Now is the best time to take notes

As I was walking out to check on the flowers today, I came across a photo in my phone of our flowers in May.

I distinctly remembered just how much I was chomping at the bit - waiting for things to finally start flowering, to get to our first harvest of flowers. And it always seems like it was a million years ago.

As humans, we’re not very good as far as memory, especially when it comes to seasonal change. Every year, we seem to be cautiously optimistic, forgetting the heat and humidity and weeds and pests that plague us in the middle of summer.

That’s why now is a good time to take notes. As the season gracefully drifts into late fall and early winter (at least here it does - in the Midwest, I remember it galloping to a screeching halt in one week) it’s best to take a look around and remember what works and what doesn’t so that next year changes can be made.

I look and see the large bare patch in the basil row, where the plugs failed to thrive, making a mental note to plant something more drought tolerant next year. I see the dahlias that we failed to pinch towering over me at seven feet, their flowers bending down towards the ground, and make a note that this next year we really, really need to pinch all dahlias despite me promising myself every year that we’re going to. I see the powdery mildew on the zinnias - a first for us - and make a note to space them out further next year.

More importantly, I look to see what works in our color spectrum. The beautiful warm pumpkin-y tones of the dahlias are a success, as are the creamy and blush-grey tones of the Cafe au Lait dahlias. Golden heads of Hot Biscuits amaranthus and dark eyes of spent sunflower heads go perfectly together. The bright jewel tones of the zinnias, marigolds and dahlias all work together to create a colorful symphony of fall. These are all good things.

Though this is a busy time of year for flower farmers, take the time to walk through, take notes, and plan for the future. You’ll have plenty of time in the winter to analyze it, so it doesn’t have to be super detailed - but have something to go off.