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While the farmer was once responsible for simply putting food on the table, many farmers are now finding themselves in a new role as floral artists, as the market for cut flowers continues to take deeper roots, grow taller, and bloom quickly. Cut flowers are one of the most profitable “crops” per square acre than nearly any other undertaking, luring even the most macho farmers into the business. Whether you are looking to take flowers to market or simply pluck your own centerpiece from your front yard, you’ll never cease to please when including these eye-catching blossoms in your arrangements.

Zinnias (Zinnia spp.)

Zinnias are by far one of the easiest flowers to grow, and the diversity of varieties amongst zinnias are beyond plentiful. Amongst the extensive list of varieties out there, you can find this flower in nearly any color with many varieties multi-colored. These focal flowers also come in an an assortment of shapes and sizes, all with long stems most suitable for bouquet-building. Zinnias thrive in heat and can often withstand drought conditions once established. Not only do they grow quickly and require little on the side of fertilizer or amendments, most zinnias serve as “cut-and-come again” flowers, meaning you’ll only have to plant once to harvest throughout the entire season.

Dahlias (Dahlia spp.)

Dahlias are one of the most sought-after flowers by florists as these stunning blooms are often featured in weddings and serve as a darling centerpiece for any bouquet. Dahlias come in different size varieties from the medium-sized 4 inch blooms, like the Cornel or Critchon Honey varieties, to the 8 to 10 inch dinner plate varieties. The diversity of colors amongst dahlias are unmatched amongst its cut flower friends, ranging from hues of soft whites, pinks, yellows, and oranges to shades of bright red to deep maroon.

Purchase dahlias as tubers and plant them horizontally 6-8 inches deep in a moist, but not saturated soil. The bud should be facing upwards. Be sure the ground temperatures have reached at least 60 degrees before planting, often late April or early May for most places. Wait to water until the dahlias sprout above the soil surface! Stake tall varieties when planting as to not disturb the delicate tubers later on.

Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.)

Who doesn’t love sunflowers? Sunflowers are iconic to those good summertime-feels, supplying bright color to a home garden or to a market bouquet. There are two main types of sunflowers that are actually quite different from one another. Single-stem varieties, such as the Sunrich or the ProCut series, will produce one flower for each planted seed. Single-stemmed sunflowers have long, sturdy stems and come to bloom quickly, often about 60 days. Spacing between single-stemmed varieties will determine the bloom size; the more room for each plant, the larger the bloom.

Single-stemmed varieties are pollenless, prized for their durability in bouquets. For a steady flow of flowers throughout the season, you will need to succession plant these sunflowers about every two weeks. Branching varieties, on the other hand, will bloom multiple times throughout the season from a single plant. The stems are shorter, and each plant will need a considerable amount of space, blooming typically around 90 days. Branching varieties can make a great addition to a home garden for an endless supply of blooms throughout the summer. Whether you choose to grow single-stemmed or branching sunflowers, these resilient flowers will last up to 10 days in a vase.

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Beauty Trends You Need To Try In 2018

by Erin Weaver

New year, new you, right? Well, kind of. Most of us enter the new year with lofty aspirations for our lives – we’re going to get fitter. We’re going to stay on top of admin this year. We’ll end the year healthier, cooler, and totally self-actualized. In reality, most of us won’t live up to all these expectations. It’s difficult to revolutionize your life, but you can start small by revolutionizing your look. A host of sleek, expressive looks are set to dominate the beauty world in 2018, so get on top of them.

Clean And Natural

2017 was big and bold with heavily shaped brows, over-lined lips, and smoky hues. 2018 is going to retaliate with a return to sleeker, more natural makeup looks. Think Glossier’s barely defined brows, Fenty Beauty’s natural bronzed glow, and the return to dewier, lighter coverage foundations.

J-Beauty

Everyone got obsessed with Korean skincare (or “K-beauty”) in 2017, but 2018 will usher in a flood of Japanese beauty styles and products. J-beauty emphasizes sleek lines and understated beauty, so it will fit well with the more natural styles that are set to take over in the year ahead.

Standard Formula Lipsticks

We’ve seen every style of liquid lipstick possible by now, but 2018 is going to see the return of standard bullet-cased lipsticks like our mothers used to wear. Matte is on the way out too, with dewy, glossy looks coming back.

Bright Eyes

Forget about your warm terracotta nudes – 2018 will bring back Eighties-style neons on our eyelids to make a real splash. It looks like canary yellow and electric blue will be back on our eyes before we know it, so break out your bright eyeshadows again and get creative.

Clumpy Lashes

It feels like the beauty world has spent twenty years trying to banish clumpy eyelashes, and yet here we are in 2018 with designers giving us thick, clumpy, Twiggy-style eyelashes all over again. Slap on a few extra coats of mascara and call it a day.

Brow Liner

We’ll be looking at cute trends like under-brow liner this year too. The technique is simple – just take a bright color or a glitter eyeliner and use it to carefully trace the lower line of your eyebrow. This look is simple but impactful, so it’s perfect for parties and big nights out.

Gold Flecks

Gold came back big time at the tail-end of 2017 and it will continue to dominate beauty looks through 2018. Whether it’s gold flecks on the eyes, gold-toned highlighters, or the addition of a gold-bronze glow to the cheeks, get ready to look like a million dollars in the coming months.

These 2018 beauty trends are set to be hard-hitters, so don’t sleep on them. Get inventive and change up your look this year. Who knows – maybe a new look really will lead to a new you?


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