As someone who claims to love plants as much as I do, it might be surprising to know that I didn’t really think about my wedding flowers until a couple weeks before the big day.
But, I’m a girl of simple tastes. The ceremony was in the Logan Temple, which meant I didn’t need to think about decorating in there; my in-laws said they’d take care of the luncheon, and I was more than happy to let them handle it (and they did an excellent job, I might add); and we had an outdoor reception/celebration that evening at an outdoors venue (read: a park). I feel like the outdoors can generally speak for themselves, so didn’t feel the need to have flowers there. But then I realized I did in fact want a bouquet; even if I wasn’t planning on the traditional tossing of it. One of the professors I work with suggested I make a weed bouquet, since that would only be fitting, and started listing off species that would be flowering: musk thistle, chicory, teasel, maybe some burdock.
Once I decided that I needed a bouquet, I called up the family friend who had made my sister’s, and we started talking about flowers and styles. The day we met with the florist, I knew exactly what I wanted: white gladiolus, white button mums, blue/purple larkspur, and because it is considered a weed by some, blue bachelors buttons, just for fun. As I was naming off the flowers I wanted, the florist kept saying “yep, that’s in season” and I kept thinking “I know. That’s why I want it.” As I left I thought, “I could have grown these myself! Why didn’t I think of that earlier?”
Later that day I googled “flower farming” and stumbled across the Floret website and blog and was floored. The fact that there was a slow flower/local flower movement happening, similar to the slow/local food movement was a revelation to me. There were people, here in the United States, growing flowers on small scales and being very successful at it.
The thought “I can do that” was very quickly followed by “I don’t have land” and “would there even be a market for locally grown cut flowers here where I live?” Because I was getting married in just a few weeks, I didn’t put much more thought into it at the time, except that I became a Floret blog stalker. And then I found other, similar, flower farming blogs. And books. And over the winter my new husband and I started talking about “what ifs”. What if I could use some of my grandpa’s garden space? What if I tried selling flowers at the farmers market? What if people by them? He was very supportive and encouraging and before I knew it I was poring over seed catalogs and signing up for farmers markets (yes, plural).
We had an unusually warm early spring, so I started planting! I don’t think there is anything quite as exciting as planting a seed and waiting and watching for it to come up. Over the next few weeks we weeded, we waited, we planted some more, we watched the first few planting a get eaten by insects, we planted some more, waited for plants to germinate that never did, weeded and planted some more.
And then they started blooming! First one, and then a couple more, and a few more after that. Due to weather, insects, and seed that never came up for who knows what reason, I may not ever have enough all blooming at once this summer to justify the farmers market fees.
On the outset, that could appear to be a “flower farming” failure. But, on closer inspection, it’s been a learning lab. I’ve learned first-hand about planting requirements for certain varieties. I’ve learned the best time to harvest zinnias for the longest vase life. I’ve enjoyed fresh flowers in my kitchen, my bedroom, and my office, and have seen the smiles of neighbors when I’ve shared the extras with them.
I’m not giving up the idea of one day having a flower “farm”, but in the mean time, I think I’ll have to be content with calling it a “cutting garden” instead.