Off on a wild bouquet ride!

Cheerful Nature Bouquets debuted at the Sjogren/Gofton grad parties on June 8 and 9. Mom turned 84 on June 8, so a special weekend all around! Bouquets centered the white-clothed tables surrounded by photographs of the graduates. The parties were held at the Chelsea Depot, a perfect launch pad for my bouquets! Since then, deliveries have been made to friends and a second grad party. Another grad party this week wraps up a fun first round of bouquet harvesting and creating.

This week, Cheerful Nature Bouquets also debuts at Agricole Farm Stop, a new grocery store venture in downtown Chelsea. Agricole will be the source for locally grown food, flowers and other artisan products with 75 percent of sales going back to the producers. Amazing! Agricole models itself after longtime Ann Arbor favorite, Argus Farm Stop.

Agricole — right on Main Street in a renovated historic livery — is hosting an Open House on June 20 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. during Chelsea’s Sounds & Sights on Thursday nights. My bouquets will make their debut during the Open House. I’m in good company with other artisan flower growers who will be selling market bouquets at Agricole as well. Join us for noshing and celebrating!

When Agricole officially opens this month, Cheerful Nature Bouquets will be delivered fresh on Tuesdays in recycled jars, ideal for spreading weekly cheer to friends, teachers, bosses, coworkers, parents and more.

Wild bouquet beauties ready to launch!

Let it glow!

This is an exciting weekend! Cheerful Nature Bouquets is making its debut at a grad party at the Chelsea Depot on Saturday. Bouquets of garden beauties with meadow accents will grace the tables and provide a pretty backdrop to a fun gathering for Sophie, followed by a second grad party on Sunday for Natalie. I’m so delighted to help set the scene at their celebratory events. Photos to follow!

Garden bouquets for sale

Busy, busy! Springtime is filled with labor-intensive days prepping garden beds for annuals, new perennials and veggies — and launching my new seasonal flower bouquet business, Cheerful Nature Bouquets.

I am thrilled with the prospect of a flourishing late summer-fall garden of zinnias, cosmos, calendulas, amaranth, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, basil and carrots. Meanwhile, the early risers of chamomile, alliums, peonies, salvia, poppies, irises, lily of the valley and more brighten up the vibrant greenscape. (Thank you, rain!) Garlic, thyme, chives, sage and lavender are also thriving this May.

I have dreamt of a flower stand for a long time while growing flowers for more than 15 years on my little piece of land in Chelsea, Michigan. With very little traffic on my road, this vision has evolved into Cheerful Nature Bouquets. I am offering in-season bouquets of garden flowers and meadow flora in recycled jars. My 4.75 acres are lush with interesting native plants and trees with branches and berries to supplement my garden-grown flowers. In a snap shot, Cheerful Nature Bouquets offers:

  • Ready-to-go bouquets in recycled jars for sale for birthdays, to cheer up a friend, for grad parties, baby showers and other small-scale special events
  • Free bouquets for any Chelsea School District student to cheer up a friend, late May through October
  • Order a bouquet today at (734) 546-2588.

May flowers & a wild turkey

Oh, May, we’re so ready for your warm sunshine. More rain today? Feel free to bypass us. April was overly generous this year with rainfall. The grass is verdant, mid-spring flowers are emerging and the birds are in abundance — Robins nesting, Goldfinch, Baltimore Oriole, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak and a solo wild turkey. (Where’s your flock, Patricia*?) I’m quite ready for some warmer days to work the soil and soak up Vitamin D, au naturel.

Speaking of soil, I’m excited to hear back from MSU Extension on their recommendations for enhancing my hillside soil. The new cutting flower beds will be dug this mom’s day — my favorite thing to do on my day. More beds mean more flowers! I’m excited to experiment with annuals and plant a few anchor perennials to set off the new beds. (*So named by my teen.)

Growing a cutting garden

Flowers bloom from late April through mid-October at my house on about an 1/8th of a collective area. This sounds teeny, yet, it’s a fun smattering of color in various gardens on my 4.75 acres. The first to flower are the Grape Hyacinths and soon to follow are the Alliums, Bleeding Hearts and Irises – rich, burgundy flowering transplants from my mom. The tulips sometimes make it. The bunnies with the edible win again this spring.

My homegrown flowers make me happy — in the garden, at home in eclectic vases and in recycled jars for friends and family. This joy inspired me to launch Cheerful Nature Bouquets — officially today! — and a new hillside cutting garden is underway.

A soil test has been ordered. A Sunday afternoon trek to a favorite grower, Hilltop Greenhouse and Farms, resulted in a carload of perennials and annuals. Another favorite, Salvia, was picked up and more Starlight Coreopsis and a fun new-to-me flower set has been ordered online. Planning is underway with the aid of a borrowed book from my lovely neighbor, Michele: Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden. (After much note taking, I had to order the book for my own library.)

Cheerful Nature Bouquets is launched!

Layers keep this girl trekking in a cold spring

Just two weekends ago, I was in a blizzard and ice storm, driving south from Charlevoix to Chelsea. While visiting mom, I trekked through lakeshore snow and admired the snow boulders in Lake Michigan. In the North Point Nature Preserve, I mushed through slush and mud and jumped over puddles. Today will reach a high of 70 — whoo-hoo!

When winter lingers, it can be tough to get outdoors. Putting on the layers. Again. And again. And again. I truly believe, though, that if you have the right layers, you can enjoy nature in any weather.

A few key all-season wearables:

  • A light-weight Merino wool buff. This keeps my neck warm in the winter and protects it from pests in the summer. I also use it for an ear warmer sometimes.
  • A wick-away first layer. In the chilliest days of winter, I wear my Merino 250 wool, a mid-weight Smartwool long-sleeve next to my skin. Other times, I’ll wear it as my second layer over another wick-away shirt, which I can remove if I get too warm. Honestly, this is me to a T. I wear these shirts year-round. I also like the light 150 layer, though my favorite is the 250 weight.
  • Wool socks. Keep your feet dry through the seasons. Wet feet and sweaty feet can make for a miserable hike.
  • Waterproof hiking shoes. You never know when you’re going to run into muck in the woods or at parks. My favorites are Oboz and Merrill. Hubby loves his Keens. REI is my resource for boots and socks.
  • Sunglasses. Protect your eyes! Even the haze can affect your eyesight. I now have bigger frames since my eyes are more sensitive. Plus, they really help keep the bugs away as I trek on warmer days. I prefer Smith brand, though I currently have Malibu Jims. Costly, but I need the heavy duty eyewear and protection.

I’ll keep adding to my list of suggested wearables. My goal is to keep my blog posts somewhat brief. 🙂 A comfy body makes for a happy adventurer.

Spring gardening

March 23: first day of garden clean-up (dug up clumps of weeds), followed by garden planning by the warm fire glow. Definitely need more flowers and favorite edibles, and time to repaint the garden fencing. March 24: sown kale, leafy greens (frost tolerant), spinach and sugar snap peas. April 5: spotted garlic peeking that I planted in the fall, as well as early spring risers (irises, tulips, alliums, hyacinths). Started indoor garden with a lot of hope: San Marzano and Chadwick Cherry tomatoes, zucchini, English cucumber, pickling cucumber, rosemary, morning glory, zinnias, cosmos and foxgloves. April 7: sweet pea plantings in 10 spots in my front and back gardens. April 10: researched deer and wind resistant perennials for my new “Lavender Hill.” (Just two lavenders on my hill thus far.) Created a list of flowers to look for at one of my favorite flower hoop houses: Hilltop Greenhouse & Farms of west-side Ann Arbor.