Exciting flower news!

Hello Picking Wild Flowers! This is my 89th blog post! 89th!! That seems crazy. I began this blog three years ago on February 6th, 2016 as a way to journal my thoughts about all things food, fitness, farm and faith related. Overtime it has evolved and is currently a space for me to write about anything and everything!68253296_10218488599879972_2803747658622042112_nThe title for the site came from the song “Pickin’ Wildflowers,” by Keith Anderson. I have always loved the lyrics: “Sneak away for a couple of hours, you and me baby picking wildflowers.” There is something calming and beautiful about the idea of walking through a field of flowers. I realize that isn’t what the song is about… but for me it was about being in a place that makes me happy haha.68565367_10218488595279857_9078482616499306496_nI loved spending time in the greenhouse at Iowa State University! It felt so calming to walk through a room full of plants and flowers! This is where my dream for growing my own cut flower garden began. It began as an idea that just wouldn’t seem to go away. I made my first arrangement that fall. I carved out a pumpkin and potted some mums. I had so much fun and found it to be very therapeutic. Come to find out, my Great Grandma Ball loved flowers and gardening! I must have inherited the passion. 70015227_10218682036515767_6318774053586862080_nWhat began as a slight interest soon turned into a fun hobby. I began by replanting dad’s garden bed in the front of his house. I also made a few arrangements for family and friends. But, it wasn’t until I met Tyler that I began thinking about the possibility of growing my own cut flowers. Mom always had a garden growing up so I thought I would probably grow vegetables but it didn’t occur to me to grow my own flowers. 69655202_10218566630630692_8239161499084390400_nTyler and I began researching. We learned about drip tape, tilling, flower varieties, weed fabric, etc. and that following summer we had our very first cut flower garden. It is hard to believe that we are wrapping up year three. Previously my flowers have been for myself but I hope to sell some arrangements to all of you next year. 69236920_10218519863701548_8197760690115575808_nThis site, Picking Wild Flowers, will always hold a special place in my heart, but I think it is time for a change. Picking Wild Flowers is getting a new look! I am in the process of creating a new brand for our flower garden and my personal blog. 68751633_10218519820140459_1146851646370742272_nPicking Wild Flowers is transitioning to Farmhouse Flowers! The idea to create a new brand came from many conversations with Tyler. Where do I see this hobby going? Do I plan to grow the garden or remain the same size? How will the brand reflect the product I am producing? I decided that Farmhouse Flowers better suits my mission. The name came as an inspiration from the family farm. Multiple generations have grown up on the farm. Grandma Ball had her big garden right behind the house. The old farm house has a vintage charm and my goal is to carry that into my arrangements. Josie, Grandpa’s last cow, had to play a special role. You can see her name and silhouette in the logo below. The new website will allow room for growth. 

Blog posts will remain a place for me to journal my thoughts but I hope to focus the topics a bit! The current Picking Wild Flowers blog will remain live until I have the other site up and ready to go. The new logo design is below. Let me know what you think of the new look! Farmhouse flowers

I hope you are just as excited about this transition as I am! Thank you for taking the time to read Picking Wild Flowers! It means so much to me!


Cut Flower Update

Good evening Picking Wild Flowers! It has been a minute since I wrote a flower update so I thought I would hop on here quick and give you a look into what has been happening with our cut flowers… by the way not a whole lot with this rain but Tyler and I did purchase our first implement! We are the proud owners of a 3-point King Kutter XB gear driven tiller. Okay so I am not that knowledgeable about the tiller… hence why I am not in any of the photos but wow oh wow is this tiller a game changer! P.S. I am learning! 


Not only was it a game changer, but an opportunity to pull Grandpa Richards garden tractor out of the garage. The tiller even matches! 


Once Grandpa retired from farming, the lane and yard was a big priority to him. He valued keeping it mowed and you could often find him driving this tractor while sporting a farmers tan! It feels special to be sitting in the same seat Grandpa once sat!


The weekend before we bought the new tiller, Dad and Tyler cleaned out the lots from winter and dropped some manure off at the garden! As they were spreading manure on the fields, I was spreading manure around on our garden. We were able to till it in nicely with the soil.

Cow’s manure is a great natural fertilizer for the soil. It helps replace the nutrients lost from the soil with the previous crop, especially nitrogen. Not only is it a great fertilizer, but recycling the manure is a great way to clean up the farm after winter.

The tiller literally hummed through the soil. I wish I had a video to show how smooth it worked! My cut flowers are ready to be planted! They are taking over under my grow light but the garden is a pond right now. I just hope we can get a few things planted soon! Be sure to be praying for farmers as they try to get their corn and soybeans in the ground! 


Diesel loves spending days at the farm! Thanks for reading! 🙂

Third Time’s a Charm

Good afternoon and happy SPRING! It is officially planting season for our small cut flower garden. I was just looking back on the blog to see if there was a recap I could share from last year’s garden but I did not write one post about the garden! Not one! I am ashamed to say it was a disaster but I didn’t realize there was no documentation of last year’s garden so lets just pretend it didn’t exist… haha I am just kidding but I am not fooling anyone if I say it was a success! Wondering why my first year was so much better? Because last year slipped away from me, between wedding preparation, bridal showers, bachelorette party, Florida, work, and our honeymoon, I had zero time for the garden but third time’s a charm right? I can’t wait to get the garden bed prepped for this year but first we need germination!


We are a little late in the season for seed starting but better late than never. This year we are starting Snapdragons, Marigolds, Cress and Statice indoors with the grow light. March 16th was a beautiful day so we decided to keep the mess outside. Diesel loved rolling around in the yard while I planted seeds.


Both of my boys were there for moral support. As you can see, Tyler was thrilled to have his picture taken haha, I would say Diesel was a lot more corporative for this part. But shoutout to my husband for always being there for me!

I also have Rudbeckia, Sunflowers, and Zinnias to directly sow into the soil. Beyond flowers, we will be planting tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, onions and radishes.  I hope to post regularly about the flower garden. My goal is to showcase a few arrangements and maybe, just maybe we will have enough to share!


I can’t wait to continue learning! Trial and error is the best way to learn first hand and that is exactly what I plan to keep doing.

“A flower blossoms for it’s own joy,” Oscar Wilde.


Fresh From the Garden

So this happened… we sold the calf that won Grand Champion Breeding Heifer at the Van Buren County Fair! Show Down here we come!

The Show Down is a compile of all grand champion livestock exhibits from five surrounding counties. Each year the top of the top compete for first place from those counties. We feel honored to have a calf representing the Ball Family Farm. A huge congrats to Madison! She worked very hard to get the heifer ready. Often times people don’t know just how much work goes into showing cattle. When Megan and I showed, we woke up at 6, rinsed, dried, and brushed the calves. At night we would walk and repeat rinse. Come show day, the calf is washed, dried, and groomed to perfection. Good Luck next week Madison!


The steer we sold to Madison received 1st out of 10 in his class. 🙂

While we are on a path of good news… lets keep going

Checkout my flowers!!


Zinnias, Zinnias, Zinnias everywhere- red, pink, white, orange and yellow.

Wait for it… we finally have something other than Zinnias. The Snapdragons are taking off like wild fire!


I am so excited to make arrangements with two different flowers! I love my zinnias but  two is better than one!

There is nothing better than flowers fresh from the garden. Okay Okay… vegetables are pretty fantastic from the garden too haha.


And for just for a laugh since that seems to be my mood.


Yep she is yawning… or chewing her cud. Our cows are pretty wild let me tell you.

My teaching moment of the day. What is cud?

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post on ruminant animals called Got Guts . Cows chew their cud (regurgitated food) on an hourly basis. By bringing the hay back up they can re-chew it to then digest it again. Ruminants are able to take grass and utilize the nutrients from it to create energy.

Talk to you again soon 🙂



Knee High by 4th of July

19030674_10212079687661172_4144279585153507858_nThe once true saying may be true for my delegate yet beautiful plants. Moving back home in May and getting a late start on the garden put us a little behind schedule but as the corn towers over us during fireworks, our little seedlings will hopefully be knee high.

The summer sun has me glistening literally and joyously. Tyler and I have spent the last few weeks attending weddings (Congrats Autumn and Casey <3), painting and moving into our home (a big thanks to our family and friends), helping Megan and Kyle paint, attending Michael’s trap meet, and beginning my career as the Education Outreach Coordinator for Linn County.

I am jumping in feet first and I can’t wait to share many awesome agriculture lessons, activities, and training events with you. Be on the lookout for future career updates! 🙂 19029692_10212079688021181_6382507246201358553_nKnee high by 4th of July seems a little outdated but once upon a time it was used as a benchmark for farmers to detect how well their crop was doing compared to years in the past. Today’s technology provides farmers with the access to different strains, genetically modified crops, and precisely accurate fertilizer amounts. 19029417_10212079684941104_8499711684481282613_n

Plant research: Improving each individual plant.

GMOs: Genetically Modified Organisms or biotechnology helps reduce disease and crop loss.

Nitrogen use: The goal is to improve yields without increasing applications.

18892949_10212079685301113_8825794125476886628_nYesterday our indoor starter plants were finally ready to be transported to the garden. If you remember, I started Asters, Snapdragons, and Eucalyptus from seeds indoors. The Asters and Eucalyptus didn’t perform very well but the snapdragons took off like crazy. 18951324_10212079684421091_1696855253357929774_nHere is a photo of the Zinnias 🙂

Not only did we plant the indoor seedlings, but we checked out the rest of the garden. Our drip tape is holding up great! The irrigation system gets right to the roots of the plant without there being water loss from evaporation.   18767480_10212079684181085_3285410691797692294_nAnd look at those Sugar Snap Peas!!

I will be eating GOOD this summer… well by the end of July… haha.


Tilling It Up

Between graduation, moving, starting a new job, and planting our garden; I am wasting little time as my new chapter begins. A huge shout out to Mom, Dad, family, and friends for supporting me along the way!

Tyler and I spent two warm and buggy evenings prepping and tilling the ground. We were able to get the seeds planted right before the rain came Wednesday. I sound like a typical farmer 😉 Everything is dependent on the rain.

garden 10

First we mapped and marked four rows 3.5 X 16 feet. We borrowed a garden lawn mower from Bruce and Linda (Thank you by the way!! You saved us lots of time and energy) to till up the soil. The machine shed was a perfect place for the flowers; the land is flat, close to a water hydrant, and in direct sunlight.

garden 9

Can you guess what is in the photo above? I can give you a clue… it is not soil. That is right it is manure!! Perks of owning cattle- access to free fertilizer.

garden 4

Here is a picture of me tilling the manure into the top soil. We are lucky to live in Iowa with such dark and rich soil but after doing some reading on flowers I used manure and Peat Moss to loosen and enhance the soil. Peat Moss is made up of 380 species of mosses decomposed in bogs. Peat Moss holds onto nutrients that otherwise leak out of the soil. It also fluffs up the soil and allows air to flow through.

garden 8

Tyler wasn’t a fan of my camera, but I had to document our first huge project together! Next is the house 😉 We had a lot of fun being “entrepreneurs,” as dad called us.

The “entrepreneur in me wanted to go big or go home. So we bought drip tape irrigation. Flowers are sensitive to water and too much exposure to their leaves can cause a fungus buildup. Drip tape is more financially and resource efficient, the water is directly accessible to the roots of the plant.

garden 6

Here is the final project!! Before planting, weed fabric was placed on each row and holes were cut where the seed was sown. This week we planted Baby’s Breath, Zinnias, Sunflowers, and Rudbecia (black-eyed Susan). A few vegetable seeds were also planted where space allowed ;).

Stay tuned for more garden updates!

Anticipating Beauty

Anyone else anticipating beautiful garden veggies? I know I sure am! Can I get a woot woot!? I am very anxious to map out my flower garden! Not only do I expect to eat deliciously healthy this summer but I am hoping to surround myself with many bright and colorful arrangements. Last weekend, Ty and I started our seeds! It is official…the season has begun. We are in business and a successful (crossing my fingers) summer begins!


Do you want to start your own flower garden? Are you interested in planting a flower bed? Or are you curious about this new profound passion of mine? Well if any of those pertain to you, keep reading. 🙂

Follow six easy steps to germinate seeds indoors. What is germination? To germinate means to grow and produce shoots after a period of dormancy.

1. Purchase the necessary supplies. 

Items and Estimated Cost 

  • Grow light: $50.00
  • Trays: $5.00 each
  • Seeds: varies
  • Seed starting mix: $10.00
  • Labels: $1.50

2. Decide which seeds need to be started indoors. 

plant 13

Depending on the flower, some seeds do best when directly sowed. The seeds that need to be started indoors usually have a longer germination period and are sensitive to the cold. I started Eucalyptus, Aster, and Snapdragon.

3. Add water to the seed starting mix.

plant 12

The soil needs to be moist, but don’t let the water pool. The soil need to be wet at all times in order for the seeds to germinate.

4. Add soil to the seed cells.  

plant 10

I bought seed trays that have a hole in the bottom to help with drainage. Fill the tray cells full and don’t be afraid to overfill. The soil will compact when we continue to add water.

5. Create a seed bed. 

plant 9

Make a small bed for the seeds to lay. You don’t need a special tool for this, just use your hands to make a bed in each cell. By making a place to drop 3-5 seeds we avoid losing seeds when watering. It is also easier to cover the seeds with soil when they are secure in the cell.

6. Place trays under grow light. 

plant 3

We have had pretty warm days but the seeds tend to be sensitive to cold temperatures. They will still germinate but it might take longer. Ty moved our seeds indoors last night to avoid the chilly spring nights.

Six easy steps right? Starting the seeds indoors is not hard but seeing successful germination is a whole different ballgame! I am so excited to see the seeds germinate. I am crossing my fingers for a successful first trial!

To wrap up this Wednesday post I would like to congratulate Michael and the CCA Trap Team!! Good job Clippers! 🙂

plant 16




New Everlasting Happiness

Good Morning Picking Wild Flowers and Happy Monday! I thought I would kick off your week with a little food for thought. I was scrolling through Google trying to find inspiration for this week and I came across this short but perfect quote. “New Beginnings and New Everlasting Happiness.”

New Beginnings and new everlasting happiness

I practice Lent, a religious holiday that begins on Ash Wednesday and continues until Easter Sunday, and yearly I like to give up something that challenges me to rely on God’s help. For those of you who know me well, I have a bad habit of picking my lip when I am bored, nervous, or stressed. For the past three years I have tried to give this up and as soon as Lent is over I go about my normal ways. Well not this year friends! This year I want to focus on the true reason we practice lent, to lean on God for help in all things! Did you give up something for Lent this year? If so, comment below :).

THINGS to take

New Beginnings,” what does this mean? The more I sat and thought the more joy I felt. This quote represents Easter as a time to rejoice the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus died for our sins and with that we are forgiven. The second half, “New Everlasting Happiness,” puts a smile on my face. Each year is a new opportunity to see the beauty before us. I love this quote too, “The story of Easter is the story of God’s wonderful window of divine surprise,” (Knudsen).

The beauty before us… I bring you an Easter arrangement. I hope my class design puts a smile on your face this week.

Today’s arrangement is inspired by topiary design. “Topiary is the horticultural practice of training live perennial plants by clipping the foliage and twigs of trees, shrubs and subshrubs to develop and maintain clearly defined shapes.”

Recipe: Alstroemeria, white and yellow Daisy, and Aster.

I had a lot of fun with the topiary. It is a unique design that helps to celebrate Easter. The bright colors and odd shape highlight the symbolic relationship between the colors and elements of Easter.

Here is a FUNNY…

THINGS to take (1)

Happy Easter!







Boys and their Toys

This week we explore a whole new topic related to farming! Boys and their toys! Two weeks ago Dad, Tyler, Kyle, and Michael hunkered under Dad’s Dodge pickup truck to install a new exhaust. We all pitched in and bought it for his birthday and I just know he has been antsy to hear how it sounds!


Now don’t let these boys fool you… They might look clean but let me tell you… there was no sitting inside without a towel! The morning started off drizzly and I needed coffee, but they did not seem to mind.

I don’t quite understand the excitement that accompanies mechanics, although I do enjoy watching everyone work together! My the end of the afternoon Dad had added a new exhaust and convinced the boys to help with break pads! All of their hard work paid off and everyone felt accomplished!

The opinion of a truck is important to the men in my life. Their trucks are used to haul livestock, machinery, hay, feed, and/or equipment. The TRUCK is part of their everyday routine. My first vehicle was a truck but the dynamic is different.


I felt sad when I sold my truck, however it didn’t serve the same purpose for me as it does for those who use it everyday. For many outdoor professionals it serves as an essential part to their daily activities.


And for that reason I will never stand between boys and their toys.

Now, I did not forget to add flowers to this weeks post! I want to make sure I add a bit of sunshine to your lovely Tuesday evening.


The arrangement is a Easter basket design and can be used as a centerpiece. Meaning, that the flowers and Leather Leaf are symmetrical all the way around the basket.

Easter is a time for celebrating! We will come back to this topic next week but I will leave you with this quote.




Tropical Agriculture

Hello and welcome to Sarasota, Florida! Tyler and I’s first trip south was perfect! I predict many more visits in our future! I had fun meeting the Hibbs family and exploring the growing city. I loved learning all about where Tyler was born and the place he calls his second home :).

Enjoying seafood after visiting Mote Marine

Our trip began a little rocky with 3 delays, 1 cancellation, 1 hour wait for a taxi, hotel visit, 4 more delays, frozen bathroom pipes, tornado in Sarasota, and flu season at the airport. But none of that stopped us and we made it to Florida Monday night!


Tyler and I had so much fun hanging out with his grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends. We had a week packed full of adventure- starting with the beach. We explored the Siesta Keys twice, swam in the pool, walked through Mote Marine, discovered a flower farm, and watched the county fair dairy show.

The weather was high 60’s and sunny! AHHH Florida Sun! 

Did you read what I just wrote??? We discovered a flower farm and saw a dairy show!! I just can’t seem to get away from agriculture! It is all around us folks!! Soak it in…. ;).


Bucky and Joyce have family friends getting married next week and when he shared with them my love for flowers they invited us to the Native Florida Landscape. A little cove of wonder off the main road in Fruitville, Florida. Within the Native Landscape is a small business called William’s Wild flowers. Williams is creating the flower designs for the wedding next weekend.


She creates designs using only wildflowers. The gardens are built with the intention that wildflowers will grow in their natural habitat. A few flowers are planted to ensure enough material is available to work with. The business was a unique one to capture. She is very creative and has an eye for beauty within the landscape.

The sun warming the back of my neck made for a beautiful morning outside. It made me very excited to begin my own flower garden.


The Hibbs took Tyler and I to the Sarasota County Fair. I noticed a few differences as I made comparisons to our own fair, but all in all the fair felt like home! The summer sun warms Florida to the core and to prevent animals from getting over heated, the fair is moved to spring time.

Dairy show began at 7 pm 

Our last agriculture stop was more tropical than the rest. Aquaculture is a large industry in Florida and the seafood market is booming. We did not visit any fish farms but we did visit Mote Marine. An aquarium that is dear to the families heart. I learned a lot about the creatures under the sea. We even saw one large shark that no longer exists. I tried to act like it was behind me but Tyler wouldn’t play along haha.


Spring break 2017 was great! Now begins the countdown for graduation! 1 month and 2 weeks!!!