Julio Freitas of The Flower Hat

Kelly Perry - 00:01 - You are listening to the Team Flower Podcast where we talk about flowers with people who've dedicated their lives to sharing them with the world. We believe that your work with flowers matters and we're cheering each of you on. Hi, my name's Kelly, and today we're talking with Julio from The Flower Hat. He's a flower farmer and floral designer located in Bozeman, Montana, with work featured in numerous publications. Julio credits a successful career, does unique style of floral design. I think we're freaks of locally grown flowers in forest botanical elements. In this episode, we're talking about the story behind the hat, the beginnings of the farm, and our shared love for dahlias and daffodils, Julio Freitas about common challenges for growing cut flowers, how he start seeds and his favorite staple flowers. You'll find it all here in more on the team flower podcast. 

Kelly Perry - 00:51 - This podcast is brought to you by team flower and online support community dedicated to educating, connecting and empowering flower livers worldwide. We provide online classes, in person events and free weekly resources designed to support you in your journey with flowers, whether you're professional florists, flower farmer, or simply love flowers there's space for you here. Come join the party at teamflower.org. Julio, welcome to the podcast. It's so good. Great to have you here. Today we're going to talk about flowers and farming and all of the. Maybe maybe we could even talk about flower photos just for a second because as you know, I need a little bit of help with my bundle. 

Julio Freitas - 01:37 - Hi Kelly. Thank you. Thank you for having me. This is awesome. I'm so excited to be here. 

Kelly Perry - 01:41 - Oh, well tell us, um, tell us a little bit about The Flower Hat in Bozeman, Montana, what you offer. Um, and yeah, we'll just go from there. 

Julio Freitas - 01:51 - Alright. Well, I. My name is Julio. It's pronounced a hard Jay. So it's Julio Freitas. I am the owner and floral designer at The Flower Hat. We wear a floral design company located in the beautiful Bozeman, Montana. I love it here. I love the mountains. Don't love the winters nearly as much, but this is a great location for destination weddings because we are about an hour away from Yellowstone Park. A lot of people from warmer areas have second homes here, so when their kids get older and you know, they have all these childhood memories of growing up coming to Montana, so when they get engaged with their first place of choice as Montana. So we do a lot of those weddings here. Um, we're a floral design company, but we also grew a couple of years ago into the flower farming side of the business. We were having a few issues with the logistics of having flowers shipped into Montana and wanted to bring some flowers that were very hard to find and hard to ship. 

Julio Freitas - 03:06 - So, um, you know, a lot of flowers like cosmos, chocolate cosmos even dahlias, as we were having such a hard time getting great quality product for our clients that we decided to grow our own. And then from that stamped another, what I call department into our business, which is just share that beauty that we grow from our garden with our customers all over the country through sales of tubers. Dahlia tubers in the spring, and then fall bulbs in the fall. And we also sell flower hats every season and then we do small workshops in our studio as well. Um, and yeah, I think that's a little bit about Bozeman and the flower hat and we have a lot of people ask me how the flower hat became a thing. And I can tell you that story a little bit because I always find it that it's a curious story too. 

Julio Freitas - 04:01 - And you know, some people just don't know where it came from. But um, back when I started doing weddings, you know, like you have done weddings, it's in the summer and you're hot and you're sweating and I'll put, I would wear these hats that had a flower pattern pattern on them. And at that time we were operating under Kurt & Company, which was interior design brand. And when we added the flowers to it, we just did it all under one umbrella. So that's. And I just had these hats and I would wear them and brides would always ask me like, oh, what can I have, are you going to wear for my wedding? 

Julio Freitas - 04:42 - And I then I had to have a collection of hats because the same bride, can I have the same hat and a different bride could I have to say that. So, uh, but the interior design business started growing a lot too quickly. Um, eventually we expanded into, you know, remodels and cabinets and tile and I would have a bridal consultation in our studio and they would walk in and they walk right back out because it wasn't a floral studio like people have come to know them. And when the time came to rebrand, like it was just a really odd mix in the beginning we thought it would make sense. So from a marketing standpoint, it was very confusing to convey that, you know, we remodeled homes and wooden flowers for weddings. So we decided just to separate the business. And then when the time came to rename it, the first thing that I thought of was The Flower Hat because it just made sense. 

Julio Freitas - 05:34 - And I was like, well that's not, that's not cool enough. You know, I wanted to have like, I dunno, like sage and lavender or you know, poppy and something else, you know, one of those two names and you know, I just remember writing like page after page after page of just brainstorming names and nothing stuck and I just could not believe how hard it was to name my business and then after a lot of headache and just frustration like oh I need a name for my business. I just went back to the flower hat and I'm the domain was available Instagram and all social media handles and available and I just kinda took that as the sign from the universe that that was the right direction. And as soon as I moved through The Flower Hat like, it was just such a, a seamless transition because I was already known for wearing flower hats. So you know, it just kind of seemed like it was. That's what it's always had always been. And it was, it was pretty easy. I am very thankful for that because marketing campaigns can be quite hard to transition to our from. 

Kelly Perry - 06:34 - Yeah. Well, especially whenever you're shifting from that kind of a, from interior design into the flower world and that whole piece, but I love that you went back with something that you knew had resonated with clients in the past and that was unique to you. I think that that is a really smart move. 

Julio Freitas - 06:54 - Yeah. And in and I still had after that I still have brides that would ask me what kind of hat, which hat are you going to wear for my wedding. So we decided to stick with it and you know, it's, it's become a thing now The Flower Hat is a brand and you know, I'm very proud of what it's become over the years. 

Kelly Perry - 07:13 - Yeah, absolutely. All the different departments that have gotten out of, I love that you called it, you called it like a department in one of those departments. Is the flower farm in that whole piece of it? Um, you want to talk about that for a little bit? 

Julio Freitas - 07:28 - Yeah. So, um, again, like we were trying to, we're trying to figure out a way that we could combine a great quality flowers with, you know, variety is that would make her arrangements stand out because I felt like I've, I've always searched for the different and for the unique and for the, you know, the things that are going to set me apart because we can all get flowers from a wholesaler and um, you know, obviously we're going to put him differently, but I just wanted to find a way to add like that edge of, you know, something that other florists would and habit and it's not necessarily that I'm trying to be better, it's just because I felt like I could bring something different to the table and that was the way that I found most through flower farming.

Kelly Perry - 08:15 - So your land like did you, is it close to where your studio is or what is your land situation look like? 

Julio Freitas - 08:23 - So real estate in Bozeman is very expensive right now. We don't own a farm. So when I started, I was growing flowers and I'm not ashamed to admit this, but there is a drain field behind our studio and I asked my landlord if I could grow flowers on it because nothing could go on it because you know, of the infrastructure. And he said, yeah, that's fine. So it was a 30 by 60 plot, which to me and maths that I could have five, four foot by 60 foot long beds and coming from nothing. That was a lot. That was our first summer. It was so crazy. We just had so many flowers already. It was very hard to keep up with that one tiny plot. But um, so that was, that's where we started. In fact, we started a little bit smaller. It was just like one bad was 20 feet long, but then that was the big quote unquote the big one, the big move for us. 

Julio Freitas - 09:20 - So, um, I'm, I'm a firm believer that once you start putting that out there, you know, the universe starts to answer your questions and I just kept thinking like, okay, if I can do this, if this was my test to garden on a 1800 square feet back and now I can make it bigger, like I can standardize some processes and just make it easier but bigger. Yeah. So I kept, I kept putting it out there like I need more land, I need more land. So then there was one flower farmer, then I buy flowers from. Um, and she, I asked her if she had any land on her property. She said, no I don't, but I know this one person that used to be a flower farmer and you should go talk to her. So this person just happened to literally be down the road from my studio and I will, I walk up to her last spring, I think it was like March of last year. 

Julio Freitas - 10:08 - And I walk up to her door. She just happened to be home and she has a full time job. She just happened to be home that day. I walk up to her door, like I mustered up the energy and the courage to go do it with a little mason jar full of daffodils and I asked her if I could grow flowers on her land because somebody had told me that I should ask her this. She had this big smile on her face and she's like, yeah, let's talk. So and then the rest is history. So we, we, we ended up leasing land from her and it turned out to be a great partnership. So, so, so then that was like an eighth of an acre and then, and we never let go of our drain field. That's still, that's still going. We're still harvesting and growing on that. And then I looked at that other plot and they said, okay, now I can make this bigger. So I asked them for more land, so now we're doubling our space. So now we're on a full on quarter acre that we're growing flowers on. 

Julio Freitas - 11:10 - So our first, the very first time we started, it was just zinnias and anemones, but it was like the cheaper anemones that you find at the, you know, the hardware store, they are never tall enough for, for floral design. I had some dahlias, but the dahlias were just awful. They're just a really short ones that I had no idea. I just, I just wanted to see what would grow that first season. Um, you know, I don't, I, I just, I wanted to go with the easy very at that that year we had 46, 45 weddings, so I really didn't have a whole lot of time to dedicate to it and it was just mostly me and one part time assistant, so I didn't have a whole lot of time to dedicate to it. So. But that, that's, that's where we started in the. Everything grew fine and bloom, but they had to fight a lot. It's true to thrive because again, I didn't have time to go out there. We'd, we had a lot of pressure. Um, and then from there, from there, that's why I expanded. I said, okay, so now how can we make this better because now I know a couple of things, at least that will grow. 

Kelly Perry - 12:13 - Financial support for the production of this podcast is brought to you by team flowers, foundations for growing cut flowers online course. This class is designed to help you start your growing journey on solid footing. This class is perfect for beginners or those who have tried growing flowers before, but haven't been successful yet. People aren't born with a green thumb. It's something you have to cultivate In this class, you'll learn how to set up your space for seed germination and care will demonstrate planting and watering so you can be confident you're doing it just right. You'll be guided through an entire year in the life of a cut flower grower and Lauren tried and true principles to take the steps from seed to bloom and beyond whether you'd like to start a career in growing specialty, cut flowers, or would just like to look at beautiful blooms in your garden. You are welcome here. If you're ready to experience the magic of growing your own flowers, you can learn more today at teamflower.org/online. 

Kelly Perry - 13:06 - Mm. Yeah, that's good. Like you were saying, I feel like that first year whenever you start something good, the grass pressure is more intense, but I feel like the more, the more and more organic matter you're adding to it, the better and better it gets. Like the first year that I had the raised beds outside, it was horrible. It was like in the weeds were they? I mean it was just, it was incredible. But this winter, whenever I went out to get everything started, there was like maybe a one by one like this very small little patch of weeds like after making sure I marched, um, why did some compost down in the fall? And I feel like that, that really helped a lot with that, that weed pressure. But yeah, there's a lot going on and it's, Oh, it's a lot to keep track of for sure. But anyway, just in case if you happen to have a lot of grass pressure or maybe you still have terrible grasp pressure, what are your, what are your thoughts on it? 

Julio Freitas - 13:57 - It is, it is. Uh, it is, uh, it's, it's an ongoing fight and I think the first. Well, but no, but like you said, it gets better year over year. So the first year it was really tough, like we were harvesting our dahlia tubers and they were grass blades running through the tubers, like so many of them they are, so they're, they're very invasive. But that first year was tough and then the second year it got a little bit better. And now we're in our third year and we can, we, it's, it's, it's almost a grasp for you. I'm not going to say it is because it's not, but over the years we've been able to, we tell, you know, I felt like that was one of the ways it could just break up those grass clumps. So we just removed the clumps as we go. Um, and I felt like that helped a lot. 

Julio Freitas - 14:42 - We tried covering the whole field with cardboard so we would present the light from hitting the grass and you know, we thought that that could kill the grass, but we have horrible side effects with that because then we just literally gave an 1800 square foot home for a million volts and they came in. They were everywhere. We're still fighting them. So last summer we fought them a little bit and then this winter they came back full force. So we're still fighting that. So one thing led to another. But I feel like both our goals, both of those are under control now. You don't know these things until you try it. 

Kelly Perry - 15:20 - You don't really dome and there's so. There's so many things, so many hesitations in so many fears and like even getting something started. I mean I was so I like the, the fear was like palatable to start a seed and to put the stuff in the container because it was just like, oh, I just don't know. I just don't know. And you know, I was just like, good grief Kelly. Like this is not, this is not that serious. Like, just try it and see what happens. And you know, the first, of course, the first wave of them, I had them in the wrong kind of like seed starting container and all the moisture was linked to the end and you know, they all just crashed over. But, but there was a nice lady who emailed me, named Kathleen and said, Hey Kelly, that's gonna fail. Um, so let me what to do now so that when it does fail, this will be that you'll be ready. You'll still have plants. And I'm so thankful for her. I'm so thankful for the honesty. I was just like, thank you. I'm so glad there's somebody out there looking out. 

Kelly Perry - 16:14 - But um, yeah, like at some point we've just got to, at some point we've just got to say, all right, well let's try it. And you know, I felt the same. This is so hilarious. But I was um, I've never had anybody to teach me in the how did you make, how did do my makeup before? Which is has nothing to do with like it has nothing to do with flowers. But I remember going into like a makeup forever, you know, store and just being like, Hey, could you show me like how to use this step or whatever. And so they would do like half your face and then they would have like the other half of your face. You would have to like copy what they did. Then, I mean, I'm a, I'm a grown person and I'm like, Ooh, I'm not sure, like I'm not sure if I'm doing it right to ask so many questions. And I was just like, good grief. Like, you know, there's this, there's this fear that we have some type of, at least I do about trying new things and like not being successful at it quick enough or whatever. 

Kelly Perry - 17:06 - And um, we just got to try stuff because there could be, there's opportunities in the world that we might never realized that that happened in most things in life. Don't just like happen naturally. It takes time. So it's good to. It's good to just, yeah, give ourselves permission to have a little bit of time to get rid of the grass and the moles and the crooked eye lashes. 

Julio Freitas - 17:31 - I mean, I know, I know you're appointed because we're talking about. I feel like if you stick with it long enough, eventually you'll make it great, you know, like, and I feel like that's my, that's my motto with everything that we do. You like you putting makeup on and like farming and sticking with flora design like oh I can't figure out how to make the centerpiece. I'm like if you stick, if you keep trying long enough you will figure out how to make it work. But if anyone is out it's. Yeah. And it's not, it's not instant gratification when it comes to farming. You know you only have one spring a year and if you miss spring, you're just going to wait until next year and you're going to do it again next year and it's going to be fine. So if anyone out there is willing to give it a try, don't, don't be afraid. Don't be scared. You're going to mess up. 

Julio Freitas - 18:18 - Like I just lost, I just saw that we lost 15 of our chocolate cosmos because we forgot to water them one day and it's like, oh, okay, one mistake that we made in the spring and I was going to affect us for being tire season, but guess what, there's another year coming up, so we're going to do it differently next year. Make sure we have a better watering schedule, the only because we just can't afford to lose it. But these things are gonna happen. But with all these failures, there's so many other successes that you can look forward to. Uh, but if, if anyone is just starting like, just put the seeds in the ground, you'll be fine. You're going to have so much joy from that one thing that you planted because um, I was reading a post from Grace Rose farm and she was talking about transplanting all her rose bushes from the old farm to her new farm, which looks like a dream and she is just going to text me about that comment. 

Kelly Perry - 18:18 - It was just like we're sweating. 

Julio Freitas - 19:15 - Yes, exactly. She said, you know, she was saying in the post how she was so afraid that she was going to lose so many of the rose bushes, but you know, her final thought was she didn't lose any because those plants are so willing to survive, you know, and I feel like farming is the same way. The plants are so willing to survive, like just give them a little bit of love and they will come up and they will grow and they will blow them and then you will harvest them and then you're going to keep harvesting them. So just kept the seed in the ground. It's totally fine. And then you figured out a way to do it better, but for now just get started. 

Kelly Perry - 19:47 - I think it's so interesting. I mean it was mesmerizing to me that really in a relatively short period of time, it goes from being this teeny tiny little thing in a packet that looks like dirt to being this like, you know, for me, I think my seniors were about four foot four feet tall that year and it was just, it was like, what on earth? Like it, it just takes like a couple of months, but the, it feels as it's happening, it just feels so, like impossible or something. And Jesse has this little saying where it's like we under, we overestimate what we can accomplish in a day and we underestimate what we can accomplish in a year or five years or things like that. And um, I think yeah, that's really one of the big things in like accomplishing. 

Kelly Perry - 20:30 - If you have big dreams in your heart, I think that it's just the, the patient, the more you can develop patients in your life, I feel like the more likely it will be that you will actually see that thing that you have in your heart be accomplished and then be in a place where, oh, it's time for me to dream a new dream, go a lot quicker than I sort of. I thought it would take my whole life to do better. You know what I mean? Yeah. Just like patients and like those steady steps and yeah, it's just, it's so good. And it's. So I'm just so thankful that you're here and you know, sharing, you know, that part of your story and things that you're learning. Anything else that you feel like is a major. So we've so far gathered that the regular watering schedule is a major do and the putting cardboard down in attracting. Yeah, a mobile factory is adult. Um, what other. Do you have any other little little bits that you want to toss in before we move on to the next, um, the next talking topic? 

Julio Freitas - 21:35 - Well, I would say if, if I've learned anything in this journey is that you can never over educate yourself. Um, I have, you know, since I started, I actually don't remember how I found out about the association, but since I started farming, I think I was one of the very first things I did was to join the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers and you just meet so many people. I just remember arriving in Grand Rapids was my first big conference. 

Kelly Perry - 22:09 - Yeah. I was there. That's where I met you for the first time.

Julio Freitas - 22:12 - That's where we met the first time. Yes. Um, and I remember calling Shane my partner and say, I don't know why I'm here. These people have got it all figured out. I'm, I'm, I'm not even a farmer. Like, why am I here? I'm going to go back. And he's like, you are crazy. Just stay there, meet some people, you'll be fine. And then sure enough, like five minutes into the whole conference, I had already met people, you know, the, the, the, it was so relieved to know that I wasn't the only one struggling. You know, I wasn't the only one that did a no living to anything, you know, we, it was the whole point of joining the association to me it was to have all of this sounding boards from all these people all over the country with Oliver, you know, their climates are so different and plants react so different in their farms. 

Julio Freitas - 23:06 - It was nice to hear like their do's and don'ts and then somebody else in Maryland, do's and don'ts. Somebody in Texas does and don'ts for the same crop and you kinda gathered the best of all of that and you put it towards your, you know, your production and your, um, your reality and see how that translates for you. Um, so I would definitely recommend vaseline education. There's a lot of books that you can read. Um, like I said, the association, there are workshops that you can attend to, like any, any little nugget that you can get your hands on, like that's always, it's always going to be beneficial. Even if you don't want to be a full on flower farm or where you're going to go to farmer's market and have CSS and Celtra floors. Like if you, if you are a florist and you just want to grow, so good flowers, there are some basic things that you can learn that are not that difficult or that technical. It's just things that you're like, oh my God, I never knew about this. And it just makes your life so much easier. So you can go and focus on the thing that you want to focus on, which is design, which was my reality. 

Julio Freitas - 24:03 - Um, so always, always tried to educate yourself, talk to people, not people in your area that have done the thing that it is, you want to do a because you can always learn how to make flower farming a little bit easier, you know, for, to work for you. 

Kelly Perry - 24:19 - Yeah, absolutely. Well, what are a couple of the staple flowers that you were. I know you mentioned the, the chocolate cosmos and zinnias and dahlias. What are some things that you just feel like, oh, I could not live a season without this. 

Julio Freitas - 24:35 - So when we were at a conference in Orlando, I remember someone asked to Gabriela, they asked her what is the one flower that you always grow every year? And she said flocks. And I started laughing because that's also the same, like I have to have flocks every year because it's such, it's incredibly productive and it's kind of a neutral color, you know, it's kinda like that creamy. Not Peach, but it's more top creamy. Not White either. We will grow two varieties, one is creme brulee and it kinda has some lavender in there too. And then the other one is called Cherry Carmel and I just can't live without those. Like they pretty much go in every single centerpiece we make regardless of our color to a wedding is because they just go with every single color. Um, so we always have flock. We have more flocks that we know what to do with. 

Julio Freitas - 25:31 - Um, I try to grow double snapdragons like Madame Butterfly in the dark red. Anything bargain to goes because it's bargained is still a thing for fall. Um, you know, upright amaranthus. It's really hard to find from wholesalers for some reason. They only sell the hanging any like when you get the upright, it's this big thing you can design with. So we try to, we try to manage are the size of our own. 

Kelly Perry - 25:58 - That's an amazing crop too because all the little side shoots are the perfect size to go in small things like bouquets and stuff like that. But yeah, I know what you mean. Sometimes you get it and you're like, oh my goodness, what do I do this right now? Yes, exactly. But it's nice to be able to have things like that. You can just sort of edit it on the plant as you need it and still keep your big broom for whenever the right project comes along to cut the whole thing down for you know. But yeah. 

Julio Freitas - 26:28 - And that's actually funny because we do a sale, the big thick stems that are like super full. We sell those three interior designers a lot because they do a lot of like big scale homes and they need things flowers in big scale. So we grow a lot of those for them and all need is to innovate. And then that's it. Um, but I also have speak going back to like the little side shoots of the amaranthus. I have this dream that one day we will have like the wholesalers and the farms will have a program for ugly stems. You know, I, if I could get every single band stem of snap dragon, I totally would. And I'm sure they're just tossing them because they are not sellable, but to me I'm like, no, that's the one I want. I don't want the one that sticks straight up because it's just not, doesn't have movement to wet. And I know you're talking a lot about movement when your design and classes. So like to me that would be such a big dream to be able to, you know, have access to those ugly quote unquote props. 

Kelly Perry - 27:24 - Yeah. Remember Andrea, I don't know if you were in this conversation that the at the team flower conference in outfit, she was like, I charge extra for all the crazy looking things that, that aren't just straight. And I was like, you know, that's, that's probably a good idea. But that's such a good thing to. I'd really like this year to do like a think tank with like industry leaders kind of like on that first Tuesday night was kind of just like problem solving kind of thing. But I think it would be so fun to have something where we could have that specific conversation. Like, Hey, all those things you're composting. Like save those. Um, you know, we'd love to use them, you know, if it makes sense for them and they're able to provide it like that, that's um, I feel like one of those really simple things that could shift the industry just a little bit and help everybody get the things that they need to be able to accomplish what it is that they're setting out to do. So I at some point was a good one. Um, with the flocks. Do you feel like that, is that, would you consider that to be like an easy flower or is that something that you feel like is a little bit harder to germinate and grow? Do you like direct seed or put it in little containers or whatever. 

Julio Freitas - 28:32 - So we'll start ours. Yeah, we started ours in indoors in 72 inch cells are 72 cells, sorry. And um, they're, they're in 70 degree. Um, it's, we don't like, we don't have a seat house or a seat greenhouse. So we just started everything in our furnace room which stays at about 75, 77. They do. Well last year they did a lot better. Uh, but this year there were getting like a 70% germination rate versus last year it was like 90. Um, so we're just, we're just starting more of them, but they're not, they're not hard to start the, the, the thing about them is that you have to pinch them. So the flower will probably start blooming in the seed pod if you let them go a little bit too long. Or even if you transplant them at the right time, um, they'll start blooming when they're like four inches tall, so you just kinda have to pinch that first bloom and then pinch the second and the pinch the third and every time you pinch the stamps just got longer. Um, so that was kind of a trick that I learned last year when I was growing it because I couldn't, I couldn't use the foreign stem. So after, after a little bit of research, now they get, they don't get like super tall, but they get a bunch of 12 inches, which is good for centerpieces. 

Kelly Perry - 29:49 - Yeah, that's good. Yeah. Financial support for the production of this podcast is brought to you in part by the team flower conference where flower lovers from all over the world gathered together for education, connection and celebration here, stage presentations from industry leaders on inspirational and educational topics in both design and business. Connect with like minded professionals and think tank discussions and share your own questions, dreams and advice with your peers, network with industry support, enjoy flower theme, celebrations and receiving encouragement for wherever you are in your journey with flowers at the team flower conference, you'll have the opportunity to make history as together we create the future. We want to see in the industry one step at a time, whether you're a farmer, florist, wholesaler, floral artist, or someone who just loves flowers. You're welcome here. There's something truly magical that happens when we all come together and we'd love for you to join us. You can find the latest information@teamflower.org/conference. 

Kelly Perry - 30:46 - So whenever you book your design clients, how much of your farms produce are you using? Are you using, what's that mix look like for you? Or there's some wholesale things that you feel like are an important part of your wedding days as well. You have any favorites there that maybe we could chat about for a minute? 

Julio Freitas - 31:06 - Yeah. You know what's funny, I'm getting more and more and more clients that are saying I don't like roses. And I was like, how about garden roses? They're like roses at all. And I showed them a rose because not that I'm trying to talk them into it, it's just because I really want to make sure that they're not missing out on a great rose that it could have. And most of them are saying no, I don't really like that look. And I was like, oh, okay. So to me I've taken that as a, you know, to me that's a benefit because then I can use, I can replace those with other flowers that are coming out of the garden because then you know, even if they don't like, if they don't like a rose, I don't think there is a point in trying to talk them into using lisianthus because that luck is almost the same. 

Julio Freitas - 31:51 - So I just go like the total opposite, you know, so if they say I don't like roses, I'll say, how about cosmos? And then I show them my picture of like a white cosmo that's just pure white. It's beautiful. And then they love it. So right now. I mean I don't, I don't have a whole lot of room to grow greenery so I don't grow. I wish I could, I wish I had the space to do that, but I decided to just focus on the flowers and focal flowers and then I can add the greenery and from wholesaler or you know, we'll go forage on the property. So I would say right now we'll probably doing 50% from our field and then 50% from wholesaler. And again, that includes a lot of greenery. 

Kelly Perry - 32:34 - That's awesome. In three years I'm just like, hats off really, really good job. That's awesome. 

Julio Freitas - 32:34 - Flower hats off.

Kelly Perry - 32:44 - Yeah, flower,hats off, big time. 

Julio Freitas - 32:44 - Thank you.

Kelly Perry - 32:48 - There's such a learning curve with the whole thing. There just really is. And so yeah, I just think it's, I think it's fabulous in that you've stuck with it. And, um, I know that things are just only going to continue to get more and more beautiful as you move on and progress and are inspired in new ways and um, yeah, as things shift in turn, I'm so honored that you're here and that you've taken time to share with all of us today. We really appreciate it a ton. Is there anything else, anything else you want to share before we sign off for today? 

Julio Freitas - 33:21 - Well, thank you know, I want to just thank you for having me. Um, I know that you guys are working on The Team Flower conference for next year and I hope that people will wait anxiously because it was such a great lineup law last year and it was so good to be there and it was a very um, I love, I love the aspect of the conference of having. I know we were already talking about the conference at all, but I just, it just came to mind that, you know, people should just watch for the details when that comes out because I thought it was a great mix of flower farmers and florists and industry people. It was a good way to bring everybody together, but you know, it's like, it was nice for me to be a farmer florists and be there with other farmers because it was a nice way to, you know, exchange ideas and you know, we have the think tank and talk about problems and I think that's what these conferences are about. 

Julio Freitas - 34:12 - I think this is what podcasts are about. It's all about like listening to other people's story and taking away what you can and applying it to your situation. Um, so thank you for having me at the conference. Thank you for having me at the podcast. If anyone has any questions for me, I respond to all my direct messages on an Instagram and my handle is @theflowerhat. They can reach me there or email is hello@theflowerhat.com if they have any other questions. Um, and I'm just so looking forward to spring and summer, fall, spring because it's still winter in Montana. This winter is holding on, but it'll be a beautiful summer. I can't wait. I can't wait to, to have all the flowers in bloom. 

Kelly Perry - 34:56 - Oh, that's so fun. Well, we'll definitely be checking it out and following along and it was so fun to have you at the conference last year. I still, um, the, the moment that I knew that everything was right and as it should be, it was um, whenever I saw you and Gabriela and Suzanne and you were all like trying to climb a tree to like collect a some branches where Gabriela, let's talk. I was like, all right, all we have arrived in all is as it should be right now. This is good. This is really good. That was a fun moment for sure. I'm so cool. Well, tell us to, are you done? Are you, what, what is the season like if somebody wanted to get. I feel like dahlias are really dahlias and tulips are not tulips and daffodils, I feel like are two really easy things just to try that don't require like you don't have to start the seeds and have this crazy, you know, like just commitment. 

Kelly Perry - 35:53 - I made me maybe be you, maybe you think differently, but I feel like those are two things that you can just put them in the ground and they do their thing with your Dahlias. I know you're shipping a different and interesting varieties now. What's the timeframe? If somebody wanted to try dahlias for the first time, like when should they get their soil ready and then when would you have liked tubers available? What does that timeline look like? 

Julio Freitas - 36:17 - So we just finished our dollar to a per sale. We would kinda headed in March so it can start shaping now in April. But dahlias are very forgiving. I love growing them because they are, like you said, they're so easy to grow and they're so prolific. We you start with all the beds are prepped right now, but we can plant them until. I usually say between mothers day and Memorial Day because there is still a chance that we'll get a frost here, but there is really not that much of a secret to them. Just put him in the ground, dig a hole, put him in the ground and just watch them grow and they grow really fast, like in 60 days, which is the same time as a zinnia in sixty days, they are starting to produce sometimes even less depending on how you know, what your weather is like. 

Julio Freitas - 37:10 - I am zone 4B so I can't plant them until May. But if you're further south you can probably plant them in mid March I would say. Um, I know my friend Shanti at Webstone farm just planet hers last week and she's in Arizona. Um, so there's, there's a little bit of time, but then the people that can also plant them earlier, they can harvest and later, you know, our crop is done in last year we had a frost like September 8th I believe. And we still have weddings I know is still had weddings later in September that I was counting on those dahlias and they were just gone. But you know, if you're in the south again probably harvest them up until October. So is it grow? Yeah. And daffodils, that's what the Nice thing about daffodils is they're perennials, so you just put one in the ground and it had just come back every year where tulips are kind of iffy on that thing. So. But daffodils are so easy and there's so many, like the roughly and the peaches that you don't have to just grow the ugly yellow is what I call it anymore, you know, there's so many varieties out there. So we're, we're growing one called press cycle this year that I'm really excited about. 

Kelly Perry - 38:17 - That's fine. I, I regret I got like a mixed, um, I think things you need and I had like almost 300 of them for, for my size of garden that was like Whoa, what are we going to do it all. But I think it ended up being kind of like the perfect amount where it's like I felt like I could run out and you know, at least for me. But I had all these different varieties in the mix and now I don't know what the individual, different kinds were somewhat. Have to a little bit of research and go back and take a peek at that, but I should post a couple of more pictures of, of the varieties that are available in that because it's really fun. And even though there's not really like wedding clients that are happening while those are blooming. So that's something to keep in mind. It was something that for me, they started blooming in. I'm in the mountains too. Like I feel like our planting timelines are kind of similar, although it doesn't. Usually we don't have frost until October, fingers crossed, but we don't plan anything out until after mother's Day for sure. And the, um, I, I really struggled with the winters because they're just so long and it's like just the void of color. 

Kelly Perry - 39:18 - And so anyways, the daffodil started blooming the last week in February and they're still going strong because I had that mix of leg the earliest, the whole way down to the lates. And I feel like that has been just personally a nice bridge for me in feeling okay with winter. And I was just like, think like Kelly, good job. Spending the money, even though you knew you were going to see anything happen on those for all those months because it was totally worth it. And now of course I would never think another thing of it, but yeah, it was just, yeah, incredibly easy and like you said, they can naturalize and multiply and things like that. Just a little bit different than tulips even though that they're both bulbs. Um, so yeah, so cool. Okay, cool. We'll be on the lookout. 

Julio Freitas - 40:01 - Yeah, I was just going to say the Nice, the Nice thing about winters is that, you know, if you does this, just kind of getting a letter a bit more technical, but like a lot of the times you're just like hungry for some gardening, you know, and it's February and you're like, I can't do anything outside, but you can, you can start your hearty annuals in February and then plant them out in March depending on your, um, on your heart in this, on it. That's kind of what I talk about in the six pillars of successful small scale flower. 

Kelly Perry - 40:31 - I love that. That's good. 

Julio Freitas - 40:33 - But yeah, like you're just kind of get your hands dirty and you get the seeds out and then by the time they're reading to be transplanted outside, it's still early spring and you can start planting those hardier plants outside and then, you know, the annuals come in in April and then you plant those outside and it's just kind of Nice to be able to stagger things instead of having that all at the same time. But I love, I love seeing what I've seen daffodils now around town. Ours is probably another three weeks away from blooming. But let me see. They're more like downtown where it's a little bit warmer and they are starting to bloom already. But yeah, ours, ours don't blow them week by the time they bloom. It's past my Mother's Day, but it's still too early for wedding season. So I only do it for love because I can't use them neither 

Kelly Perry - 41:23 - Yeah, exactly that was uh, that was a long me signing, signing off. I went into like, all about dahlias at the very end. But anyway.

Julio Freitas - 41:33 - You can just add that and put that in the middle. And then, and with the sign off.

Kelly Perry - 41:33 - And then it'll be fine. Yes, exactly.

Julio Freitas - 41:33 - Yes, who is going to know?

Kelly Perry - 41:42 - Well it has been wonderful. Wonderful, wonderful having you here. Thank you so much and we'll talk to everybody out there again soon. 

Julio Freitas - 41:50 - Thank you Kelly. Thanks for having me. It was a nice break in my day. Got to get back out to the field and now. 

Kelly Perry - 41:56 - Okay. Sounds good. Bye everyone. 

Kelly Perry - 41:59 - As we sign off today, I want to remind you that your work with flowers matters. It's about more than the blooms. You're loving the world. You make magic happen. You're creating memories. You're following a dream, delivering light and grace. Here at Team Flower. We're cheering you on one limited time. Thank you for listening to the podcast and until next time, remember that we're so thankful for each bucket that you wash and each bag of garbage that you take out of your studio that makes all of this possible. If you're looking for more Florida education, that's free conversation or inspiration. Just visit teamflower.org/free to see the library of helpful videos and articles for florists, growers, and fire business owners. You'll find helpful tips on everything from creating flower walls to hiring freelancers and much, much more.

Maggie Smith of Pine State Flowers

Debra Prinzing of Slow Flowers