The Flowers & The Fury

It wasn’t even noon when the storm hit. We’d frantically netted the young snapdragons earlier that morning, but we didn’t have a chance to get the row cover over them before the hail came.

I was harvesting ranunculus under the high tunnel when the wind picked up, the aluminum supports waving and snaking under the gale force pressure. Thunder boomed and rain pelted the plastic, the sound a roar. I stood there in the middle of the fury, warm and dry. The tunnel filled with fog and the flowers stood perfectly still.

Tulips: After the Field

After we pull the tulips from the field, we haul them in crates to the workshop to be clipped, stripped, washed, and wrapped. Some go to storage, and the others we set out for bouquets.

Hallie sorting tulips

We lay the blooms out on the table by color, looking for any hidden dirt or torn leaves.

And then we combine them with ranunculus, anemones, poppies, and daffodils, hopefully to the delight of Clara’s customers.

Tulips in the Field

We planted all of the tulip bulbs in one go last fall. It’s hard work: First you dig a trench 6” deep the entire length of the bed. Then you squat inside the trench and lay the bulbs in a tight grid edge-to-edge. As the trench fills you have less and less room to navigate, boot toes bumping up against bulbs, hips and shoulders tired.

It’s satisfying work, too, the result a tidy ribbon of pale dots stretching across the field. After digging and planting, we shoveled the displaced dirt back on top. And then we waited all winter.

It’s amazing to me that although every bulb went underground on the same day (or near to it), they’re emerging and blooming in waves. It’s like each variety is on it’s own timetable, listening for it’s own cues. Some are tall with slender stems, others are short and stocky. And they come in every romantic shade: deep purples and blush pinks and creamy, pale yellows.

Clara, farm boss and friend

What makes a flower the way it is? Am I any different?

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