But We Get To Work In Flowers!

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Happy Summer to all my Farmgirl Sisters!
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I think it is safe to say that my daughter and I are thick into flower season!  Every day when we meet in the flower garden to work in our flowers we talk about how lucky we are and how much we love it.  And we also talk about the work involved and the balancing act that we juggle every day when we place the flowers on our cart and then walk away from it.  The demand for our flowers is great, we sell out fast, and we get a lot of messages from people wondering if we could make one more bouquet!  It takes a lot of will power to just sweetly tell people there will more bouquets the next day at 9:00! (We do bend the rules sometimes though!)

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I thought you might enjoy a little behind the scenes details about our garden and what goes on when we walk through this gate.  Come on in and visit!

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Our garden is actually a large fenced off pasture that we all contribute to making it the best we can.  My daughter and I do have help from our husbands when we need it but the majority of the work falls to us and we definitely begin to feel it about now!  Because it is very important to us we farm organically so we do not use any pesticides or herbicides.  We also have bees on our farm that spend their days in the garden, so we try to never use anything that would be harmful to them.  Sometimes you will find us picking off Japanese beetles by hand!

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We like our rows very wide so there is plenty of room to work as well as room for the riding mower to fit.  It also makes for a very clean and neat garden.  We’ve talked every year about ways to keep the weeds down and we always come back to this… wide rows where we can mow!  Once the plants get to a nice height they mostly choke out the weeds and that helps us a lot.

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Our garden is planted in segments so that when we are picking flowers each morning we can focus on one area at a time and that helps us not feel like we are running our legs to death!  We have several very long rows of heirloom sunflowers in this section.  These are the sunflowers that keep blooming and we keep cutting.  They are shorter stemmed and work beautifully in our bouquets.

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While we are cutting from the section of blooming sunflowers, there is another section of the garden where we have a second and third planting of sunflowers just getting started.  The plan is that if we time it just right we never have to be without sunflowers, as they are a favorite for all our customers.  Unfortunately timing is everything and we never manage to hit is exactly right!

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The same goes with the heirloom Zinnias… we have numerous very long rows of tall blooming zinnias but whole other rows of different stages of zinnias.  Zinnias are that miracle plant that the more you cut the flowers, the more they bloom.  They are a favorite for our customers who say “these are the flowers my grandmother grew”.  We love them.

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We have other things growing in our garden that we use in the bouquets and it is always a challenge on what works best, what to try next year, what was a success and we never want to be without.  And also plants we’ve grow that simple do not work in our climate.

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We start picking early every morning before it gets too hot.  This is when we really laugh because if you read magazine articles about flower farming, you usually see beautiful women in the flowers with straw hats and darling clothes.  But the real truth is that it is hot, dirty work.  We wear our oldest farm clothes, rubber boots and ball caps.  There is nothing pretty about it!

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Our husbands built us the most amazing work room in the middle of the garden.  I sewed drop cloths for curtains that we actually use when the sun is really bright.  We have two long tables where we do all our flower arranging.  It’s a great work station that we are so thankful to have.

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We have two little helpers that are getting better and better each year at picking and arranging.  When we started flower farming 5 years ago, my youngest grand-girl was only 2 so she has literally grown up in the garden.  They are a great help to us!

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We make all our bouquets in glass canning jars.  We each work with our own bouquets and have a system for making them fairly quickly.

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They are so incredibly beautiful as they get lined up on a large electrical spool we keep in our work station.

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Once we have them all made we load up these amazing wooden boxes with the bouquets and we begin the job of transporting them to our flower stand where we sell them.

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We couldn’t do it without our trusty Ranger!

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We drive across the pasture to our flower cart and this is where we tag each bouquet with our beautiful labels and place them on the stand.

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The little girls love this part of it!  Oftentimes we have a line of people waiting for us to drive up with the flowers and they are visiting as we are tagging and getting the flower cart filled up.  It can be a little stressful when the flowers are selling right out of hands!  It’s a good problem to have though!

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We also take reservations and have a separate area on the back of the cart for the reserved bouquets.  These require a little extra work and are labeled for the reserved party.

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We love how many happy customers we have and how even though it is some of the hardest work we’ve ever done, we get to work in flowers!

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Thank you for visiting our garden today!  I hope there is somewhere close to you where you can buy fresh, local flowers!  They are worth it!

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Until our gravel roads cross again… so long.

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Dori

 

Leave a comment 21 Comments

  1. Connie Hester says:

    Gorgeous! :)

  2. Diann says:

    That is so awesome! Flowers are my happy place. Thank you for sharing

  3. Cyndie Gray says:

    Once again, my friend, I am so wishing I could pop in for a fresh flower bouquet! They are gorgeous! Thanks so much for taking us along today :)

  4. Patty says:

    Hi Dori,
    I love your posts!!
    Do you have to buy the jars all the time or do some customers return them to be reused? Thank you for sharing your garden with us!!
    Hugs,
    Patty

  5. Carol says:

    Dori … I love this post. It’s so awesome that 3 generations of women are working together … and with flowers! The photographs are amazing and your customers are lucky to have you! Continued good luck with your flower business! Carol

  6. Jana says:

    Sounds like a wonderful way to spend sunny summer days! If I lived close by I too would be one of your faithful customers.

  7. Donna Kozak says:

    Oh, you are lucky – working with your family surrounded with beautiful flowers – hard work but so rewarding !!

  8. Patti Munn says:

    I have been following you and your daughters blogs for a while. I live outside of Richmond VA.

    I am very interested in Flower Farming. I have been reading the flower farming books. I was so excited to see your new post on the flowers progress this year. They look so beautiful. My plan is to have a flower garden on a smaller scale for next year.

    How many flowers do you put in a $5 jar to sell? Any tips, you care to share, would make me extremely happy if you have time.

    Thanks so much for sharing your garden. I LOVE IT!!!!!!

    Patti
    Patricia.anne@comcast.net

  9. Myra says:

    Love your beautiful flowers in Mason Jars!

  10. Marlene Capelle says:

    You really are lucky. I’ve followed you from the beginning and all your hard work is really paying off. Good on you.

  11. Sandi says:

    Oh, Dori, I love this post and all those beautiful flowers. There isn’t anyone I know of in my area that does this. So glad that you do and you post the pictures also. I love to see flowers growing in a field more than flowers in a bouquet, but I know bouquets are nice too. Just hate to watch them wither and die. You have such a wonderful variety of colors and flowers and I know your customers really appreciate what you all do.

  12. Bonnie B says:

    Thanks, Dori, for the behind the scenes tour. Your flowers are so lovely and contain some favorites – sunflowers and zinnias. The colors in your bouquets are amazing! It has to be rewarding despite the had work.I want to thank you for your dishcloth pattern. I bet I have made dozens of them. It’s such an easy thing to pick up in the evening and relaxing too. Many of my friends and my daughters and grands have received them and love them.

  13. Marilyn says:

    Those flowers are gorgeous. The colors are so vibrant. Your granddaughters are beautiful and such good helpers. God Bless you and yours.
    Marilyn

  14. Michele D Yates says:

    So beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Laurie Zaporzan says:

    A lovely family business that brings so much happiness to many, I wish we had an operation like yours near us!! Thank you for sharing!

  16. Judy from Maine says:

    What a lovely post, I wish I was closer so that I could become one of your customers…I can see why you have so many.

  17. Jamie says:

    I love this article! Made my day. I, too, grow flowers and herbs and sell. I make herbal soaps out of them. I even grow cotton for an addition to my bouquets. I love your setup. It just made me feel good to read about the girls helping. Wow! Amazing place!!!

  18. Rene Comer says:

    You’re flower garden is absolutely beautiful!

  19. Joan says:

    Tennessee is so fortunate to have y’all to make it even more beautiful and friendly. Your flowers/arrangements are spectacular. God bless.

  20. Ann says:

    Just love these flowers and wish I had a bouquet! What a lovely generational activity to enjoy with your family.

  21. Beverley Doolittle says:

    Beautiful flowers.

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