Summer Abundance: My Garden, Business, and Life
Counting stems while creating my flower arrangements does NOT inspire me.
“What?” you say, “I thought you loved making bouquets. Isn’t that why you DO this?”
Ingredients for a pink and burgundy summer bouquet including garden roses, dahlias, snapdragons, yarrow, scented geranium, pineapple sage, chocolate cosmos, silene, and purple basil.
Let me explain what I mean: in the flower industry, there are all kinds of guidelines about how to price floral arrangements based on stem counts and flower types. These standards help florists make sure they actually make a profit from their flower arrangements after covering the costs of doing business.
I have spent countless hours trying to write “recipes” for my different bouquet products so that I could achieve consistency and ensure I was charging the "correct" amount for my flowers. It felt like enlisting a mathematical equation to dictate my work. For example: each mason jar arrangement = 5 tulips or dahlias (showy blooms) + 8 stems greenery + 8 smaller blossoms, when added together equals a certain dollar value.
But… I quickly grew tired of this charade. This approach just didn't work for me. What really excites me is intuitively designing bountiful, colorful, interesting, and unique bouquets for my customers. I've found that my process is hindered by too much counting, planning, or restraining.
My littlest love trying to smell the zinnias in the garden.
Arranging bountiful bouquets actually feels like meditation for me. Instead of going into my mathematical thinking brain, I can allow my right brain (the creative, rhythmic, intuitive side) to just create. At times, I have worried that I wouldn’t have enough flowers if I didn’t ration for my orders, so I meticulously divided stem, split blooms into piles… finally realizing in the end that there is almost always more than enough. I aim to grow enough flowers to fill my orders, for my children to pick and enjoy, to share with the nursing home residents down the street, and to leave for the bees.
I used to feel bad for every flower that I didn't cut in time for using in bouquets, but now I intentionally leave blooms for the bees. They need the flowers at least as much as we do.
One of the reasons I grow my own flowers is because I want constant access to delicate, interesting, fresh, and abundant blooms. My business creates very little waste and I don't have to account for shipping or pesticides in my prices. Because my flowers are grown in my own garden at my home and I sell from an online shop, I have no rent to pay at a brick-and-mortar shop or regular hours to keep.
My daughter playing in the garden barefoot on a summer day. This garden is just as much for her as it is for me and you.
Designing this business to dovetail with my daily rhythms, so that it ideally would not feel like work, has been a joy! I intentionally created it to be very efficient so that my overhead is low and I wouldn't feel a lot of pressure to turn a profit. So while those flower count standards and equations exist for a reason, I’ve found a lot of reasons to let them go.