Hoson Farm welcomes spring with 50,000 lavender flowers and 6,000 daffodils

Hoson Farm welcomes spring with 50,000 lavender flowers and 6,000 daffodils

With snow and rain, warm days and cool downs, it’s a typical Montana spring.

It’s time to shake off winter and welcome flowers.

At County Rail Farm and Field Five Flowers in Husson, NBC Montana’s Tracy Potter-Vince showed off some of the farm’s first spring flowers.

Tracy and her partner Bethany Stanbury grow all types of flowers on the farm.

But the flowers that may stand out the most in spring are tulips.

The farm has up to 50,000 lavender flowers.

To show us some of the tulips making their first appearance this season, Tracy picked a bouquet of them.

“This is called the table dance,” she said, to one of the tulips. “This one is called the ‘Mirage’.”

The colors of tulips range from yellow to red, to pastel colors, and colors in between.

Tracy especially likes the premium items.

(Example) “Double tulips that look like peonies,” Tracy said. “Fringed tulips that have little teeth on the petals. We grow a lot of fancy, large, single tulips, so that the ones that do open are almost as large as my head.”

The tulip harvest begins in early February.

They are organized to make sure that everything does not bloom at once.

“Some of these plants are emerging and blooming now,” said Tracy, pointing to plants growing in a greenhouse. “Others are shorter, not ready to flower yet. We pulled them out later so we have a steady supply of fresh flowers.”

Many tulip varieties have not yet bloomed.

Tracy knelt down to show us the individual tulips being planted for Mother’s Day in their brick-and-mortar stores.”

(This is) the red impression right in front of us, she said, “and it’s a really big hybrid.”

Most tulips have their beginnings where you might expect them.

“Primarily, we work with two companies in the Netherlands where we get our lights,” Tracy said.

The farm needs an annual source of tulip bulbs.

When the flowers are ready to harvest, they are not cut from the bulb.

The whole bulb is taken, and cut later, when the flower and leaves are sold for bouquets.

The bulb is not replanted.

“You have to have a whole season of regeneration,” Tracy said. “You have to have these leaves to collect sunlight and energy.”

“If we cut them off at the base and take them away, we will remove those leaves and all the ways they collect energy,” she said. “If we planted that bulb again we would get very small tulips for the first two years before they can replenish that energy again.”

Tulips require cool winters.

“If they don’t have 14 weeks of cold weather, 40 degrees or below, they won’t bloom properly,” Tracy said, and they won’t be very hardy, and it’s the same for peonies. To flourish properly.”

The farm sells a lot of peonies too.

Daffodils are among the first spring flowers to appear.

County Rail Farm and Field Five Flowers contains 6,000 daffodils.

“I think (we have) about 20 different types of daffodils. They’re perennials, so they come out on their own,” Tracy said.

“It comes in more than just the standard yellow color,” she said. “There’s peach, white, cream, bright orange, it’s really beautiful.”

Tracy showed us another popular primrose that she grows.

“These are our lilies for production,” she said. “They should be ready in late May or early June.”

County Rail Farm supplies organically grown flowers and vegetables to many retail outlets in western Montana.

It has its own farmers market on site.

Tracy has been running the farm for 14 years.

I grew up in Moscow, Idaho.

“My mom was a forestry professor at the University of Idaho. My dad ran a computer software company, and I grew up not really wanting to do anything to do with gardening,” she said.

But she loved being outside.

She worked on organic farms in Europe and fell in love with growing plants.

The farm contains many plants that grow outside.

But many of them are grown in greenhouses.

In Montana’s cold climate you can’t grow many flowers in the winter.

But thanks to a greenhouse and lots of TLC there will be tens of thousands of flowers ready for spring.

“Greenhouses help us extend our season early and late,” Tracy said. “They allow us to control the environment. We are able to control that environment to get really outstanding blooms.”

“Those colors really come through and brighten our days after the long Montana winters,” she said of her flowers.

Perhaps nothing says spring more than tulips.

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