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Alpine Blooms

peonies wanaka

Spring 2022

It is currently absolutely blowing a gale outdoors and feels like everything is really struggling to stay upright! This is how we feel about this passed spring… Buckle up as we sum up these past 3 months of Central Otago madness!

September started with a hiss and a roar, we had orders pouring in and DIY weddings being organized and life was generally very exciting, even weather was looking very promising. We’ve dug things up and sowed seeds like crazy, with every sunny day garage seed raising area kept getting bigger and bigger and some poor wee seedlings even got transferred into the tunnel house as it looked like we are going to have a nice mild spring… September flew by and we hardly noticed it as we were busy waiting for a flood of tulips to arrive in October.

spring blooms

Tulips arrived slightly earlier and we had all hands-on deck in October, pulling, cleaning, storing and loving tulip season. By about mid-October it got very obvious that we are in for a crazy ride this coming wedding season. Orders were coming daily; DIY brides were contacting us weekly and demand has skyrocketed as soon as people saw flowers being available locally. Our little group of growers (Three Valleys Flower Farms) was working our butts off to try and keep up as well as predict what blooms will be available in the months to come. On top of the busy admin month we had a very strange weather pattern all through October. There were days when we reached 23C and then a day later there would be a -3C frost in the morning. I don’t think I have killed more plants in all 4 years of operating this wee farm then what I did this October. I kept planting hardy annuals out (snapdragons, corncokle, strawflowers and so on) and then they would just die with a harsh frost or heat or a random creature that has eaten all my sweet peas this year… To sum up October, it was frustrating but we hardly noticed it as tulip train was not stopping till the first week of November.

tulips wanaka

November came and we all took a deep breath of relief thinking that frosts and cold weather is behind us! And in one way it was true. We haven’t had frost in November but we sure did have some rain and then no rain at all and addition of strong winds that dry everything out and push everything to the ground. Poor florists have been working with wonky stems all November long as we try and keep things up right and growing. But it was fantastic to see perennials come into their own. Peonies of course dominated the scene! And they will keep us going till about mid-December. Delphinium is looking absolutely gorgeous and things like nigella, sweet William and carnations are popping open and giving us all the lovely colours. Roses are also started to bloom at the end of November but they were definitely slower to start this year and I’ve actually lost a few through winter unfortunately. Oh and who can forget about foxgloves! They are just stunning this year!

spring flowers

Overall spring 2022 can be summed up as challenging. Things that usually self seed and spread everywhere were impossible to grow (sweet peas and corncockle). I’ve sowed marigolds 3 times, we’ve tried staking things like delphinium and foxgloves just to keep them upright and our annuals that were blooming this time last year are still tiny, tiny seedlings in the ground. We are definitely having a slower, later season this year with probably a 2-3 week delay compared to last year, but it is absolutely amazing to see everyones support and the amount of orders flooding in!

We are very humbled and privileged to live in this paradise and to be able to grow beautiful things here. Making this my job was only a dream 2 years ago, now it is a reality and it’s still sinking in to be honest. So here is to a beautiful, warm, long summer 2022/2023! We look forward to many more orders and brides and vision boards! Thank you so much for supporting us.