Prairie Yard & Garden: Rustic Designs Flower Farm

Prairie Yard & Garden: Rustic Designs Flower Farm


(peaceful classy piano music) – [Announcer] Prairie Art and Garden is a production of the
University of Minnesota Morris in cooperation with
Pioneer Public Television. (moves into elegant stringed music) Funding for Prairie Yard & Garden is provided in part by
Heartland Motor Company, providing service for over 30 years in the heart of truck country. Heartland Motor Company, we have your best interest at heart. Farmers Mutual Telephone Company and Federated Telephone Cooperative, proud to be powering Acira. Mark and Margaret Yackel-Juleen in honor of Shalom Hill Farm, a non-profit rural
education retreat center in a beautiful prairie setting near Windom in southwestern Minnesota. Shalomhill.org – When you work at a greenhouse, there are jobs that are pleasant and some that are definitely not. One of the jobs that
ranked on the fun side was delivering flowers to customers. As soon as they got
their drivers licenses, even our kids enjoyed making deliveries to people in our county. Every flower delivery brightened the day and brought smiles to our customers. I’m host Mary Holm, and come along with Prairie Yard & Garden as we meet another Mary, who grows flowers to brighten the day
for her customers, too. (happy jazzy music) If your name is Mary and you
work with flowers or plants, you often hear the nursery rhyme Mary, Mary quite contrary,
how does your garden grow. Today we are visiting with Mary Solbreken, who has a flower farm
contrary to the usual corn and bean farms we are used to seeing. (birds chirping) Thank you, Mary, for letting us come and visit your flower farm. – Thank you, I’m glad that you’re here. – Please tell us how did Rustic Designs
Flower Farm get started, and what all do you do
now for your business? – Well, Rustic Designs
started out I was making rugs. I was making rugs on a loom and I decided to start sellin’ ’em. So I was tryin’ to come up with a name that would be fitting. And you think of the rag rugs, and they’re more of a country style. So, we lived on a farm. I’m a farm girl, a country girl. So Rustic Designs just kinda fit. I’ve been making rugs for
at least 10 years now. And then about four years ago, I decided that you know what, I have a degree in horticulture, I want to grow flowers, sell flowers. So it just kind of
blended right into that. I still sell the rugs with the flowers, so that’s just kind of been
expanding year after year. The garden’s been getting
bigger and bigger, and now I’m up to two acres a cut flowers. – [Mary Holm] Wow. – [Mary Solbreken] I bring
them to the farmers markets, I do subscription deliveries
to different homes, deliver to the Belgrade
Grocery Store weekly during the growing season. Different businesses get flowers. I have people that come
out for tours or classes. I do special events. It is something that I love to do and I plan on doing the rest of my life. – [Mary Holm] Mary, how did you end up at this location, at this farm? – [Mary Solbreken] Well, I grew up just probably about eight miles kind of southwest of
here, over on Highway 71. And my parents had purchased
this farm location, I think the year that I
graduated from school in ’95. And the people that lived here had life estate to live
here as long as they lived. So this is just a really great farm site, and it really goes with
the Rustic Designs name. Everything just has that
rustic character to it. The barn has got so much
character, the greenery shed. It just really draws, it
really is very fitting. They used to milk cows here back in the ’70s, probably 60s, 70s. And actually, the straw that
I use in the gardens here is original straw from the 70s yet that they just never got to using. So it works really good for
laying down my pathways. It’s just great, and I
think I’m makin’ ’em happy. (laughing) – What kinds of flowers
did you decide to grow, or how did you experiment to figure out which ones you wanted to grow? – Well, grew up growing flowers. I was in 4-H, I had a huge
flower garden as a kid. Both my grandmas had huge flower gardens, so I grew up with them. I exhibited at the county fair. I did the local flower club. Had their flower shows,
so I would exhibit there. So I already kind of knew as a kid what kind of flowers last, or what flowers make good cut flowers in a vase. And then combined with a
horticulture degree, as well. I learned more on that fact, on how to preserve flowers
and that type of thing. And then, also, my experience in workin’ in the flower shops. I worked at a couple
flower shops after college. I learned a lot more on
the design work part of it, the flowers that customers are used to getting in or used to seeing. So I try to grow a lot of those. But I also like to grow more specialty or novelty cut flowers, as well. – Do your flowers that you grow change throughout the season, whether, you know, spring, summer, fall? – Yes, they do. In the spring I have
tulips, daffodils, allium. Different flower bloom
later into the season. And I’ll start out with
some of the perenials in June and July. And then beginning of July, the end of July, is
when the annuals start, ’cause I direct seed them into the ground. And some of ’em I do start in the house. I do have grow lights
and growing trays, too, that I do start some in. So then July, August, there’s a lot more of your annuals that are
growing and blooming, as well as some of the
later-season perennials, as well. So there’s alotta different options. And I go all the way until it freezes. And even when there’s a frost coming, I run out with my blankets,
then I’m covering things. (laughing) And I wanna save as
much as I possibly can, ’cause I have customers, or I got that market Saturday morning
that want those flowers. So I try to keep as many
things goin’ as possible. – [Mary Holm] So what
makes a good cut flower? – [Mary Solbreken] Yeah,
you wanna have somethin’ that has a longer vase life. I like to shoot for somethin’, at least, that has five days,
preferably in the seven to nine to 10 day range, and also somethin’ with long stem length. You need somethin’ that’s
gonna be long enough to put into a vase or a container. And also a sturdy stem. You’re looking for something
that’s gonna be strong and stand up good for you in a vase. Those are basically the three
main things that I look for. I do grow some things that
have a shorter vase life. There’s more demand out
there for, like, the dahlias. Not all dahlias are gonna last that long. There are some that are
only gonna last three days. But there’s demand there
for, like, wedding work, or people are just really in
love with dahlias right now. There’s a strong demand for them. So I do grow a lot of them even though they don’t
have the longest vase life. – [Mary Holm] When is the
best time to harvest them? – There are certain
flowers that you wanna pick when they’re just starting to open up, kind of like the sunflower. Just when their petals are peeling away from the disk of the
sunflower, you wanna pick them. I want my customer to have the
longest vase life possible, so I will pick them as fresh as possible. But then there’s other flowers,
like yarrow, especially. You wanna pick that when
it’s definitely open. You don’t wanna pick in the early stages, otherwise it’s gonna wilt
in the customer’s vase. Dahlias are another one
where you wanna cut them when they’re completely open. Otherwise they’re just gonna wilt. They’re not gonna last the day. So every flower really has a
different criteria for picking. I pick in the morning, for the most part. Morning is good. The only one bad side to
the pickin’ in the morning is the flower’s out of its sugar. It’s used up all of
its sugar they produce. They collected the sunlight from the day before, produced sugar. So it’s living off of
that sugar all night long. So in the morning it’s low on sugar, but it’s nice, and crisp, and fresh. The morning is a great time to pick. Otherwise late in the evening
is another great option. The thing with the evening picking is the flower is a lot hotter. It’s been out in the sun all day. It’s, you know, kinda
stressed from the heat. But the other thing is it’s high on sugar content at that point. So there’s kinda drawbacks to both sides. I mean, both are good options. Either early in the morning, I like to pick by nine o’clock for sure. I’m out in the gardens
picking at five, 5:30. I want the flowers nice,
and crisp, and fresh. Otherwise I would suggest in the evenings. You know, seven, eight, nine o’clock, just when the sun’s startin’
to set, that type a time frame. When I cut my flowers,
I bring out the buckets right to the garden area. I already have them filled with water. And I put in a holding solution. It’s a #2 Chrysal Holding Solution, and it kinda holds the flowers
at that point of bloom. So I will cut into that water. It’s luke-warm water. And then I will let them drink
up water for a couple hours. And from that point, they
get put into the coolers. I have a couple floral coolers. The coolers are set anywheres from 33 to about 40 degrees,
just to condition ’em, get ’em nice, and crisp, and cool. And then they’re ready
for when I need to put ’em into arrangements or when
I’m puttin’ together bundles for a market, that type of thing. There’s a couple flowers that I will cut and put into a hydrating solution. The hydrating solution
basically pulses in nutrients and water into the stem right away, just to hydrate ’em, basically,
and keep ’em nice and fresh. From that point, after they’ve been in the hydrating solution
for about four hours, then I’ll transfer ’em
to the holding solution. When my flowers go out to customers, if I’m doing a vase arrangement,
they get put into a #3, it’s a vase florals preservative
that they get put into. And that’s for the flowers
to keep on blooming, to make the buds open up, and
to keep on feedin’ ’em sugar. Same thing with the farmers market. The bundles go out with
packets of flower food. So the customer, when they get home, they can put that flower
food into the vase and have their flowers last
for them and keep on blooming. – How do you transport all those flowers to your customers and
to the farmers markets? – When I go to the market, for the most part, I use my trailer. I have an enclosed trailer. It was an old Boy Scout
trailer that I came across that has great shelving units in there. And I had my father-in-law
kind of modify it. So, my buckets. I have the black floral
buckets, and they sit right in. He made a really nice shelving thing. So they won’t tip over. I just set ’em right in. It works great to bring
them to the market. – Would it be possible
(happy piano music) for you to actually show
us some of the flowers that you grow for your customers? – Oh, sure! Come along, we’ll go look! (laughing) – [Mary Holm] Okay! When I do plantings of a container using flowers like petunias and whatever, the principles that I’ve heard are that you use a thriller,
and a filler, and a spiller. Do those same design principles apply in floral arranging, too? – Yeah, I guess they kinda do. When I teach my flower arranging classes, I kind of tell the participants that you want to start
with your filler flower in your arrangement, just to kind of give some criss-cross motion to help hold up the focal flowers, which
would be your thriller. Your thriller flower would
be like the lilies here. They’re your focal point. Or, like, the dahlias
would be a focal point. Or sunflowers would be
another focal point. Your filler is going to be
anything like your baby’s breath, like the yarrow, even the sea holly, the larkspur, another
type of filler flower. It kind of fills out the arrangement. Good options for your
spiller would be, like, amaranthus is a great
option, dusty miller, or anything that has
kind of a natural curve that’s gonna kind of spill over the vase, over the edge of the vase. Kind of gives you that
spiller portion of it. So I guess that kind of does
go into floral design, as well. One thing that I do teach
in my arranging classes is to have something
with some height to it to give your arrangement some depth. So, a lot of times I’ll say
to pick out a vertical flower. The larkspur is a nice vertical flower. Snapdragons are a great
vertical flower to use. Delphinium. Gladiolus are even nice,
tall, vertical flowers. So somethin’ to give
your arrangement height and depth is really key to arranging. – [Mary Holm] Well, all
of your flowers here are absolutely beautiful. Do you provide extra water for
them, or how do you grow them in the summertime during the dry periods? – [Mary Solbreken] Yeah,
if it doesn’t rain, yup, I have to be out here watering. I have the Tripod watering system. I actually have three of ’em. And I use hoses, I move the tripod along. It really works good. It does cover a large area. And I water during daytime hours. You don’t wanna be
watering into the evening, because otherwise you’re
gonna have a problem with the powdery mildew building up. So you definitely want to be watering during the daytime hours for that. – [Mary Holm] And then, like the dahlias that you were talking about
and some of the gladiolus, do you save bulbs from year to year? – [Mary Solbreken] Yeah, I do. Everything gets dug up. The gladiolus, the cala lilies, tuber roses, dahlias, they all get dug up. I store them in file crates,
the plastic file crates. You can find them at, like,
Walmart or Office Max. So that they can breathe. There’s air flow through there. So I dig ’em up, I wash off the dirt, and I store ’em in the crates. And we have an old farm
house that we live in, and the basement has a rock foundation, and it really stays cooler down there. So it works out a great
spot to store them. So that whole area is
filled up with dahlias, and gladiolus, and cala lilies. So it works out good. It’s a lot of work,
but it’s well worth it. – [Mary Holm] You had mentioned,
with the dusty miller, that you use that as a spiller sometimes. (humming) But to me, that doesn’t seem like it’s a plant that grows very tall. How do you get it tall
enough to be able to use it? – [Mary Solbreken] Yes,
that’s a great question. Alotta times I do plant my flowers way closer than what I would ever suggest. And the reason that I do that
is to get longer stem length, and also to cut out, the
shade out the weeds, too. There’s kind of a couple
different benefits to it. So I will plant my
sunflowers close together, my larKspur close together. My gladiolus and my
dahlias, they’re right in beside each other, right in a row. Not what you’re supposed to do, but it works to get me
a taller stem length, and it helps to shade out those weeds so I don’t have to do so much weeding. – [Mary Holm] Oh, that’s a great idea and a great suggestion
for our visitors, too. So, you mentioned that
you like to have something that’s linear to add a lot
of height and interest. (humming) What do you like to use for fillers? – [Mary Solbreken] This is a sea holly that you had asked about. This is a great filler flower
to add into a arrangement. This would definitely work for the filler when you’re puttin’ together. This is called Blue Glitter. Sea Holly is the common name for it. And this just has a
really nice texture to it, great for arrangements, nice stem length. Vase life is amazing with it, too. I mean, it can last for a couple weeks. It works really good
for a dried flower, too; it’s excellent. And then here, I also wanted
to show you the larkspur. Larkspur is what’s gonna
give you your depth to arrangements, and give you
your height and your depth. And it’s somethin’ that I really tell a lot of my participants in
the flower arranging class, to use something with some height to bring up your
arrangement, and also to give more depth to it, as well. It works really well for that. – [Mary Holm] Well,
and I see that you have some phlox growing right here, too. I would guess that that would also be another beautiful flower to
give you that linear look. – [Mary Solbreken] It is, it is, and it also has a great fragrance. Phlox is probably one of my
favorite flowers to grow. I do have it in whites,
lavenders, orange, and red. It is a great flower. And even, there’s some of ’em
startin’ to bloom already. Usually they don’t bloom
until the end of July, beginning of August, so it’s
pretty amazing to see that. But that would be a great
filler, and also a height. So it kind of acts as two different things of your criteria for
making an arrangement. – [Mary Holm] Speaking
of making an arrangement, would you be willing to show
us how to make an arrangement? Say, for example, that
we have company coming for the weekend and we wanna go out to the garden and cut some flowers. Could you do us a simple arrangement to give our customers, I mean our viewers, an idea of what they could do? – [Mary Solbreken] Sure, yeah! Let’s go do that! – [Mary Holm] Okay! (happy jazzy music) – I have a question. I’m thinking of starting
a pollinator garden. What kinda plants do I use? – Yes, it really does matter. We are doing some trials
on counting the pollinators on different kinds of zinnia and salvia here at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and we found it really
does make a difference. This short, newer variety is Star White, and that’s an improved variety. It’s very good for disease resistance, but we’ve seen very few pollinators on it. Right beside it is an older
seed variety called Lilliput. It’s Lilliput because
of the little flowers, but it’s still a fairly tall
plant, two or three feet tall. This has been a great
attraction for honey bees, bumble bees, and
butterflies, and native bees. So, we’ve seen quite a few on lilliput. State fair is another older
type that’s very good. And then, when we’ve compared salvia, we have a salvia farinacea here that’s called Mealycup sage. It has kind of a white,
dusty look to the flowers. This can be blue or
white, as you see here. This is a big attraction,
mostly for bumble bees, but some honey bees as well. This is our typical salvia splendens, one called Flare that we think
of mostly for annual salvias. We’ve just seen a few pollinators
on this, some honey bees. They have to go way up inside
this flower to get the nectar. So they actually crawl way up in here, and they’re totally hidden
when they get the nectar. But we haven’t seen as many bees on this flare salvia as
we have on farinacea. Farinacea, or mealycup sage, is a great one to plant in your garden. – [Announcer] Ask the Arboretum Experts has been brought to you by the Minnesota Landscape
Arboretum in Chanhassen, dedicated to enriching lives
through the appreciation and knowledge of plants. – Mary, this is a bucket of flowers that I cut earlier this morning that I’m gonna be using
(birds chirping) to put together an arrangement. And I’m just gonna kinda show you how to put together an arrangement
for the audience out there. Just so if they were
gonna make some flowers, they were gonna have dinner, they were hostin’ company over tonight, they could go to their own garden. They could probably find a lot
of flowers similar to this. So I’m just gonna show how
to make a simple arrangement, nothin’ too fancy, just somethin’
for the special occasion to have the neighbors over
or somethin’ like that. So, to start out, I went and got a vase and I filled it up with water. Now, when you put water in a vase, you wanna make sure that you use water that has not gone through your softener. ‘Cause if it goes through your softener, it’ll have salt in it. And not that it’s gonna kill the flowers, but it just isn’t going to be
very helpful to them at all. It’s gonna be a little
more on the harmful side. So something without
any salt in the water. Next, I’m going to add
in a flower preservative. The flower preservative
contains an acidifier, a biocide, and a sugar ingredient. The biocide is to kill
the bacteria in the vase. The acidifier is to keep
(clattering) the flowers their color.
(scraping) If they did not have
the acid in the flower, the acidifier, it would cause the flowers to turn more of a bluish shade, (rustling) which is kinda interesting. (humming) And the sugar is to feed the flowers, to keep them blooming,
to open up the buds. Okay, so now I have the
flower food in there. And you can see by lookin’ at the bottom that you can still kinda see the white powdery mixture in there. So what I’m just gonna do
(claterring) is I’m gonna take the stem of lily here. This is the asiatic lily. And I’m just going to take off some of these bottom leaves
(rustling) ’cause I don’t want any
leaves to get in the bottom. So I’m just gonna stir up the flower food so it’s all dissolved, that type a thing. Then, to start off with an arrangement, I suggest usin’ something linear first to get your height, and the larkspur is a good ingredient for that. This is larkspur here. And once again, I’m just gonna
strip off the bottom leaves, ’cause I don’t want any
leaves below the water level that will cause bacteria to grow. (clattering)
And it’s a little windy here (laughing) at this location. And I give it a snip, kind of at a diagonal criss-cross there,
and I’m gonna stick that in. – [Mary Holm] Why did
you make a diagonal cut? – Just so it can absorb up more water. It’s easier for the
stem, more surface area for the stem to drink up water. So once again, just strip off the leaves. (clattering)
And I’m gonna cut at a angle and insert. Basically you want your arrangement to be 1 1/2 times the height of your vase. And once again, I’m not gonna put this whole big clump in there. It looks kinda like a tree. So I’m just gonna cut off
a branch, and strip off the leaves, and add it into
the arrangement like so. And keep on adding in until you get a nice criss-cross motion inside the vase. The more of a criss-cross
motion that you have in there, it helps your next flower to put in there, which is gonna be the focal flower. So, I’m just gonna add
in a few more of these, keep on inserting around. (clattering)
(snip) And then we will probably
quit at that point with that. So next, I would suggest
adding in your focal flower. That is going to be your
largest flower that you have, that you wanna draw
interest to the arrangement. And this here is an asiatic
lily, and this is going to be the focal flower for this arrangement. And once again, I’m going
to kinda eyeball it. I’m gonna look at the vase. And I want these to be kinda down lower, because they’re a big flower, they give weight to the arrangement. So I’m gonna kinda eyeball it, that I want it down
low in the arrangement. (clattering) Cut at a angle, and just let it drop to the ground. (laughing) Strip off the bottom leaves and then insert it into the arrangement. And we’re just gonna work our
way around the arrangement. So, I’m gonna grab another
stem of lilies here. And same thing. Over on this side, I
want the flower down low. So just kind of use
(snip) the table as a guide,
(rustling) strip off the bottom
leaves, and add in the lily. And it looks like we have
an opening right here where I wanna add one more. So yeah, if you could hand
me that next stem a lily. (rustling) I think I will take the one
that has the most buds open. And then this one, that just has one open, we will add to the top. So once again, I’m just
gonna kinda eyeball it. (clattering) – Is that a special scissor that you’re using, too, or a clipper? – It’s just a simple shears from Menards, is where I’ve gotten them. It works really good, it’s a nice utensil. I like usin’ it a lot for this. Sometimes I do use a knife, but for the most part I just use shears. Now this one here, I wanna bring up a little bit more height
into the arrangement. So I’m gonna try to get the lily right there at that point
to fill up that hole there. (clattering) And cut at a angle, once
again, and make sure, try to get those leaves so
they’re not in the water. I do see that I have a
couple in here in the water, so I’m gonna try to quickly
pull those out a little bit. At that point, now, I wanna add in a little bit more of an accent flower and something linear to
it to give some depth. So I’m going to go with
the snapdragon here. This is a chantilly snapdragon, it’s not your common rocket
series snapdragon that you see. This has more of an
open look to this snap. They’re newer on the markets. And once again, it’s
pretty much I wanna add some height and some depth
into the arrangement. And I’m just gonna kinda work my way around the arrangement adding in color. (snipping) Cut at a angle, strip off the
bottom leaves, and insert. And we’ll go with a couple more in there. And I’m just gonna rotate my vase. And I’m gonna add another
one over here, in this area, and then also one on the backside. So once again, just eyeball, cut, (clattering) strip off the bottom leaves,
(rustling) and insert. And we need one more. Kind of just makes the
arrangement nice and uniform to have one more over in this area. (clattering) – So balance is something that you really work to achieve, too. – I do, for the most part. You know, if it’s going on a table, you kinda want it to be uniform. It just really depends upon
where you’re gonna put it. Then I’m going to add in
another accent flower, and this here is called dianthus. And this is in the Amazon series,
it’s a really nice flower, nice and bright color to
add to the arrangement. Nice summer colors we got going on here. So, I am going to start off,
(scraping) I always start up high. So I’m gonna start up
right there at that point and add this in there. (snip)
(clattering) (rustling) And once again, same thing. Strip off the bottom leaves. (clattering)
(snip) And then I’m gonna add
this in right over here, on this side here, kinda wiggle it in there. And then I need to add in a couple more, just to even it out a little bit. (snapping) (clattering)
(snip) Kinda eyeball it, cut at a angle, strip off the bottom leaves.
(rustling) And we’re gonna add this
right in there, like so. And I need one more over in this area. And then, this one I’m gonna kinda tuck in a little bit into the arrangement, just to give a little more depth. So I’m gonna put it closer
to the level of the vase. So I’m just gonna kinda add some depth. It’s fun to add depth to your arrangement. Just gives more of a
eye-catching look to it, I guess, draws interest to it. So, we’re gonna try to
sneak this guy in there. Have to pull off a couple
more leaves for that. (rustling) Oops! Alright, Mary. So, I’m just gonna add in one more flower, and that is this achillea
here, this white flower. And it’s just gonna make
everything kinda pop. So once again, too,
(rustling) I’m gonna pull off those
leaves, just strip it. And you’re gonna look for the holes in the arrangement, or where
you need to add somethin’. So, like, right here
in front, I have a hole that I wanna add in some white flowers to. And it just adds so
much to the arrangement. This is a great filler flower. And so I’m just gonna
keep on working around and finding those holes, those areas where I need to add a little
bit more to the arrangement just to make everything pop nicely. And then I see in this area here I have another hole, so
I wanna add in there. So we’ll take this guy and, once again, strip off the leaves,
(rustling) and cut at a angle,
(clattering) and pop in, just like so. And I’m just gonna keep on working around, (elegant stringed music) finding another hole
that needs to be filled or another area where I
need to add in some white. Which I think I’m just
gonna go right over here, at this point here, and get
it down in there, like so. (clattering)
(humming) And I’m gonna add in one more. I think I got a little area here that needs somethin’ just to fill it out. And when you make an arrangement, you wanna put what looks
appealing to your eye. Doesn’t necessarily have to look appealing to everyone’s eye, is what
makes it appealing to your eye. So there. I think that pretty much sums it up, a nice full arrangement. This would be perfect! Are you having company tonight? (laughing) – Thank you so much, this is beautiful! And thank you for letting us come and see your flowers here at your farm. – Yes, yeah, thank you. Thanks for comin’ out, I appreciate it. – [Announcer] Funding
for Prairie Yard & Garden is provided in part by
Heartland Motor Company, providing service for over 30 years in the heart of truck country. Heartland Motor Company, we have your best interest at heart. Farmers Mutual Telephone Company and Federated Telephone Cooperative, proud to be powering Acira. Mark and Margaret Yackel-Juleen in honor of Shalom Hill Farm, a non-profit rural
education retreat center in a beautiful prairie setting near Windom in southwestern Minnesota. Shalomhill.org. (moves into classy jazz music)

5 thoughts on “Prairie Yard & Garden: Rustic Designs Flower Farm

  1. Could someone please tell me the name of the whie flower at the 26min mark that is used in the Vase arrangement please . Thankyou kindly .

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