I’ll probably have many posts on this topic – the transition from gardening to professional flower farming. Gardening is something I’ve been doing all my adult life – you could say it was my hobby. My husband Don wasn’t much interested until I showed him books by Erin Benzakein, a flower farmer and owner of Floret Flowers. He suggested that we take her online course, and the next thing I knew, Tiny Footprint Flowers was a reality. Now we’re flower farmers (on a micro scale), and I’m finding out that it’s not the same as gardening.
The biggest difference is that things matter in a different way. I have to plan which flowers will grow in which bed, and the timing of all our flower crops. I make a calendar and I’m careful to seed and plant everything at the right time, because we’ll need to sell those blooms. When I was gardening, it didn’t matter much if I forgot to seed a few zinnias, but now it does.
I’m also more careful about making our blooms last a long time in the vase, When I was gardening for my own enjoyment, I could make a bouquet and simply go get more when the flowers faded. Now I’m careful about harvesting techniques that maximize vase life, because we want our customers to have flowers that don’t wilt overnight.
But the best difference is that instead of gardening alone, now I have a partner and customers who love our flowers. Things go wrong sometimes, but Don and I have a new saying: “That’s farming!” That’s what we said when all the tulips bloomed at ground level, on stems less than two inches, making them useless as cut flowers. That’s what we said when all the hellebore blossoms were ruined by aphids. And I’m sure we’ll say it again as the flower season goes along, but make no mistake – we love what we’re doing.