Visiting a Local Flower Farm in the Skagit Valley

September 21, 2011

Work area by the barn, Jello Mold Farm

I’ve been to the Skagit Valley many times over the years to visit the large, commercial tulip and daffodil fields and bulb companies.  But this week I was delighted to tour a small, 7-acre farm that grows over 150 varieties of flowers for the cut-flower market.  Jello Mold Farm is nurtured by Diane Szukovathy, one of the founders of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, and Dennis Westphall.

We knew we had arrived at the right place when we saw this telephone pole decorated with jello molds (and spider webs).

Jello molds, whimsical emblems of the farm

Diane and Dennis are passionate about sustainably and locally grown flowers.  The U.S. flower market is dominated by imports from Columbia, and small flower growers are threatened.  The 18 growers (so far) who have cooperated in forming the Seattle Wholesale Flowers Market hope to inspire florists and their clients to buy locally.  To compete in this market, the local growers offer supremely fresh and quality cut flowers, local specialties such as dahlias that don’t travel well, and new products. For example, Jello Mold Farm sells branches with clinging crab apples or quince and chestnut foliage and spiky nut cases, which add interesting textures and colors to floral arrangements.

Chestnut leaves and spiky green nut cases

A basket of chestnuts

 

The carnations at Jello Mold Farm smell like real carnations. Imported carnations have been bred to have no scent.

Diane with carnation and coffee cup, out in the flower beds

After an introductory tour, Diane set us loose on the farm to wander among the fall blooms.  Here are some photos of my favorite Jello Mold Farm flowers:

Pincushion flower (Scabiosa caucasica 'Alba')

Pincushion flower

A bed of Scabiosa 'Dark Knight'

Scabiosa 'Dark Knight'

Dahlias

One of many varieties of grasses grown at Jello Mold Farm

Bed of 'Queen Lime' Zinnias

'Queen Lime' Zinnia

The leaves of this Smokebush plant glowed like stained glass.

The unfurled petals of this sunflower plant looked like Japanese furoshiki (folded fabric gift wrap)

And, this being the start of autumn, decorative pumpkins and gourds are in season at the farm.

Harvested pumpkins

I loved the pale salmon color and warty texture of this Galeux d'Eysines squash.

There were still a few pumpkin blossoms in the fields.

Princess pumpkins

Flower ties, Jello Mold Farm

 

 

6 Responses to “Visiting a Local Flower Farm in the Skagit Valley”

  1. garden2day Says:

    A nice tour. I like the jello molds-very intriguing.

  2. Margaret Says:

    That looks like my kind of “field trip”. I was most interested in the salmon colored squash. I haven’t seen those before.

  3. sandy bessingpas Says:

    We’ll have to go back there when I visit you. Did you buy any of the princess or salmon colored squash? Save the seeds!!!


  4. Wow, that is just insanely beautiful. I’m totally following your blog if this is the kind of stuff you do with your time. ❤


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