We spend a lot of time in the car as Nicolette always likes to say "going deep" -- that is driving to the middle of nowhere with clippers and cameras. This is pretty much our favorite thing to do. Throw in a bottle of fizzy water and a good bag of almonds for Nikki, a dunkin donuts coffee for me, and we can drive pretty much anywhere in search of flowers.
But I don't want you to think this is just anywhere, another farm we stumbled upon. This is THE FARM. Ben Fisher's 24 year old brainchild of flowering branches, cut woodies and miscellaneous perennials. We probably picked the best week of the year to visit.
Ben has been in flowers practically his his whole life, and was one half of the legendary Fischer and Page that used to dominate the 28th Street flower market. He knows his way around trees and woodies better than anyone I've met. He dances a mean tango (apparently), prefers tea over coffee, and has sported the best mustache in the market for decades.
His energy is abundant and his work ethic paramount.
He would want us to mention that he is only walking with a cane because he twisted his knee in the field. Occupational hazard. Like clipper-wrist. When I first got it, I went to Ben for advise.
We had the pleasure of helping Ben cut some lilac and crabapple. Some people would be horrified to see how trees get chopped up this time of year for the flower trade, but you know what, after years of this they look amazing. That's because trees like pruning.
The renewal pruning regimen recommends cutting a third of the oldest growth back to the base of the tree/shrub. Right after bloom. Lilacs love this especially. But you have to cut them right during or right after flowering or else you'll loose next years buds which begin to form almost immediately after this seasons blooms.
After a day of cutting, Ben loads all his beauties; big bales of crabapple, cherry, lilac, quince into his big box truck. Stuffed full, it arrives in the city for sale the next morning. I like to be there right when he pulls up to see if there's anything extra special or unusual onboard.