Since this is my first blog entry, I think I should tell you how my husband and I started Tiny Footprint Flowers. I’m the one who’s been gardening for years, but it was my husband Don who got our business launched.
For years it had been my Saturday morning ritual to go into the garden, pick some flowers, then make a couple of bouquets to add some color to our home. Except in the darkest days of winter, there were always flowers in my house. When I worked outside the home I brought flowers to my office, and later, when I started learning to be an artist, flowers were what I painted. Flowers were part of my life, but I thought of my garden as a nice little hobby.
All that changed last year when my husband had a bright idea. He was never a gardener, but he listened and helped as needed. He knew how to nod politely when I nattered on about new varieties of dahlias. He pitched in with extra muscle on big garden jobs like pruning the Cecile Brunner rose. When I chopped off sprinkler heads while weeding, he patiently repaired them. In spite of all that, it wasn’t his hobby or his interest.
But when I started sharing a few video clips and blog posts from a flower farmer, he apparently became interested. I didn’t think much about it until last November, when I showed him a short e-book about small acreage flower farms, written by Erin Benzakein of Floret flower farm. As soon as he read it, he said “I think we should do this.”
I was stunned. I had never considered growing to sell. But I realized that it made sense. I forgot to mention, up there in the first paragraph, that my nice little hobby involved time and money. A fair amount of money, to be honest. So why not offset the costs by selling flowers? I was going to work in the garden anyway, so why not make it pay? And deep down, a part of me was saying, “Yippee! Now I can buy MORE plants!”
So we did it—in January we completed the Floret online course and started planted baby seedlings in front of our house, in full view of all our neighbors. As we worked I kept thinking, “This better work or it’s gonna be embarrassing!”
Larkspur growing in a parking strip in front of our home - started in February, blooms in May.
By August there was no doubt that it was working. I was still making bouquets on Saturdays, but now we were selling them to subscription customers. Our front parking strip had become a conversation starter; people walking by often gave us a thumbs up or a shout of encouragement. Sometimes they stopped to ask questions, sometimes they patiently waited for their children to look at everything, and quite often they simply said “We love seeing what you’re doing – your flowers are beautiful!” And I count that as a big success.
Clockwise from top left: bouquet featuring zinnias, zinnias in our parking strip, more zinnias, bouquets of mixed fall flowers.