Saturday, September 17, 2016

What Our Flower Farm Means To Me



All summer I've been wanting to write a blog post about the flower farming business that my daughter and I have.  Every time I think about it, this thought comes to my mind:  "How would I describe why our flower business is so special to us"? And the words just evade me.





Because our flower stand is operated on the honor system, we don't always have much interaction with our customers, beyond Facebook and Email.  But this morning as we were tying the labels on our bouquets and putting them on the stand there were two things that happened.  A very beautiful and classy Southern lady drove up and got out of her car.  I smiled at her as she walked towards the flower stand and she said, "Good mornin' Darlin, 9:00 couldn't get here fast enough for me.  I've been drivn' around the country roads waitin' to see you come with the flowers.  Do you know how happy I am to see y'all?"  Honestly, my heart was just smiling.   I couldn't even think of what to say.  I actually wanted to just hug her.  Over her arm was a large basket and she carefully placed four jars of flowers in the basket and she was talking in that totally beautiful Southern drawl that I love so much.   She thanked us, put her money in the box and said "I'm so happy I finally got to meet y'all.  You make so many, many people in our community happy." And she got in her car, tooted the horn and drove off.  I stood there blinking back the tears.  It just meant so much.  




A few minutes later as I was finishing up filling the flower stand, another car drove up.  The lady in this car also got out with a basket - this one was more like a basket tray.  I smiled and told her good morning and she said these words, "Do y'all have any idea what a special service it is that you provide to this community"?   I said something about how much we love it and what it means to us to have customers that buy our flowers.  She proceeded to tell me that her daughter is in the hospital having a baby and when she told her she was going to go buy her some flowers her daughter said, "Momma, buy some of our flowers.  Don't buy flowers from the store or the florist".  And the lady explained to me that they consider the flowers my daughter and I grow as their flowers.   I felt like that was one of the greatest compliments we could receive.  I know I was smiling from ear to ear.





After these two incidents this morning, I finally felt like I could sit down and write what our flower farming means to me.




You cannot see our 1/3 acre of flowers from the small road where our flower stand sits.   If you know exactly where to look through the fields you can see the roof of our open work shed in the garden that our husbands built for us last summer.  But you cannot make out the plants or the blooming flowers.  So people have this assumption that our garden must be this amazingly beautiful place.  An English garden sort of beautiful.  But it is not.  It is a working garden.  Rows and rows of plants that get thoroughly picked every single day and magically bloom overnight to be picked again.  




A garden with grass that grows between the rows faster than our husbands can keep it mowed for us.  Weeds that take over when we have a super busy week and can't keep up with them.  Flowers that need dead headed so that they will continue to bloom.  




But the garden is the most beautiful place to us.  




It is the place where my grand-daughters play amongst the frogs, butterflies, caterpillars, bees and other bugs.  





The place where they are learning not only the names of all the flowers but how to cut and arrange them in jars all by themselves.




It is the place that my daughter and I talk about everything under the sun as we pick together, weed together, and arrange flowers together.  




It is the place that I go when I need to cry.  The place that has a healing that makes the troubles of life seem so insignificant.  The place that makes me happy, even when I'm on my knees in the dirt pulling weeds by hand, or stressing over the fact that all the sunflowers came up but the birds pulled them out one by one, or the caterpillars that are eating every zinnia bloom they can get their mouths on.  It is  still the happiest place on our farm! 



















The funny thing is that I don't get these feelings in my vegetable garden.  There is something about growing flowers that is so magical, it is actually beyond describable.




I love that even though my son-in-law has a full time, very busy job off the farm and my "retired" husband has a full time job keeping up with the farm, they love the flower garden as much as we do.  My husband does all the tilling and hilling for us.  He diligently gets a dump truck load of manure every week all summer and composts it for a year to spread and till into the soil in the spring.  They both mow, string trim and help us however we need it.  It truly is a special thing for the whole family!




By this time of the summer we are tired.  The plants are tired.  They are actually looking very rough around the edges but still they keep producing and we keep picking.  And even though meeting at the flower garden at daylight every day is starting to take a toll, the thought of the season coming to an end is very sad.




When we started this flower farming endeavor, we never dreamed what joy it would bring to us. We had no idea that growing flowers could be so complicated, yet so simple.   We were not prepared at all for the demand that our flowers would be and the stress that comes from trying to keep up with the demand; but the opposite side of that is the absolute reward that comes in providing something that brings utter joy to the person... so much so that they will drive out of their way to pick up a simple little jar of flowers.





We were not prepared for the kindness and honesty in people; the cards left with words of thankfulness and appreciation for our flowers.  The notes that say, "I didn't have money for flowers today but I'll be back tomorrow with my money" and they are.  The boxes of brand new jars left by an anonymous customer, with a note of gratitude.   The pictures shared with us on Facebook of parents teaching their little children to buy flowers for an elderly grandparent, or a Daddy bringing them to buy flowers for their Momma.  The letters that tell us they buy our flowers because they are the same flowers their grandmother grew and it brings back happy memories.



 I hope that I never forget what a special privilege it is to grow and provide flowers for such a wonderful little Tennessee community that has not only purchased flowers from us, but embraced our flower stand like it is a "place to go"!




Fall is coming and we will be wrapping up the season in a few short weeks and then we begin the next phase.  Going over our notes from the summer so that we can learn from mistakes we made this year.  Talking about changes that may improve our production and maybe make it a little less labor intensive.    And even though we will have a winter to rest, sleep in a bit, and not stress over the flowers... they will never be far from our minds.  And we'll be dreaming of another year of flowers.  



32 comments:

  1. Dori, I'm not surprised with your community enjoying your Gorgeous flowers with cards and jars. A very special corner to embrace fellowship with nature's bounty.
    I'm so happy you wrote this post.
    A family endeavor teaching your Granddaughters that from the sweat of your brow and working hands brings beauty and smiles to others:).
    Have a wonderful day, Kathleen in Az

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  2. This is just such a beautiful post! I love your business from afar. I can hardly imagine how much work it is, but what rewards!

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  3. I am in awe of your business. I have a black thumb but I do love flowers and enjoy our low maintenance deer free landscaped gardens that my husband tries to keep up with during his busiest season of the year.

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  4. What a blessing to be able to do something you love and share with others. Wish you lived close to me:) Happy Fall.

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  5. Loved reading this Dori! What a special blessing for you to share your photos, your heart and your story with your readers here. An inspiration!

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  6. Dori, your family has used your talents and hard work and given a gift to everyone in your community. In return, they have given you a beautiful part of themselves. It blooms in the form of bouquets of flowers placed in a humble vase. What a wonderful example of the kindnesses of humanity....
    You take care.

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  7. What a beautiful post. You community is so blessed to have your family providing this service. So glad that it is a reciprocal gift. Blessings to you all...

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  8. This post is beautiful as are your flowers. I would love to have a jar of them, but I don't think I can drive there to get them. Your community is truly blessed to have y'all there. Keep gardening and keep those beautiful flowers coming. I have been looking for something my daughters and I could do together.

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  9. Flowers bring joy, I wish I had a beautiful flower farm stand for such a reasonable price in our neighborhood, I would be a regular customer! Hard but beautiful work, but it must be the best feeling to have people tell you how much they enjoy your work :)

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  10. Thank you for sharing your adventure/work. How thrilling it must be for your customers to be able to buy these Heirloom flowers for only $5.00 a bundle. What a wonderful opportunity for you and your family!

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  11. Thank you for sharing your adventure/work. How thrilling it must be for your customers to be able to buy these Heirloom flowers for only $5.00 a bundle. What a wonderful opportunity for you and your family!

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  12. Dori, I just loved reading this. I had no idea of how labor intensive it is to provide this service. Incredible! A family working together is quite something in this day and age...what a blessing for everyone.

    All month long, since the zinnias and snapdragons came in, I have been picking up a $5 bouquet of flowers at my favorite spot on the hill. They last for about a week and then I need more. Must have my color fix. They have made me think of you and your darling stand, too.

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  13. This just makes my heart burst (all the while wishing I/my daughter could do the same - together).
    Having just spent 10 days in 'the south' I fell in love with the countryside and the friendly people. The y'alls aren't put on. It's language, pure and simple.
    In my next life, I plan to live in the south. Perhaps we'll be neighbors?

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  14. I've been reading and appreciating your blog for a long time, but this is the first time I've commented. Like you, I love flowers and have been hoping for a post about your wonderful flower stand. What a great gift to your granddaughters especially and to your whole community, and how marvellous that you have such appreciative customers! I would be one also if I didn't live so far away - but thank you so much for this post and allowing us to share the joy your flowers bring.

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  15. I enjoyed this post so much! What a joy your business must bring to you and others...thanks for sharing!

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  16. I think your flowers are so beautiful! They must thrive on the sound of your laughter, the joy and love you share together in the garden. Maybe watered with some tears once in a while helps them bloom more abundantly! Being part of a community this way is so special. It reminded me of my years at the store. The connecting, and how even now these many years later eyes meet mine and the message comes "thank-you for sharing,it was a special time."

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  17. This post made me smile, cry a tear, and be thankful for the instructions you gave me for my itty bitty plot of flowers which also bring me great joy!

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  18. I loved reading about your beautiful flower business πŸ’ So special.

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  19. What you do is so special! The connection you share with your daughter and granddaughters, the lucky people that buy your beautiful flowers! What you do is extraordinary :)

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  20. Dori and Andrea
    Just reading this brought tears and joy to my heart.. Oh how I wish I lived close because I would be a frequent customer. Beautiful flowers by Beautiful ladies.. Life is good..

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  21. ~smile~
    That's what you give.
    JOY, grace, beauty, kindness.

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  22. Would you mind sharing some of the varieties of flowers that you plant each year? My daughters would love to have a flower garden (on a much smaller scale). But I need some tips! :) Thanks!

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    1. We plant all Heirloom varieties and tend to stick with the flowers that do well in heat and draught. Those tend to be sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, marigolds! Lots of varieties of each of those!

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  23. Beautiful post of words and flowers....

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  24. This is simply lovely! What a wonderful post. Your flowers are beautiful. I wish I lived close enough to buy them for our home.

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  25. Dori- This is the most beautiful and heartfelt account of your lovely flower business. How wonderful that your family's efforts brings joy to so many people !! Thank- you for sharing how this flower passion has ended up being a blessing that almost defies words to describe it. I am currently here in York, England and as the Brits would say, "it is absolutely lovely!"

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  26. Dori....this made me cry. I understand all your thoughts because you know I have done this for nearly 20 years. It is hard work and very time consuming but the joy and the smiles...oh the smiles, they make it so worth it! God has blessed you and your daughter with a talent and a passion to spread love and happiness through one of His amazing gifts to us...flowers. Keep up the great work, rest a while and I assure you...He will renew your spirit to want to do it all over again next year. You inspire us all!

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  27. I saw you on Instagram and hoped that you were a blogger. I NEEDED to know more about you-the-Maker. I was not disappointed!!! Your story captivates me and resonates with many of the same elements that I create! And, we both got new Juki machines.

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  28. This is so awesome...I understand the love of flowers. My husband's grandmother had beautiful flower beds of roses and other flowers in her yard. She also had a large greenhouse full of orchids. Every Saturday, she made a beautiful bouquet to place in her church. That was her gift. She did it with such love and care. Thank you for sharing your story. Your flowers are beautiful!

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  29. Dori I have read your blog and your daughters too. I am not great with comments and plan to try harder at that. I loved your story of meeting your clients. It was so special. I have just retired and I have taken the summer off from blogging but need to get my mojo back. Deb Bosworth had inspired me with her beautiful Dahlias. I put 80 tubers in this year, then had knee replacement surgery. I planted some zinnias, queen annes lace, marigolds, never got to the sunflowers I have lots of perennials too. Anyway I was cutting and giving my flowers away and next thing I know I have people stopping and asking for flowers, Your story has been a little bit of a lightbulb moment and I may just put a small stand out next summer. Our lot is just under 2 ac., but has lots of trees so we will see. All of you ladies are such an inspiration! I love your posts and sewing too!

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