red and bronze, salmon, et cetera. 

These are going to be roughly eight inches apart. And we're just going to use the grids. So we're going to do this y'all. And they're kind of eight inches apart, but kind of not. There might be some losses, but we're going to lay them out that way. I kind of do this a little ahead of time. And then, you can kind of throw your little babies in there. I try to get all of one color done first. And these look terrible right now. But oh my gosh, I can't wait til we come back in a week or two. 

Yeah. They'll take off. 

And so we're just going to lay them down. 

Oh, I meant to ask you, like temperature and weather. Like when is the ideal time? Like if we had to cancel earlier because it was too wet to do this, like what would be the best way so that the plans aren't shocked? Like if you're looking at your calendar for the week and you're trying to pick the best case scenario, what's ideal? 

So with this field, since we don't have the direct, like, water hose water source, it all has to be brought up from the spring down below, you plant it right before a few days of rain. 

Got it. 

And it's going to be naturally-- 

Taken care of. 

Yes. That's important, getting things watered in. 

So would you say like the first week is like really, really crucial for like the water? 

Yes. 

For them being set in? 

Yes, I would say the first week, even if it's really dry-- I can't speak for a desert region. But if you're an area like this where we've had very dry periods, but when we do get rain we'll get a good inch or too, you have to give it a week, 10 days. And those are the times if I don't have access with a hose-- 

I'm just going to keep making circles. 

If I can't do a hose, I fill up my backpack sprayer with water. And I go along and I just take off the spray nozzle. And if I can give it just a localized squirt of water-- 

That helps a lot? 

Every other day, if I can get it through that first 10 days, it's usually golden. 

Yeah. 

After that, I'm just about trying to compete with the weeds, because the weeds don't seem to mind the fact that there's no rain. 

I know. That's always funny how that happens, isn't it? 

But if you're really doing a lot of planting and don't have that kind of access to water and you don't have the time to go in and do the hand watering, time it before a big rain. And they'll get watered in and your likelihood of survival is going to be good. 

Much better. 

Yeah. 

I was going to say, is there like a survival rate that you typically see whenever you're planting? Like out of everything that we do today, like will you lose a few of these little babies along the way? 

Yes. 

What's normal to lose? 

I have one of those, in my head, from landscaping for many years, which I usually beat it on landscaping. My percentage is really low on landscaping. But I think an average that you should consider is 15%. 

OK. 

Yeah. I think he should go for 85% survival rate. That's a good number. You know, if you're doing sunflowers, these pro cuts, they're geared towards stick it in the ground, they'll be done in less than two months. That should be like a 95% survival rate. But I think with smaller, less vigorous plants, 85 is good, because sometimes, as we talked about with like the marigolds being bad seeds, sometimes you'll just get little genetic glitches. 

Yeah. 

And you want to pull them out and you don't want to keep them around. And so I would say that factors into that percentage as well. 

British Flowers Week - Green and Gorgeous Flowers

I was delighted to see Rachel was hosting a course about growing sweet peas so I signed up and away we went.  We learned about timing, planting and variety choice.  We clipped and "tied in" the winter and spring sunshine varieties, which I learned were developed in California for cultivation under cover. 

It's British Flowers Week - PYRUS

Local growers have the power to quickly shift production based on these regional needs and provide colors and varieties that are not readily available to their clients.  This ability to shift direction and pivot will only become more and more important as technology advances.  A few photos posted of a gorgeous flower by an influential designer shared by a few more — BOOM demand.  It can take years for the big market to shift course, but you can do it in a season.

Fast Flower Video: Bouquet of my wedding flowers

Seven years ago this week Jesse and I were getting ready for our wedding! I thought it would be fun to celebrate by recreating the bouquet my sisters-in-law made for me. It has eucalyptus, spray roses, sweet peas, lisianthus, garden roses, anemones and lamb's ear. Watch this fast bouquet time-lapse come together!

Should you use seeds or plugs?

Flowers have to come from somewhere! It can be difficult to decide which plants to start from seed and which plants to buy as plugs. A plug is a young plant grown in large quantities that’s started either from seed or a cutting. In this article, we highlight pros and cons for both.

How to stay healthy during wedding season

Can I start this blog post with a confession? I let myself go during wedding season. I manage work/life balance very poorly, and one of the first things to go is caring well for my body. If you can relate, I hope you find some hope that you are not alone and that healthy habits are possible!

Interview: Natalya & Fiona of PYRUS

Attaching giant arrangements of flowers to buildings — today’s guests, Natalya and Fiona of PYRUS have done just that.  Their work for the Inspiring Impressionism exhibit will leave you breathless and with questions about how it came together, but the good news is, they’ll answer those questions.

Interview: Sarah from Poppy in Singapore

We are delighted to share Sarah's story with you via the Team Flower Podcast. Sarah has a bustling flower shop and flower school called Poppy in Singapore. Poppy offers unique experiences including a Flower Bar and Market Day which we will tell you more about on the podcast.

Video: How To Divide Dahlias

In this video we share how to divide dahlia tubers. Susan has been doing it for over 20 years, has tried all kinds of methods and is sharing her favorites. Jump in to learn about tubers, eyes, and dividing dahlias!

-------------

Transcription:

Hi. My name's Kelly. And I'm here with my friend Susan from Shady Grove Gardens. Susan and her husband Brent grow wonderful dahlias up at their mountain farm. And so I asked Susan to come over today and tell us a little bit how to divide dahlias. And I also wanted to tell you a little bit about the dahlia workshop that she has coming up this July. Tell us a little bit about it. 

It's July 31st. And we're going to have one day of very intensive everything you need to know about dahlias. So it'll be planting, staking, dividing, design. We're going to spend a little bit of time with little tricks and tips on how to design. How to cut them, how to do disease control. 

They also get a lot of insects, so we're going to go over insect control, and the hard parts, planting and harvesting and digging them up in the fall, and then how do you store them. And today, we're going to do the division. But we're going to cover everything else at the workshop. 

Perfect. That sounds super fun. I bet you'll have like all the different varieties and kinds that you would recommend. So you're thinking you might want to start growing dahlias, there are all kinds of varieties out there. But Susan's been doing this for a long time and she knows the ones that really work well for her. So she'll be sharing all of that at the workshop, which is really exciting. 

So tell us what we're looking for and how we need to do this. These are Cafe au Laits from my little backyard garden. And I've never divided them before. I know that there's eyes and that that's important. 

Well, there are several different ways to do it. And I'm actually very conservative, because they're mine and I'm not shipping them off usually and I'm not trying to make hundreds out of it. So I might leave something like this for myself. But I start by clipping off all the little, what lot of people call as hairy bits. 

Get rid of all those hairy bits. 

And that makes it just a little bit easier to see. Now, you can divide the dahlias, either in the fall, right after you dig them up, which makes it a little easier to see the eye. 

Show us what the eye looks like over here. 

So the eye is these little tiny bumps here. 

Right around the kind of top. So this kind of looks like a little magnolia pod, doesn't it? And then, it's tiny. And then, you get this little bit of a bump right there. 

And it's always attached to the stem. So when you divide them, you always want a little bit of the stem to remain. So on this particular one, if you think there's two or three eyes in there, and you can also see, possibly, two or three eyes back here. So what you want to do is leave some piece of the stem, because that's where you think the eyes are going to be. 

So here, I'm cutting up through the middle of the stem. And this part isn't necessary. 

Goodbye stem piece. 

So then, if you really wanted to make three out of this, you could cut it again. But if you want to be conservative, you just cut it like so. So this has sort of this little neck here. And that's where I would expect the buds to come out. 

So the buds, or the new growth, is actually going to be coming out of that eye. 

All the growth will come out of there. And of course, it will form roots. 

So if we cut the eye off, then we just cut off anything that would be viable. 

Right. You can, if you have these here that are-- see how this is broken, what I would call broken, the neck's broken. 

Cracked. 

So these, most likely, will not do anything. So often, we will clip those off. But we'll keep this and that should come out. Now, this one's a little on the shriveled side, but it should be OK, if it doesn't continue to shrivel. We store ours-- we've gone through a lot of different trial and error, sometimes they'll rot, sometimes they don't. But this year we've decided that pine bark or the bedding that you use for pets-- 

Like hamsters? 

Like hamsters, like those little chips you buy at the store, those big bags, that seems to be our best bet for storing. So it doesn't keep them wet, it doesn't keep them any drier. We do have the whole bins all the sets of bins with the chips shavings in there, are all also surrounded with plastic so they don't lose-- you also want to store them about 40 degrees. Now, our garage is not 40 degrees. 

Yeah. This isn't either. 

So we try. 

Do they need a cold period? Or it's more or less for preserving them? 

Yeah. They're from the Andes. But they do not need a cold period. So think of them like a tomato. It's a tropical plant. It just needs a little rest, because in North America, it's too cold for them. 

That's interesting that it was a tropical plant. 

Yeah. So whenever people say like that it's too hot or that it needs that-- I guess, and you know this, because you're a Costa Rica girl-- the swing of the temperatures, like day to night, but people in Florida it just doesn't get cold enough for them, or if they're like they're on the coast. 

They're from the Andes. 

Educate me. 

The mountains, the cool summer nights, cool days, that's where they're the happiest. That's their origin. 

When you said tropics I immediately thought I'm going to the Bahamas now and I was like, wait a second. 

But that's where the wild ones are. So they probably originated somewhere near where potatoes originated and they act a lot like potatoes. 

Interesting. So this one here, would you say, if you do you have that broken neck, would you just leave it on and plant it? It's not going to do any harm, but-- 

Yeah. I probably would, just hoping that it might be OK. , Now, one that's really badly damaged, like this one, I'd probably clip it off. And I didn't used to do that. But just for storage space. And then, you don't want the rot. If it rots, you don't want it to spread to the rest of the plant. So ideally, you don't want them to shrivel quite that much. 

Show the bad example. 

But this will still have a good potential to sprout. I don't think I would divide it more, although some people might. You can clip the stem off, just don't clip down too far, because every once in a while, the buds will come out right here. 

Now, this one is more challenging. So you would need, probably, a sturdier knife and really cut into that. You could use clippers or even loppers. 

Yeah. This is hard. 

So that's another reason to maybe do them in the fall, when they're a little softer. 

Right. So basically, I dug these. I left them in soil and I kept them in a pot in a cool room of the house. 

Cool's good. Cool's good. And then, you want fairly high humidity so they don't dry out. And like I said, 40 degrees, 60 degrees. We start opening our garage windows if it gets above that and hope for the best in this warm weather. 

So recap. We're getting rid of the hairy bits. Step one. Step two-- 

Makes it a little easier to see what's going on. 

Yeah, it's easier to see what's happening. 

And you knock off the dirt. In my case, I'm knocking off rocks, because we have lots of rocks. And we're trying to get those out between the tubers. But the next step is what most people are afraid to do, is to really just go right on in there. And you are going to lose-- 

Look at this one. What's happening here? 

That is probably the mother. Actually this one's the mother. So that's the one you had last year. 

Oh, OK. 

So it's usually a little rougher, it could even be hollow. 

Will it produce again? 

No. So you could remove that and not miss it. 

Let's get a close up of what the mother looks like. 

So this one is the mother. So that's last year's tuber. And then, all of these formed over the summer last year. 

So then, usually, I'll go in with something like clippers and cut into the stem. But these won't do that. So we're just going to show you. 

Is there something else I can give you? 

Nah. I think maybe I could just switch to another. 

Yeah. We'll just switch to another one. And there's all kinds of different tools that you can use to get these going, even the little-- I'm not sure what it's called. 

It's like a Dremel tool. 

It's like a Dremel tool. 

Or those tiny Sawzall. And you can get small and large blades. We use a little narrow one, about the width of my finger. And it's heavy and it's not cheap, if you have a lot of dahlias, you're going to want to do it. So then, we go in and it just goes-- 

[BUZZING] 

--and it just cuts, like that. And then, it's a little easier. 

So here's one of your eyes. 

And you can see, it looks like it's like sprouting now, this little bit of green. 

Yes. It's starting to sprout, because we've had a little bit of a warm spell. So if you wanted to get them started early, you could put it in a pot. 

Put it in a pot and starting babying it a little bit. 

Yeah, but then you have to care for it everyday. 

Do you get an earlier bloom, or what's the benefit of-- 

Yeah. You get an earlier bloom. And then, those people that really want more dahlias can do cuttings. But that's a whole other project. 

So on this one, it's a little easier to see where you might cut it. And so you just cut in there. And you still have multiple buds. And on this one, hopefully, we still have multiple buds there. 

Yeah. Can you see this? You can see, up around this eye, how there's already even these little buds that are starting to pop out. So cool. So there's a plant. And here's one. And here's one. And here's one, maybe two? 

Yeah. Maybe two, if you're feeling brave. 

I don't have enough room, so I won't feel brave. I'll just-- 

Since these are Kelly's, I'm not going to cut it up more. 

And since I don't have a lot of room, I don't need-- look at all these. It's amazing how, this was three plants. So here and now we already have three more plants coming up this year. 

Especially if you're doing this in the fall, you want to let this sort of seal over before you were to put it in some-- 

To store it. 

Don't do what I did. Don't put them in Ziploc bags and store them. You will kill them. All mine rotted one year when I did that. So you do want to use some sort of loose bedding, newspapers, shavings, or something like that. But you also, just give it a day or two, like a potato that you've cut up and let it seal over and you should be good to go there. 

Well, Susan, thank you so much for coming to tell us and share what you know about the dahlias and dividing them. This has been really helpful. And now, all my dahlias are ready to get potted up and I guess to get an early bloom, get started out there. 

So thanks so much for coming. We look forward to seeing you. And for those of you who come to Susan's workshop, we can't wait to see you soon.