It may be cold outside, but all across our Inland North West area there are warm greenhouses and grow lights glowing as our local flower farmers are busy tending to the planting of seeds for this years flower crops. My local flower farmers provide me and many other florists with fresh, fragrant and gorgeous blossoms to design with starting in late spring. As a florists it's kind of like the feeling a child has waiting to open their birthday presents. The anticipation and excitement are growing daily and by March it starts getting hard to wait. I want to find the package and peek inside. Just like our children when traveling in the car and asking us "are we there yet?" That is me with the flower farmers, asking "are they ready yet? How much longer do I have to wait?"
I thought it would be fun and educational for my readers this year to experience a little of the behind the scenes of floral designing to help you understand and appreciate those blossoms on your table a little more. While I am visiting the farms, picking up my fresh blossoms to design with I plan to create some little video clips to share with you so you can see for yourself just what a treasure we have here among our local farmers. I'll take you on a flowers journey from her start on the farm to her final delivery, covering all the steps in between. You might be surprised to the amount of time and work that goes into an arrangement prior to your receiving it. I hear comments from people about what a wonderful job I have working with flowers all day. I agree, it is a work I enjoy immensely, but there's a lot more to it than just arranging flowers in a vase. I look forward to sharing the ins and outs of a florist in the months ahead with you.
I have been buying flowers from my mother's "Little Bit" garden since I started my business in 2014. Weaving the beauty and freshness of her local gladiolus and dahlias into many of my summer orders. Last year I became acquainted with another local florist Esther Ryan owner of Special Touch Florist who introduced me to a group of the most amazing local flower farmers who are growing a wide variety of flowers including those gorgeous Cafe au Lait Dahlias, peonies, lilies, sweetpeas and so much more. In fact, when it comes to dahlias Scott and Nicki owners of Tall Grass Farms even sell the tubers of their dahlias in the fall and ship them to you for planting in the spring. They are the place to go in the spring to purchase your bedding plants, flowers, veggies and more if you are here in my local area. Healthy, fresh and locally grown, you can't get it any better than this. You can also follow them on facebook to get updates on their greenhouse days/hours. I will visit them in the spring to give you a tour of what they have available for you to purchase and plant.
Just down the road, around the bend and over a hill or two among the wheat fields you will find Dream-Dirt-Florals Terri Bongarts-Carstens grows some more stunning blossoms including peonies, more lovely dahlias, sweet smelling molucella/Bells of Ireland (my favorite), dusty miller and so much more. You have to drive slowly for her chickens roam freely and always seem to be out enjoying a snack along the driveway. Follow her on instagram under her name to see more photos of the gorgeous blossoms she has to offer. Terri is also a floral designer and does beautiful wedding flowers. Then we travel to the south hill of Spokane out the S. Palouse Hwy to Beth's Snapdragon Flower Farm. Yes, Beth is the queen of snapdragons and oh so much more! Last year I remember getting some the loveliest mini lisianthus and her sweetpeas were to die for. You can visit her on facebook under Snapdragon Flower Farm and sign up for her newsletter. On her website you can also sign up for a subscription for fresh flowers on a regular bases from weekly to monthly.
Now we head north up to BeeHaven Flower Farm in the Bonner's Ferry, Idaho area. Oh my, talk about a heavenly place! Some of the most beautiful peonies I used last year came from them. They are the ones who introduced me to the fun of using raspberry canes as foliage in my designs and I loved it. You will find their blossoms being shared and enjoyed across the Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho area. I was like a little kid in a candy store when their van packed with flowers arrived at Special Touch Florist shop on Wednesday mornings and got to personally select the blossoms I wanted.
After being introduced to these wonderful local flower farms my customers started commenting even more about how much they enjoy the unique and fragrant fresh flowers. The most common comment I heard last year over and over was on how long lasting the blossoms were and I contribute that to the loving care the growers give them and in their processing practices prior to me receiving them. Brides loved having local flowers in their bouquets too. Using these fresh unique blossoms helped me to design a more natural, organic, fresh out of the garden look for them.
I will be sharing updates on these growers with you from time to time. For some will be offering classes, demos, or will have beautiful bedding plants available for their communities to purchase. One way you can support your local growers is to purchase flowers from florists who do business with them. Ask your florist if they buy their flowers from the local growers and if so then you know you are helping to support your local growers too.
Follow the flower farms on facebook, instagram or on their own personal websites. If you have a question about flowers I'd highly encourage you to reach out to them for their expertise and insights on plants/flowers. I haven't met one yet that didn't love to talk about about plants, flowers, and gardening. I know there are more local growers out there and new ones starting up this year in our area as well. It will be fun for me to meet them and share them with you. It may be cold and snowy out right now, but spring is coming and soon we will all be enjoying warmer days with the bees and butterflies in the sunshine among the flower blossoms.