Fall is less than a month away and pumpkins and red leaves aren’t the only thing to look forward to. We’re talking about fall flowers, friends. That’s right- flowers aren’t just for spring in Western NY! We visited Jill Bower, owner of Erie Way Flowers in Holley, NY, to talk about the early fall flowers popping up in her local bouquets that you can find right here at Hart’s.
Dahlias will bloom in mid-to-late August, just before it’s officially fall. They’re a prized flower for flower farmers since they’re great for bouquets and come in lots of shapes (ball form or cactus form) and colors.
Grow it yourself: Interested in planting these at home to make your own fall bouquet next year? You’ll want to plant the tubers (similar to a bulb) in the late spring. If you want to continue to harvest Dahlia’s year after year just dig them up and store them in a crate in your basement a tarp over them. One plant will turn into several for the next season.
Tip: Dahlia’s don’t like to be wet so when you plant the tuber in the spring, don’t water it till you see green.
Sunflowers are so easy to grow! There are two kinds you might find – branching sunflowers (many flowers on one stem) or what Jill calls one-and-done sunflowers (because once you cut them, they’re done). At Erie Way Flowers, which Jill notes is typical on any flower farm, they plant successions of one-and-done sunflowers. That means that from after Memorial Day to mid-July they plant more sunflowers every ten days to really extend their season.
Grow it yourself: To grow sunflowers yourself, plant them by seed in late May – right around Memorial Day. While you can start them in trays, they grow so easy so Jill suggests just popping them in the ground.
Tip: Unlike tubers, in order to germinate seeds need to be kept moist. Water your sunflower seeds right after planting.
Zinnias are known for their vibrant colors throughout the harvest season. Erie Way Flowers planted three successions this year so they have an abundance of them!
Grow it yourself: Similar to Sunflowers, Zinnias are easy to grow from a seed. Put in in the ground, mix in some organic material, and let it grow!
Tip: Let’s talk soil and organic material, shall we?
Lisianthus are not your typical annual. They give you a second flush, which means when you cut them down once they’ll bloom again. Lisianthus will linger right into October which means there’s a good chance you’ll find them in a seasonal fall bouquet.
Tip: Cut, Lisianthus flowers can last about two weeks in a vase if cared for properly! Jill says that when putting your bouquet in water you should take off any leaves or greenery that would be submerged. That’s will help stop bacteria from growing.
Ornamental Kale comes in many varieties: some of them are ruffly, others are smooth, and they come in purples, whites, greens and more. They’re a great fall flower because they love the cool weather! In fact, you can have them right up through Thanksgiving (unless it snows).
Grow it yourself: If you plant Ornamental Kale by seed, start them at the end of June. Otherwise, this is very easy to get at your local garden center in pots.
Tip: Erie Way Flowers has Ornamental Kale growing inside their new tunnel, just installed this year. While a tarp may not be practical at a small home garden, they use one to help keep the weeds out. Weeds take moisture and nutrients from the plant by attaching to the root so it’s important to weed.
These little, colorful balls come in mid-August and will bloom right through fall. Due to their size they make a great filler for fall bouquets.
Grow it yourself: This is a great plant that you can start easily right from a seed, but be sure your soil is well-drained before planting.
Tip: Gomphrenna are a great drying flower! Hang your flowers upside down while they dry to make sure they dry straight. Looking for other great drying flowers? Look for Statice or Lavender!
Erie Way Flowers may have begun four years ago in Holley, NY, but gardening isn’t new to owner Jill Bower. A Master Gardener certified through Cornell Cooperative Extension, over the last 20 years Jill has spent time arranging flowers, landscaping, operating a Christmas tree farm with her husband, Mike, and soaking up all of the knowledge she can. Erie Way Flowers delivers fresh, local bouquets each week to Hart’s. Look for pumpkin arrangements and Christmas wreaths coming soon, too!