(Finally!!!) an Update from Roving Radish
Dear dahlia friends, supporters, and customers,
This time last year I was grieving the loss of my cherished herd of 3500 dahlia plants (a collection of over 530 varieties) to catastrophic flooding. My tuber stock, which had taken nearly a decade of labor and love to grow out, divide, and increase on a shoestring budget, rotted in the ground and was not recoverable. It was a staggering loss, and I needed some time to mourn and get my head around it. I was offline for a few months, and apologize for any communication balls I dropped during this time.
At first I couldn’t see a path forward for Roving Radish and was set to hang up my hoe. But the outpouring of kindness and support I’ve received from the Rockport community and fellow dahlia lovers in the aftermath of the disaster has been just astonishing. A number of you dear people sent tubers to help rebuild my stock, money to cover my bills in the interim, and sweet words of encouragement that lifted my spirits and gave me the gumption to try again. (Note: individual thank you letters will be arriving soon; I’ve been in triage mode getting all those shiny new tubers into the ground!)
So, the big happy announcement is that Roving Radish Flower Farm is attempting a comeback this year. Tubers for the 2022 season have been donated by generous fellow growers, with the remainder purchased with a grant from Awesome Rockport. They have been in the ground for over a month and the plants are gearing up to bloom. I’ve moved into a new field across the street from the old one which has naturally excellent drainage, after an expert determined that making the old field safe for dahlias would be a costly undertaking with no guarantees. Rockport residents can now view the dahlia field by strolling down Old Straitsmouth Road, behind Heath’s Tea Room.
The new field did come with some major expenses — the big ones being $10-12,000 to hook us up to the electric grid (trenching, tree removal, and a pole installation will be involved) to power the well pump. We also had to replace 120,000 square feet of weed control fabric destroyed by the flood, and are hoping to build a small, minimally-heated tuber storage shed/workspace beside the field so we can get the tubers out of the ground quickly at the end of the season … AND so I’m not risking eviction by filling my apartment with tuber crates six months of the year!
Among other things, this disaster has forced me to reckon with my limitations as an autistic person who found one thing I’m very good at (growing dahlias), but is still easily overwhelmed by technology and communications. Fortunately, my wonderful brother Danny is GREAT at those things and has offered to take over the social media accounts and coordinate the rebuilding effort so I can focus on caring for the plants. Danny has launched a GoFundMe to help cover the rebuilding expenses — money being tight since, alas, I didn’t get paid last year! The link to the GoFundMe is here if anyone would like to contribute: https://gofund.me/0e073225. I’d be really grateful if you could spread it around your networks. To those who have already contributed, THANK YOU — I’m more grateful than words can say.
Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, Roving Radish will be back at Rockport Farmers Market starting August 13th, and you’ll soon be able to find our dahlias at Seaview Farm Stand, Cozzi Family Farm Market & Gifts, and perhaps a few other local spots to be announced. Follow us on Facebook for announcements about pick-your-own afternoons and other events as we get deeper into the growing season: https://www.facebook.com/rovingradish/. The tuber shop will re-open in early 2023, and an announcement will go out to everyone on this mailing list a few days prior to opening.
With love and gratitude,