Awards in bloom at Quonquont Farm

  • Maida Goodwin, horticulture manager at Quonquont Farm, cuts flowers Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

  • Maida Goodwin, horticulture manager at Quonquont Farm, cuts flowers Tuesday. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Flowers at Quonquont Farm, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

  • Flowers at Quonquont Farm, Tuesday. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Flowers at Quonquont Farm, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

  • Flowers at Quonquont Farm, Tuesday. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • The entrance to a miniature house in Quonquont Farm's "Hobbit Garden," as seen Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

  • Flowers at Quonquont Farm in Whately, as seen Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

Recorder Staff
Published: 8/29/2017 10:55:21 PM

WHATELY — Love Lies Bleeding, a type of amaranth flower, swayed against a backdrop of deep maroon Red Hedge sunflowers in Quonquont Farm’s one acre pick-your-own flower garden Tuesday, their fist-like green buds unclenching in slow motion.

“It makes me feel very rich to have all of that down there,” said Maida Goodwin, horticulture manager at the rambling North Street farm.

Celosia Sylphids, Queen Red Zinnias, and Italian White sunflowers are just a few of the more than 100 flower varieties available for cuttings. “There’s like 16 or 17 different Zinnias,” said Goodwin, who has a plant and soil science degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Then for ten years she worked at Blue Meadow Farm’s nursery, in Montague, which has since closed.

A young bunny hopped through the patch of Chinese Forget Me Not’s. Bees zipped through Green Burst sunflowers. Nearby, a heron exploded up from a beaver pond into an oak tree. All 140 rolling acres of Quonquont Farm, originally founded in 1759, are in pristine condition — which earned current owners Allison Bell and Ann Baker this year’s Whately Historical Commission Preservation Award.

The award is periodically given to recognize preservation efforts in the community.

The owners, “who bought the farm in 2000, have improved the property continually” including a “thorough rehabilitation of the barn, which has quickly become a popular setting for weddings, benefits, and other functions,” said a press release about the award.

Most recently, the farm planted a pick-your-own flower garden, adding to blueberries, peaches, and apples.

“Depending on what you choose, you can get a big arrangement of flowers for $9,” Bell said. Flowers are in bloom through October, which lines up with fruit picking season. Blueberries start after July 4th, peaches in mid-August, and apples at the end of August.

“This is the first year, so part of it is experimenting with what people want,” Goodwin explained. Seedlings were planted under lights at Goodwin’s house in January. Then put into Whately’s rich soil come April.

Maintenance throughout the year includes “dead heading, weeding, and a little bit of staking,” Goodwin continued.

Cut your own flowers

Putting together flower arrangements is an art form.

“Wander around until something catches your eye. That’s your lead actor. The others are supporting,” Goodwin said. Then when arranging them, stagger the flowers’ height, and “start with your main flower, usually. You want to get a degree of balance. If you want something unsymmetrical, make it really unsymmetrical.”

Looking ahead, Bell said Quonquont Farm intends to expand its focus on flowers which color spaces and the garden around the farm, including a “hobbit garden” with flowers from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.”

A flower arrangement class scheduled later this year sold out within 24 hours. And next season, they’re hoping wedding parties renting space on the farm will choose to create arrangements from the garden.

Quonquont Farm will receive the Whately Historical Commission’s award Wednesday. More information can be found at www.quonquont.com. Pick-your-own flowers can be cut during normal business hours, Tuesday through Sunday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The flower garden is handicapped accessible.

You can reach Andy Castillo

at: acastillo@recorder.com

or 413-772-0261, ext. 263

On Twitter: @AndyCCastillo




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