Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dad's Daffodils

I am up in the San Juan Islands for my first annual Marigold and Mint corporate retreat. Number in attendance: 1. Seriously, I feel enormously lucky to have a few days to step back from the farm and shop and think about the big picture of the business. I also came to check on the daffodils my Dad planted from my surplus in the fall. Turns out he had some work planned for me, too: before I left Seattle he loaded down my car with native perennials. Now that the wind has stopped howling I will plant them today in his fenced garden-in-the-woods.

Between all the serious corporate business I am hard at work tackling (in the form of: thinking, staring at the ocean, thinking, having a cup of coffee, taking some notes, staring at the ocean again), I am taking breaks to collect moss and nettles for the shop, as well as the odd bits of animal bones scattered in the woods. They must be good for something.

When I told Sarah, my farmer friend who helped me start my fields four years ago, that I was up here, she said: "Best of Luck, you are the CEO and migrant labor force all rolled into one! Makes it tough, but easy, at the same time." Not to discount the help I do have at the farm when I bring a few part-time people on in the summer, but she has hit on some of the best and worst parts of the job I've created for myself. To save money I do much of the farming myself (and because I want to be in the fields), but then I end up being stretched pretty thin: not enough time at the shop, not enough at the farm, working weekends when I'd rather be with my family. All things to sort out up here.

Speaking of work, I was at the farm on Sunday, taking care of the anemones:

Monitoring the progress of the tulips:

And weeding some of my herbs. I harvested the first flush of spring sorrel (behind the chives). It wasn't enough to bring into the shop, so I made some mint and sorrel salad instead!

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 8

Stealing a dry day between weeks of rain, I snuck in time to clean up my bed of cardoons. This is the first year I've had so many overwinter, so I am crossing my fingers to hope to haves buckets of spiny blooms to bring into the shop this summer. The first time I saw them for sale was at a flower shop in Lucca, Italy, about 5 years ago, where the florist took time to talk with me about them, and the generations of florists in his family.

I also got blood meal down on the bulbs, and alfalfa on my roses. My roses look HORRIBLE. I need to give them a lot more attention this year, and/or move them to drier ground. I recently ordered another 75 bushes so I've got to get my arms around taking care of these. For starters, I know they need more consistent water in the summer and more than the neglect-breeds-strength approach that works surprisingly well with a lot of my flowers.

Last of all I repaired some drip tape, pruned some herbs and perennials, and got compost tea down on my anemones and ranunculus. And here's the first harvest of a bunch on anemones. I am so happy to see their pretty faces!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gray on Gray

Just had to share this beautiful piece we made for an architect's birthday party!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February 6, 2012

No matter how hard I try, I can't get the dirt completely out of my fingernails. Well, I can with a stiff nailbrush, but when I wash my hands at the farm to break for lunch, there always seems to be this residue.

The sun has been shining for days in Seattle, a real treat, and a signal that it's time for me to start working regularly at the farm again, getting ready for spring. I'm going to try and get back in the habit of using this space to track what is happening on the farm, with the occasional break for photos of work coming out of the shop.

In that vein:

Today I replaced segments of drip tape that were leaking too much in the anemones. The anemones and ranunculus in the hoophouse are maybe 4 - 6" high right now, a bit behind last year, but coming along. I then found some real satisfaction cleaning up the herb beds. I used my favorite tool, the hula hoe, to do a light weed and loosen the soil, and then cut back the cardoons so that only the center leaves remain. I'm thinking of ditching the lovage and marjoram beds -- nobody buys them -- and adding two more beds of alpine strawberries.

That's a start for now.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Join Us Halloween Weekend.....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sweet Peas and Peonies

Peonies first, then sweet peas.

These are what stand out in summer on the farm from June to July.
Read our columns on each in Garden Design. Peonies. Sweet Peas.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Morning in the living room

I love these poppies from my friend Erin's farm. I've got to grow them next year!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Paris Flowers

I just back from Paris (and Morocco) hunting for inspiration for the shop. There was a lot more than I can fit in one post, but here's a first pass, in my latest blog for Garden Design. Take a look:

Paris Fleurs

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mother's Day

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Seattle Magazine article

This is a lovely article in Seattle Magazine about the foraging we do in the woods.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Easter Charm

I love everything about Easter: the lamb, the girls in pretty dresses, the golden eggs.
If you do too, stop in at the shop which is full of goodies from the farm (daffodils, a few early herbs, the prettiest tulips) as well as Maison Bouche Easter chocolate and Kata Golda's adorable bunny puppets, eggs, and little cups. Or call the shop at 206-682-3111 to order Easter arrangements.

Oh, and I've got two more Garden Design posts up:

One on yellow arrangements and another on designing with succulents. These are so much fun to write and photograph.

Finally there's a great story in the May issue of Food and Wine magazine about the Melrose Market. Definitely worth a read if you are interested in the market.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Passion for Purple Flowers

Take a look at our
latest blog for Garden Design. Love those purple blooms!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Felt and Flower Classes

We are thrilled to announce that local artist Kata Golda is coming to Marigold and Mint to teach a felt class on Wednesday, March 16th. The class will be making stuffed bunnies; materials and tools are included, no experience is necessary, and of course you get to take your Easter bunny home. From 6 - 9:30pm in the shop; limit 6 students. A week later, on Wednesday, March 23rd, we will be teaching a spring flower arranging class. Also in the evening. Limit 8.

To save your spot call the shop (206-682-3111) or email us (info@marigoldandmint.com). Each class costs $100.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Anemones in the Hoophouse

This is my first season growing anemones, and my first season using a hoophouse. I am in love with their ethereal beauty!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine Posies

Just a quick note to say that I have started a regular online column for Garden Design magazine.

Here's the first blog post. Do-it-yourself valentines!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Valentine Flowers

Time to place your orders for Valentine's Day! Arrangements for delivery start at $50.
Consider including some Maison Bouche or Cocoa chocolates too. We can be reached at the shop (206-682-3111) during the day between 10 and 7 or email us (info@marigoldandmint.com) anytime.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Mid-January has brought the flood. My stellar farm employee Shondell tried to get out to the farm on Monday to check on things, but said she couldn't get there, having forgotten her arc. What you are seeing in the above photo is the view from the high road, looking down onto the submerged farm road and the edge of the flower field.

My daughter and I ventured out today, two days later, to see how or if things had settled. The bridge we normally take over the river and across the valley was still underwater so we forged on, driving north and across the valley at a higher road, and then back down through Duvall to get to the farm.

Like Shondell, we still couldn't drive into the farm, the first section of the entry road being rutted and torn apart by the water. Luckily there were 6 guys working on fixing that. Slipping on our boots (which would prove to fail at least one of us), Vivian and I walked the fields. The beds were scoured, with silt and gravel washed through them. The good news is that the vast number of our bulbs didn't seem to have moved significantly. The bad news is that the top layer of soil was washed away on these beds and so Shondell and I will need to move in and start covering things back up and pressing them down in. We lost a few precious peonies, and maybe three dozen new perennials. But it could have been a lot worse.

As long as we get the bulbs and perennials settled, what I am most worried about are some roses standing in water.

As for our walk through the fields? It ended with our boots stuck in the mud, Vivian pulling her feet out and stepping silver sparkling stockinged feet into the earth, falling forward, falling backward, and getting mud on her nose. And then she had to head to singing club!

Before leaving we checked on the hoophouse and discovered that January has brought something lovely, too: our first anemone blooms.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Snow for Thanksgiving

The wind is rattling the windows at my house. It's dark and snowy in Seattle and I am sitting here thinking about the fields. The wind must be whipping though the frosty grasses. The dirt must be frozen clods. How is that young cover crop surviving? I am so glad that Shondell and I finished planting all 8,800 bulbs earlier this month. This time last year, we hadn't even started digging the trenches (we were really behind). We still need to mulch the peonies and roses, but for now the snow can keep weeds at bay. And the cold keeps the flood risk down -- for now. I hope the ranunculus and anemones in the hoop house are ok. This is my first year planting them and I'm not sure if I am supposed to be running out there in freezing weather to coddle them. They looked beautiful last week:

With all this weather, I am especially grateful that Adam and Megan at Oxbow got ahead of things and got produce out of the fields and to the shop today. We will have carrots, parsnips, potatoes, cabbage, parsley and shallots, among other Thanksgiving vegetables for Tuesday and Wednesday before the holiday. Whew.

On Saturday Josh and the kids and I visited another kind of garden, the Conservatory in Volunteer Park. The chrysanthemums on display will forever change your mind about the flower. And they even had a few cut ones for sale, which I had to buy because it was my birthday and I knew no one would buy a flower farmer flowers.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Poem for a Melancholy Day


All at once he is no longer
young with his handful of flowers
in the bright morning of their fragrance
rising from them as though they were
still on the stalk where they opened
only this morning to the light
in which somewhere unseen the thrush
goes on singing in perfect song
into the day of the flowers
and while he stands there holding them
the cool dew runs from them onto
his hand at this hour of their lives
it it the hand of the young man
who found them only this morning

-- W.S. Merwin

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In a Halloween State of Mind

On Sunday I took a trip to the Skagit Valley with my daughter and aunt and we piled the trunk as full as we could with heirloom pumpkins and squash: blue hubbard, cinderella, New Zealand blue, Queensland blue, Australian butter, jarrahdale, acorn..... We have ones for both eating and decorating. I am in love with the ghostly gray greens.

We've also recently received our first shipment from Rifle Paper Co. and the cards are perfect. Check out the Halloween ones we have in stock:

Happy Halloween!