Flower farming is a beautiful mess
Encouragement To Grow On
As flower professionals, as entrepreneurs, as dreamers, and as human beings we all need encouragement from each another. We need others to let their guard down and bring us into the depths of their hearts and lives. In this article, I’m going to be real and vulnerable with you with the hope that you will walk away encouraged and motivated to continue pursuing your passion.
One of the most humbling careers you could ever pursue is farming. No matter how much you do to make everything go the way you planned, there will always be something that is out of your control — but that makes success so much sweeter.
Last year was my first official growing season as a professional flower farmer. I have previous work experience as a floral designer and working on a farm that grows cut flowers. However, this was the first time I experienced it all on my own. I was full of fear and anxiety that I would fail. In some areas, I did “fail.”
One of my favorite comments from a farmer’s market customer was “your garden must be beautiful!” I chuckled and replied, “nope, all of its beauty is right here.” The truth was my garden looked ugly. The beauty that it did have was cut and put into buckets to sell. The weeds grew faster than I could pull them. The winds destroyed my small hoop house. Some flowers never bloomed, but many did. Mid-July I hit a wall. It was HOT! Farmer’s Market was SLOW — like ten customers slow! I was losing sight of my why and failure was creeping in.
However, this was a blessing. The “failures” as a flower farmer or a florist may be greater opportunities just about to happen. After standing at a farmer’s market in 100°F for five hours and selling next to nothing, I decided to take a risk I had always planned on taking but was always too fearful. I approached my first florist. It was a little awkward. I was clumsy with my words. She was a little unsure, but she was gracious. I can not tell you how satisfying it was to drive in my air conditioned van, drop off everything I had cut the day before and put money in the bank. It was also refreshing to sell to someone who already knew and appreciated the value of flowers. That day was a game changer for me. It revived my drive and gave me purpose. It gave me the courage to seek out more florists and began a valuable relationship with a fellow flower lover.
This is a Bells of Ireland seedling. To my dismay I could not get these little guys to germinate and thrive.
These snapdragons thrived this year are gave me strength when other flowers failed.
I learned that I don’t always have to be the star on the stage selling directly to the end customer. Knowing I contributed to the beauty of a finished product is just as satisfying.
Cutting gardens aren’t always that pretty. They aren’t artistically landscaped, and more often than not, the blooms are picked right before they pop open to increase the vase life and freshness. It makes your heart flutter when you pick the perfect, spotless dahlia and flutter even more when someone else marvels at it with you (and pays you for it). Farming is hard. Farming is a wonder. If you are a flower farmer, or have a cutting garden, or want to start a cutting garden — know that you will fail, but you will succeed too. There is a great strength in letting go of control and embracing the crazy, beautiful mess that is flower farming. If you’re tired and discouraged, don’t stop. The world needs all the beauty it can get.