Our Pollinator Friends
The Flowering Farm celebrates all life, and our mission statement is
To provide a safe haven for some of the earth’s littlest creatures –native bees, butterflies, birds and many others– who are struggling to find food and habitat.
Every day is a chorus of life here at the Flowering Farm. Colorful hummingbirds love the zinnias, circling around each flower to sip from the tiny yellow vessels. Sleepy bumble bees snuggle in the silky petals every evening. A wide variety of bees and butterflies buzz and flutter around our flowers, both the native flowers that we specifically grow for them and the additional flowers that we grow for you! We are sure that you have heard of the Insect Apocalypse.
“Leave it as it is” — Teddy Roosevelt
One of the challenges for our little friends is their loss of habitat. Only 5% of the lower 48 is anywhere near the native state of its original form. At The Flowering Farm, we are committed to not only sustainable farming practices (low/no tillage, organic farming practices) but we also believe in leaving the majority of our 20 acre farm to natural meadows and burgeoning forests. This allows for native plants to thrive and provides plenty of quality habitat for our pollinators to utilize. An added benefit to this type of care for the land is that we also have the unique ability to combine our traditionally cultivated flowers with others that you typically do not find in florist shops, such as Golden Rod, Butterfly Weed, Joe Pye Weed, Iron Weed and Queen Anne’s Lace. We suggest reading Bringing Nature Home by Doug Tallamy for more information about how you can help in your own backyard.
Another challenge is the changing climate and the longer seasons — spring comes earlier and autumn lasts much longer. We were able to see that the native wildflowers around us had finished their blooms long before the frost put an end to the insects’ search for food. Around mid-October, our gardens filled again with many insects searching for any remaining flowers to help them before they finished their summer cycles. Instead of pulling out the flowers and preparing the beds for winter, we happily left those blooming flower beds for our friends and waited until long after the killing frost to remove the plants.
Look closely and you’ll see that the meadow in the background is bereft of blooms, while our cultivated field is still providing vital nectar sources.
Native plants — It is so important to plant a variety of native plants, both in your garden and in ours. One native plant can support more than 35 native insects, while a non-native often only supports one or two, if any. We are fortunate to have enough space to allow for native plants to grow and thrive while also providing you with the more common flowers you find in traditional cut flower bouquets. We include native flowers in our bouquets (while leaving plenty for the local pollinators) to share with you their unique beauty that in the past has often been overlooked.
Winter habitat — Instead of “cleaning up” the garden after the season is over, it is important to leave the stems and seed pods up throughout the winter months. This provides food, shelter, and a place for insects to lay eggs. This not only allows for the completion of insects’ life cycles, but also helps the tiniest life, such as microbes in the soil, to continue to thrive and keep our soil healthy.