On October 17th and 18th Pam Mountain and I traveled to Philadelphia to the farm of flower designer Jennie Love to participate in a two-day flower farming workshop entitled The Seasonal Bouquet Project. We were lucky to be attending – the workshop had sold out three times over, and the high-demand women who organized it had added multiple series of workshops to meet the overwhelming interest.
This coveted workshop was the collaboration of Erin Benzakein of Floret, outside of Seattle, and Jennie Love ofLove’n Fresh Flowers in Philadelphia, and focused on cut flower production and design work. As the demand for local, organically grown, and seasonal flowers grows, so does the integration of two historically distinct fields: florists and flower designers on the one hand, and growers on the other. When flowers are grown in Holland or Argentina and shipped to US supermarkets and florists, it’s hard to imagine a merging of these worlds; but for many of the new grower-designers on the scene, exotic flowers don’t hold the appeal of wild natives and fresh field-grown flowers.
We wanted to learn more about this movement towards local, sustainably-grown flowers, and attended with two thing in mind: how do we encourage the growing interest in seasonal and local flowers, and, most importantly, how can we grow even more stunning flowers next year? From the wealth of advice offered by Erin and Jennie we’ve come away with a few bright ideas. Here’s a preview of what’s in store for 2014:
Floral Portfolio: Look forward to a photographic portfolio of our flower design work to be added to the website next year, with the ability to order floral packages for events and holidys.
Tulip Trials: Tulips for mother’s day and Easter!? They may not be far away, as we set up bulb crate tulip variety trials for 2014, with field plantings to follow in 2015.
Greenhouse Production Trials: Look forward to hoop-house and greenhouse plantings of sweet peas, Icelandic poppies, lisianthus, and oh-so-many dahlias! While we’ve perhaps missed the boat on ranunculus and anenomes for this year, I have great hopes of new plantings of both for 2015.
Alliums: Everyone loves the stunning flowers of allium family! We are doing a mass planting this fall of three beautiful new varieties.
(Words: Brenna Chase)