JoLee Blooms Flower Share: Week 1

June 7 & 8, 2018

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Welcome to the 2018 JoLee Blooms Flower Share

As many of you know, JoLee Blooms & Design is a 1/4 acre sustianable farmette, an event design studio and wedding coaching and coordination business owned and operated by Jeremy and Daniele Strawn. 

This is is now our 6th season growing and designing flowers for weddings, special events and special occasions, and our 3rd season as JoLee Blooms & Design; offering all of the above and day-of coordination and event coaching. Between all three of these ventures, we have created a life full of adventures, hard work, and - most importantly - LOVE (for our plants and natural environment they thrive in, for the couples and clients we get to know so well throughout the event process, our community we serve as a whole, and, of course, each other).

One thing that has always been a conundrum since year 1 of growing and designing flowers, is how often we are swimming in more flowers than we know what to do with (not a bad conundrum or problem to have, we know)! In addition to growing flowers for our own floral designs, we also sell directly to a few florists and to the Sonoma Flower Mart. Even with those additional sales, we still have more flowers than we know what to do with. So, this winter, while the days were short, dark and cold, we snuggled up to the fire with blankets and our cat ("Ammi majus," named after the lace flower more commonly known as Queen Anne's Lace) and created our first ever vision board (see picture below) for 2018.

Out of the process, we realized that there was a real desire to create more room in the business for sharing our flowers with weekly or consistent clients. While we love working with our wedding couples, it is rare that we keep in steady longterm touch with those clients. Their lives go on in wedded bliss, and we go on meeting and serving other young couples ready to embark on the great next step of the journey. It is a truly wonderful experience! However, we realized that in addition to building those, more fleeting, relationships we are also excited to begin building more sustained relationships, with clients we hope to serve and work with for many years to come.

After testing out different concepts with our close friends and family, the Summer Flower Share concept was born and we are so thrilled you are embarking on this next adventure with us! From the bottom of hearts, thank you so much for becoming a part of our little farm this season and welcome to our Flower Share!

~ Daniele and Jeremy Strawn

 The 2018 vision board. Take note of the top left/middle, with the quote "give the gift of gardens, spread the joy." This is the small inspiration that got us conjuring up this flower share!

The 2018 vision board. Take note of the top left/middle, with the quote "give the gift of gardens, spread the joy." This is the small inspiration that got us conjuring up this flower share!

Getting started!

To help kick of the 2018 Flower Share season, we wanted to share a few reminders and provide you with a heads up about the process:

  1. We harvest and design a weekly hand-tied bouquet or vase arrangement for you each week. 
  2. Pick up is once a week, from your host site indicated in a private email sent to you with the link to this blog post. Each pickup site has hours they will be open for you to pick up from on the designated day of the week (i.e. Petaluma pickup is scheduled for Thursdays, Bloomfield pickup is scheduled for Fridays).
  3. If you are unable to come during the pickup hours, on the designated pickup day, your flowers may be made available by the site host by placing them in a well protected outdoor location. PLEASE NOTE: Once the flowers are placed outside, they are no longer the responsibility of JoLee Blooms or the site host and in order to insure you get your flowers each week, please arrange your schedule to pickup during the designated times we have specified. Thank you!
  4. If your your share is a weekly vase arrangement, please note that you are responsible for returning your vase the following week. We have a variety of vases we will be cycling through this summer, and hope that you will help reduce and reuse our starting inventory, which helps keep your share at the affordable price point we have set. Thank you!
  5. This is a brand new concept for our small business. Please do not hesitate to be in touch with ideas about how we can improve and make the overall experience better for you! 
  6. For a full list of details, terms and conditions, visit the Flower Share sign up page: http://www.joleeblooms.com/shop/2018flowershare 

Why Local?

By choosing to buy your flowers from a local flower farmette, you will have the opportunity to learn more about what is happening on the farm and what is coming out of the field through our weekly updates. I encourage you to take note of how what we're planting, prepping and harvesting throughout the season changes, learning what flowers are seasonally available here in Sonoma County. You will find that often times the flowers we see all year round (for example; sunflowers, carnations, red roses, in January) are often grown in hot houses, with excessive harsh chemicals and likely come from South America. Needless to say, those flowers are best to avoid for a number of environmental and social reasons that I hope to explore a bit more in later blog posts, but in case you are ready to dive into those topics now, check out these resources with some of the hard cold facts about our global vs. local flower economies:

From Slow Flowershttps://www.flickr.com/photos/shedstyle/sets/72157647649565076/

From author Amy Stewart: Flower Confidential and fact sheet:  https://www.amystewart.com/docs/FlowerConfidentialFactSheetpb.pdf

From the Field

All of the flowers you will enjoy each week are grown here in Sonoma County and will be freshly harvested within a day or two of your pickup. The vast majority come from our farmette and, in the case where we have a slower flower production week, we will supplement flowers and foliage with those grown at our neighboring flower farms here in the county - farms we trust who use similar practices to our own.

This week's harvest includes (some of these flowers will be included in your share):

  • Garden Roses
  • Sweet Peas
  • Foxglove
  • Nicotiana
  • Nigella
  • Alstromeria
  • Yarrow
  • Statice
  • Dusty Miller
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Mint
  • Scented Geranium
 Our melt-your-heart garden roses <3

Our melt-your-heart garden roses <3

This week in the field, we have already planted and are tending to many different flower babies, including:

  • more Foxglove (one of my all time favorites!)
  • Snapdragons
  • Asters
  • Lisianthus
  • Scoop scbiosa
  • Rudbekia
  • Zinnias
  • Dahlias
  • Reseda Alba
  • Feverfew
  • more Dusty Miller (a staple in many of our bouquets)
 Jeremy peaking through a bundle of last seasons snapdragons - can't for these beauties to bloom!

Jeremy peaking through a bundle of last seasons snapdragons - can't for these beauties to bloom!

Getting started from seed this week:

  • Sunflowers
  • Lace flowers (like Ammi, Daucus, Dill and Fennel)

Getting planted this week:

  • more Snapdragons
  • more Lisianthus
  • Geum
  • Hibiscus
  • more Dahlias

Preserving your blooms

Because our flowers are coming straight from our field, and the fields of our nearby farming neighbors, your blooms are just about as fresh as they can be! That is a great start to a floral arrangement that will hold up well, or (as we say in the bizz) "has a long vase life."

In addition to a fresh start, you will want to follow these few steps/best practices to ensure your flowers hold up for as long as possible:

  1. Refresh the water regularly (daily or every other day): an easy way to refresh the water in your vase is to tilt it while holding the flowers in place and letting all of the old water drain out. Then pour fresh water into the vase, again while holding the stems in place.
  2. Refresh your flowers with flower food. When we design your bouquets, the stems are always cut fresh and placed in a vessel with a splash of liquid floral food. If you would like to buy some packets from me, let me know and I will be sure to supply you with some! Or perhaps you already have some of your own from the craft supply store. If you don't have any, but you want to make sure you flowers last as long as possible, you can make your own floral food substitute with a tiny drop of bleach and pinch of sugar. I recommend using a small glass to mix the ingredients in, with a little bit of tap water, and then add to the vase when filling with fresh water.
  3. Trim the stems (every other day): using sharp scissors or flower snips, take the flowers out of their vase when refreshing the water. Under a gentle stream of water from your kitchen sink, trim about a 1/4 inch of our stems and replace in the vase with fresh water. NOTE: if you have a weekly hand tied bouquet, this should be no problem. If you have a weekly vase arrangement, this could be much trickier as we will often tape our vases to create structure for the stems to stay where we want them to stay. If you see tape around the rim of your vase, it is best to just refresh the water vs trying to pull out and cut the stems.
  4. Remove flowers that are beginning to fade or wilt. By taking out the stems that have past their prime, you will be freeing up those that are still in good condition to thrive with less chance of mold, decay, or the off-gassing of ethylene which will speed up the decay of the fresher flowers.
  5. Place your flowers in a cooler focal spot that is out of direct sunlight. The two things that progress a flower's life from bud to seed the quickest are direct sun and heat, so best to avoid either of these factors whenever possible.

Don't have time time or the interest to do this much leg work - not a problem! Our flowers typically hold up well for several days, if not more than a week. We will do our best to give you the longer lasting varieties, that require less care and consideration. Occasionally we will put in some blooms that fade faster, with the hope that you will enjoy their fragrance for the few days they are in their prime and then remove them from the bouquet, while still enjoying the other longer lasting flowers throughout the rest of the week.

 Life inside our little greenhouse!

Life inside our little greenhouse!

Most importantly, we hope you love your flowers! Let us know what we, your farmer florists, can do to make this flower share the best it can be for you!!