A Special Spot

It’s been a few months since I harvested this handful of ‘Potomac Pink’ snapdragons… 7-8 months ago or just about, these beauties started blooming in my flowerbeds. The stopped blooming in late October, and still hold such a special spot in my heart, no matter the distance of the time we’ve been apart.

Snapdragons are one of those blooms, that bring me back to my childhood. I have so many sweet memories, regarding these beloved flowers. I first took a huge notice of them, when they grew in my grandma’s garden… the sight of them, was a sight to behold. So many colors, growing en masse in likeness, and yet so different the closer you looked. The smells that come from snapdragons are like candy. If you know… you know. It’s not a smell that’s overpowering, but rather gentle. They’re such an interesting looking bloom. One of my first interactions with them, were when my grandma and grandpa popped off one of the blooms, and made it “talk/sing”… it made my sister and I chuckle for hours after the fact, pure entertainment for the rest of the day. Sharing that with my kids, the joy of the “singing snapdragon” has brought endless hours of fun in the garden.

When cutting these beauties, and using them in floral design, they’re the perfect “line” ingredient for a bouquet/arrangement. In my opinion though, I could be gifted an entire bouquet made out of just snapdragons, and be the happiest. They’re considered a hardy annual in my climate, 8b, and typically tolerate our mild winters. In the past, I’ve started snapdragons from seed in January/February. It usually means my first flush of snapdragons arrive late June/beginning of July. However, this year, I decided to try my hand at fall sewing, in hopes of an earlier flush of snapdragons in June. I’ve only successfully overwintered snapdragons using low tunnels. Freezing temps for an extended period of time, can definitely zap them.

Sewing these tiny seeds can be a tedious task! I often feel like I’m going blind while doing so, and I always drop more than 1 seed in each cell I’m planting… it’s inevitable. Last year, I wanted to try my hand at multiple colors and varieties, and planted over 8 trays (72 cells each) under grow lights… that would have been a possibility of 576 snapdragon plants. I watched as they sprouted and started to grow, and tended to them daily. They were a few cm tall, when all of a sudden, I noticed they started collapsing a few at a time, down at the soil level. It was the strangest thing… and saddest thing to witness. When I looked closely, I noticed these little jumping tiny flying bugs, and immediately started googling it. By the time I figured out that I was dealing with ‘fungal gnats’, I was down to just a few plants left. Out of the possibility of 576 snapdragons, only 25-30 survived. I didn’t have enough time to buy more seeds and wait for them to arrive, and then plant them… it wouldn’t have worked out in the season’s timing. So I declared last year’s snapdragons a bust, and moved forward with my feelings.

Each year looks a little different, and is filled with failures with whatever I grow. No two years have looked the same, since Wild Handful Farm came to be. Failures can defeat a person… and for a moment, I sat in that defeat. It’s what you do after you sit in it… does it keep you down? or does it ignite a charge in you to do better and try harder? For me, it’s the latter… I charge forward. So this year, I ordered 3x as many seeds as I did the year before. I also started a few trays of snapdragons in late summer/early fall… to try and overwinter for early cuts this year. Lastly, I learned a huge lesson… do not use LIVE compost. It is what those dang fungal gnats were attracted to. Fungal gnats eat the root/rootballs of seedlings. Thankful that Google was able to help me figure that out, so that I wouldn’t repeat the same mistake as last year. I have WAY more snapdragons planted already in the ground, than I did last year… and even more on the horizon, growing in trays right now. I’m hoping 2022 is the year of the snapdragon!

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The farmstand will not be stocked with fresh cut flowers weekly, until Spring 2023!