Growing Peonies With Tanglebloom Farm

Ep.25 Blooming Success: Mastering Peonies and Sustainable Flower Farming with Melissa Hessney Masters, Tanglebloom

In Episode 25 we are joined by Melissa Hessney Masters who shares her journey of growing peonies with Tanglebloom Farm.

Introduction to Melissa Hessney Masters and Tanglebloom

Melissa Hessney Masters, the founder of Tangleboom, started her flower farming journey in 2013 with a simple patch of overgrown grass. Over the years, she has nurtured Tangle Bloom into a vibrant field and greenhouse flower production farm, supplying sought-after blooms for weddings, events, and local shops. Melissa’s commitment to eco-friendly practices and storytelling through floral arrangements has led her to pioneer Vermont’s first flower CSA program.

The Evolution of Growing Peonies With Tanglebloom Farm

Throughout the podcast episode, Melissa shares how her business model has evolved over the years. From starting with a diverse range of offerings, including weddings, CSA programs, and bouquet sales, Melissa eventually niched down to focus primarily on peonies. This strategic decision allowed her to find a better balance between work and personal life, emphasizing the importance of aligning business goals with personal values.

Lessons Learned and Tips for Flower Farming

Melissa discusses the challenges she faced, such as building a farm from scratch on rocky soil and the importance of not overextending oneself in the pursuit of growth. She emphasizes the need for flexibility and the courage to pivot business strategies based on market demands and personal needs. Melissa also provides valuable insights into preparing the soil for planting peonies, including the ideal timing for planting and spacing recommendations.

Choosing the Perfect Peonies for Your Garden

For aspiring flower farmers and gardeners, Melissa shares her favorite peony varieties for different applications. From workhorse varieties like Sarah Bernhardt and Festiva Maxima for mixed bouquets to specialty varieties like Zuzu and Etched Salmon for design work, Melissa’s recommendations cater to various preferences and market demands. She also highlights the benefits of Itoh or intersectional peonies for unique color combinations and design versatility.

Preparing for a Successful Peony Planting with Tanglebloom

Melissa advises listeners on preparing their sites for peony planting, including using landscape fabric, adding compost, and ensuring proper spacing. She shares her experience with different planting methods and the importance of not planting peony roots too deeply to ensure optimal flowering. Melissa’s tips on soil preparation and planting techniques provide a solid foundation for a successful peony garden.

The Importance of Soil Preparation

Soil preparation is a crucial step in successful peony cultivation. Melissa recommends starting by assessing the soil quality and making necessary amendments to ensure optimal growing conditions for peonies. Adding compost and organic matter can improve soil structure and fertility, providing a nutrient-rich environment for healthy plant growth. Proper soil preparation can enhance water retention, drainage, and overall plant health, leading to robust and vibrant peony blooms.

Tanglebloom’s Planting Techniques for Growing Peonies

When planting peonies, it’s essential to consider spacing, depth, and soil composition. Melissa suggests spacing peony plants three feet apart to allow for adequate airflow and prevent overcrowding. Planting peony roots too deeply can inhibit flowering, so it’s crucial to position the roots at the right depth, typically around two inches below the soil surface. By following proper planting techniques and providing optimal growing conditions, gardeners can ensure successful peony establishment and prolific blooming.

Landscape Fabric and Mulching

Utilizing landscape fabric in peony beds can help suppress weeds, conserve moisture, and maintain a tidy appearance. Melissa recommends cutting X-shaped holes in the fabric for planting peony roots, allowing for easy root penetration while minimizing weed growth. Additionally, mulching with bark mulch or organic materials can further enhance weed control, moisture retention, and soil insulation. Proper mulching practices can promote healthy root development and protect peony plants from environmental stressors, contributing to overall plant vigor and longevity.

Farm Stay Glamping Experience at Tanglebloom

Melissa has also created a unique agritourism experience through the Tanglebloom Farm Stay. Nestled in the woods on the farm, the Tanglebloom tiny cabin offers guests a chance to unwind, connect with nature, and immerse themselves in the beauty of the flower farm. The cabin has been featured in major publications like Travel & Leisure and Forbes, attracting visitors from urban areas seeking a peaceful retreat.

Tune in to the Backyard Bouquet Podcast

To delve deeper into Melissa Hessney Masters’ journey in flower farming, her insights on peonies, and her tips for successful planting, tune in to the Backyard Bouquet Podcast episode 25 featuring Melissa. Discover the beauty and sustainability of Tanglebloom and gain valuable knowledge and inspiration for your own flower farming endeavors.

Don’t miss out on this insightful conversation with Melissa Hessney Masters on the Backyard Bouquet Podcast.

Happy gardening and may your backyard bloom with the beauty of peonies!

In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • Melissa’s journey to flower farming (00:02:30)
  • Starting a flower CSA (00:07:18)
  • Transition to agritourism and education (00:14:30)
  • Focus on peonies and perennials (00:17:23)
  • Agritourism and Glamping (00:22:48)
  • Niche Down to Peonies (00:26:11)
  • Lessons Learned and Challenges (00:33:00)
  • Peony Growing Tips (00:36:56)
  • Favorite Peony Varieties (00:42:57)
  • Controlling botrytis and other diseases (00:49:08)
  • Harvesting peonies and preventing thrips (00:57:52)
  • Relocating and dividing peonies (01:02:25)
  • Harvesting peonies in the first season (01:03:38)
  • Harvesting and Marketing Strategy (01:04:49)
  • Peony Course (01:07:44)

Learn More About Growing Peonies With Tanglebloom Farm:

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