Thursday, March 29, 2012


 I have a little fantasy of selling flowers in the store--nothing fancy. Stems or bundles similar to what is sold at farmers markets.

Pakatakan Farmers Market in the Catskills

farmers market bouquet

I have been reading with interest about a developing buy local movement for flowers.  Karen Orlando's blog Outside Now, chronicles, among other things, her new business creating small locally grown bouquets for businesses in Brooklyn. See posts here.  And if the New York Times writes about it (here) it must be true. This video about a California woman whose garden includes more that 200 varieties of roses that she sells in a kiosk in Santa Cruz is beautiful and inspirational.

I am trying to work my way out of a funk about the store. Running a business in a flood-ravaged, economically depressed area is a challenge. I'm losing money and there's no point in continuing unless I enjoy it. For weeks I've been struggling, fighting the urge to just shut it down. But now I'm thinking about flowers. Growing them. Selling them.  Not in a big way. Fill a few buckets. See what happens.

We have 60 acres of hilly woods in the Catskills. An abundance of ferns and moss. Wildflowers grow near the creek. I keep a couple vases in the store filled to bring the vases and the store to life.

There is a grassy area between our driveway and the creek. My husband planted blueberries near the edge, but otherwise it's just grass. I am wondering if I could turn it into a wildflower meadow. Until I retire I won't be there enough to maintain a "real" garden, though I'm already planning it in my head. (Drifts of daffodils and delphinums...) So I'm going to research planting wildflowers. (ironic? oxymoronic? just plain moronic?) Suggestions for no-maintenence flower gardens welcome.



  1. I think we should all try to buy as much as possible from local sources. I like your idea of selling flowers. don't know anything about it, tho, sorry :)

  2. Such a good idea Jen! I hope you will find I way to grow suitable flowers and make it into a business. Good luck!

    Madelief x

  3. Milkweed can be a challenge to start, but once you do, you'll make alot of bees and monarch butterflies happy! As far as planting to sell, it's a GREAT idea! Echinacea is beautiful, with so many varieties, and naturalizes quickly. Day lilies do as well, and yarrow, and black-eyed susans....

  4. The problem with planting those cans of wildflower seed is that, not being in their natural habitat, only some will bloom the first year, and then the second year only the little California poppies with survive. I've tried it. Better to start your daffodil bulbs - they will bloom year after year and you can add more each autumn. Just like that lovely scene in Doctor Zhivago of the waving daffodils. I can hear the movie theme now, "Somewhere my Love" or is it called the "Theme to Doctor Zhivago?"

  5. You've got a new idea, Jen. Reading some comments I remember a hill with wild flowers in San Francisco. I saw the lovely tiny poppies.I bought a sheet of painting of flowers; Monkey flowers, Farewell to Spring, Baby blue on. I wonder that they are wild flowers and strong enough...?

  6. Jen

    here in the UK Sarah Raven has been trying to get councils to sow wild flower meadows, with some success (the TV prog is called Bees, butterflies and blooms). She sells - as do others - annual mixes which do well on good soil and with sun in 10 weeks. But you might be better off focusign on cornflowers, zinnias and marigolds in your first year perhaps?I'd buy them! Good luck

  7. a new idea could bring some enthusiasm back for you.
    i know in uk you ca buy packets of wildflowers. i think the conscious way is to check your sowing what would be native/normal to your specific area. you know, to keep the biodynamics right.

    give it a go!

  8. A wildflower meadow sounds a wonderful idea and would be a real wildlife magnet.Its a real shame the shop isnt doing well but maybe the flower idea would be a great new venture for you.I really hope so.X

  9. Supersweet!! My suggestion for meadow (if sunny enough) is to source out some native meadow plugs or young plants instead of seed, mulch and then interplant that this year and the next few (while it fills in) with seed or annual seedlings and bulbs. Course you could wait till fall too and plant a lot of bulbs. (bulbs seem to be the only thing that are truly lowlow maintenance is really just for wildness). Or you could go wandering your acres for all kinds of fantastic foliage (your ferns), grass seedhead, weed or wildflowers, branches (evergreen or otherwise), berries, etc for clipping, arranging and seeing what you like and what lasts. Quite sure you won't overharvest all that land. Last suggestion is to talk with the flowerfarmer at your market for suggestions about what to grow in your area or to mix some of your wild stuff with some of your local flowerfarmers things as well. (mind you, my advice is not based on experience, just on some research and my own smallscale experimentation..) If you don't have lots of time to grow or plant the last option might work out the best for you. You could forage in spare time. Good luck.

  10. Thanks to all of you for your support, encouragement and advice. It means the world to me.

  11. I think that would be awesome!

  12. Hi Jen, Have just been catching up with your blog, and now understand a lot better the comment you left for me about the flowers in my store. Firstly, I couldn't imagine not decorating my store with fresh flowers. It is my Monday ritual - not huge expensive bouquets, but simple muddled arrangements that show flowers for everyday, not just those lovely occasions when someone sends us flowers! Currently, the dahlias from my garden have been the mainstay in all my vases and bottles. Truly I think I'm probably a bit over the top, (seventeen is OTT for a small store!) but really, a little dahlia and a bit of mint is the extent of most of them. Once I'm having to buy the flowers again I'll be reining things in I promise. So no, I don't sell them, but use them to, as you say, add life to the store. Plus, my store is in an area where close by we have a market that sells flowers and a supermarket too. If I didn't have these nearby, I might consider some fun little tussy mussy type flowers to sell.
    I also wanted to say, try not to be disheartened with your store. I so know how you feel and what it is like. Retailing can be so hard. I wish everyone would shop local too, but sadly, this is not the world we live in now. So long as you still love what you do, keep at it. Have faith! x