I draw inspiration from many different places: pictures, blogs, conference notes, last year's records, magazines, catalogs, and books. When I am unsure of what perennials or annuals I want to buy, I look through my catalogs and then reference the cut flower books I have such as The Flower Farmer and Specialty Cut Flowers. I am a member of The Association of Specialty Cut Flowers and there are fantastic online resources available too. I am constantly going back and forth when I am coming up with ideas. I pick up a catalog, Google an image, look up the flower in a book, get distracted by a different picture, make a mark by that picture, and then remember to keep looking up that other flower, find out the flower would be good, and mark it on the catalog. It's actually a lot of fun, just sometimes confusing.
On the other hand, I try to make seed searching a more thoughtful process, especially since my family's farm is certified organic. I need to make sure I buy organic seed when possible and document what seed I purchased. When I first go through seed catalogs I look for the organic seeds that are offered, and make a note if I am interested in them as a cut flower. I also have some varieties that I fall back on every year. I grow a certain sunflower called Zohar that is wonderful because it makes a strong, upright stem, and organic seed is offered from multiple companies. Another of my favorite cuts is red flame celosia, and I can get this organically as well. Although I work hard to find organic seed, I end up purchasing non-organic seed when there are varieties I want and cannot find organically. In these cases I ensure that the seeds are not treated or genetically modified.
So far I have purchased all of the seeds, bulbs, and perennials for the new season,but I still have quite a bit to do before I am ready to put them in the ground. There are some exciting developments in the works if we get some warmer weather! I will be helping construct That Girl's Flowers' very own walk-in cooler and hoop house!