2016 was the year I decided to give up veggies, and grow cut flowers in my ENTIRE BACKYARD GARDEN. (Actually, I made the decision in the winter of 2015, and in the spring I still thought that I might be just a little crazy). Don't be alarmed- I still ate veggies!
Venturing out, I sold flowers in a downtown Brockville shop, at the Athens Farmer's Market (when I could actually be there), at my "other" workplace, at an artisan fair, and in front porch sales at home.
I grew several dozen types of annuals in my garden, planted bulbs and tubers, and raided my perennial beds to create beautiful, bright bouquets.
It was a ton of work in the severe drought our region experienced, but with the support of some loyal friends, and many new customers, the season was a success.
I learned a lot (!) and kept detailed notes of what worked (Calendula is amazing in hot, dry conditions) and what didn't (did you know that Bells of Ireland have thorns?!). There were new discoveries (Hello, Larkspur!) and disappointing results (can you say chipmunks?!?), but it was so good to do what I love.
I networked with other flower farmers across North America, read some fantastic flower farming books, and searched the web for seeds, growing tips, and flower arranging ideas. What an inspirational group of people out there.
It was a fantastic summer!
2017 was an amazing experience too, as I increased the amount of flowers I grew, and arranged bouquets for my first wedding client. A little stress, and a lot of fun!
I also discovered that FRONT PORCH SALES work really well for me and my customers.
How does that work?
Customers such as you contact me in advance with an order- for example, three paper-wrapped bouquets. The morning before the flower pick-up, I carefully choose the blooms from my gardens and set them in clean buckets of water in my dirt-floor basement to stay cool and acclimatize to being cut (I don't want to give you wilted flowers). The day of pick-up, I bundle and wrap your flowers, and then set them on my front porch in another bucket of fresh, cool well water. You stop by at your convenience, pick up your fresh bouquets, and leave payment in my mailbox.
It's as easy as that!
The future is as bright as the blooms, and I am excited to see what it brings!
Please follow along on this journey. It is guaranteed to be colourful.
Photo (in colour) above was taken by Ashley Slessor Photography at Dahlia May Flower Farm in Trenton, ON, at a joint workshop with Minim Designs. July 2017