The Flowering Farm celebrates all life, not just our beautiful flowers. We have elevated this celebration to be included in our mission statement:
Our goal 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.
We were able to see this happening every day in our flower fields and we learned so much! Such as how sleepy bumble bees snuggled to sleep in the silky petals every evening and how much hummingbirds loved the zinnias, circling around each flower to sip from the tiny yellow vessels. The bees and the butterflies created a happy buzzing and fluttering that surrounded us every time we went into the garden.
One of the challenges for our little friends is their loss of habitat. At The Flower 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 – allowing for native plants to thrive, and care-taking our burgeoning forests to take root. This 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.
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.
2018 Update: This past winter, we researched more about native plants and how one native plant can support more than 35 native insects, while a non-native often only supports one or two. This emphasizes the importance including native flowers within our bouquets and celebrating native flowers for their own beauty. We also learned that if we leave the stems and seed pods up during the winter, it helps provide a place for insects to lay eggs. Next year we plan to not only leave the root system in the ground for microbes and insects but also leave the stems up until early spring for native insects’ life cycles.
2020 Update: Now that we have a good collection of traditional, reliable cut-flower perennials, we are beginning to add more native varieties. Knowing what a vital piece that native plants play in the survival of the smallest creatures, we are trialing lots of new native plants. This year, we are introducing Coreopsis, Blue Vervain, Zizia Azurea, Wild Quinine, Columbine, Prairie Ninebark, Penstemon Prairie Axe, and Penstemon Grandiflorus. We may not see their flowers until next year, but we’re so excited! We hope to add more and more each year!