About ten years ago you could find me lining up at Findlay Market every Saturday for Blue Oven bread and fresh cuts from Mockingbird Hill Flower Farm. At the time Tammy grew a beautiful variety of field flowers that she would arrange into wild bunches and that I was intent on having on steady rotation in my home. Long story short, I moved overseas and when I came back my beloved flowers were no longer being sold at the market. It took a few years for me to learn that it was because Tammy was busy growing the most beautiful dahlias I have ever seen.
Patricia at Una Floral and I were brainstorming ways to make our next floral arranging class a bit different and she suggested that since it's the season we could design the class with a focus on dahlias, specifically Mockingbird Hill's dahlias. So we took a trip out to Williamsburg to tour the farm and chat with Tammy about her new labour of love.
When we pulled up Tammy was coming in on her tractor from picking with a trailer full of gorgeous cafe au lait's. It was 90 degrees and she had been out for hours already. I was there for 10 minutes and needed a gallon of water to drink and a pool to jump into. Even so, Tammy was kind enough to give me a tour of the farm and to share a bit about her process. In our region we enjoy dahlias from around August through October during which, Mockingbird Hill harvests several hundred per week, but these beauties are a year round affair. Somewhere before frost all the plants get labeled and then a week after a hard frost everything is cut down to a 6" stem. Tammy then goes through and digs everything by hand with either a pitchfork or broadfork and stores them in crates in the basement until January - March when the tubes are divided before going back in the ground in late May. Phew! I'm worn out just thinking about it and there go all my fantasies about having a plot of flowers in my yard.
On Saturday, September 23rd Patricia will be bringing loads of Mockingbird Hill's dahlias for us to play with and to inspire our own floral arrangements in a low, lush, and loose style. Check the event page for details and mark your calendars for registration opening on Tuesday, September 5th at 10am EST.