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How I came to flowers......



I started growing things, mostly vegetables, back in my twenties when living in my first house before I got married. It was a sweet little home with a big backyard and I loved it.

Then I met my hunk of burning love.

We got married, and had babies, and we moved because our tiny house became SO tiny.... and also so my husband could finish his degree in another state.


I started growing things again when our kids were really small. To put that in perspective, my oldest just finished a seven year commitment to the Navy and my youngest is working his dream job running a fly-fishing shop in Missoula.

When the kids were little, my husband Tim, was immersed in school then after graduation, took a job out of town. I had a lot of time with our children dreaming about what we wanted to be when we grew up.



I tried so many small business ideas during those early years: weeding raised beds for the elderly (I was going to call the business "One Woman, So Many Beds" but the title sounded a little saucy and the work was really time consuming so I dropped that idea), I raised more than a hundred chickens in our backyard for an egg business, but the birds kept disappearing (hawks? eagles?) plus it takes a lot of eggs at $3/ dz to make more than a couple dollars a month. I even tried my hand at growing piglets for 4 H customers, but quickly realized it takes more infrastructure than we had money to make a profit. I attempted so many different ideas but none of them went anywhere.

Along the way, I was growing a huge vegetable garden to supplement the food stores for our family of wild boys and one beloved daughter. I included flowers among the vegetables to attract pollinators but they added such a sweet touch that I found myself including more and more flowers along with tomatoes and squash. I sold our garden surplus to folks at church and neighbors and then began adding small clutches of flowers to the orders.

And the customers started telling me stories about the flowers they remembered from their childhood. People I barely knew would tell me the most beautiful stories.


Unlike all the other things I made or grew, flowers had the power to stir such deep emotion. From that season forward, so much of my thought process was devoted to flowers. What flowers CAN I grow. Which were my grandmother's favorite varieties. How long should the rows/ beds be, how many flowers can I fit into one long bed, how many seeds? Which brand of organic fertilizer, which fertilizer is activated in colder temps.....

I was captivated! I was obsessed!




I stumbled my way through the first few years and slowly our little piece of Montana heaven managed to somehow grow a little business. I began figuring it out and eventually start making a small profit. I still have so much to learn about flowers and growing in our cold zone 4. Some days I feel a little out of my depth, but what better way to learn than by diving head-first. Months go by and days are consumed with planting, weeding, feeding then finally you wake up and go out into your garden and you see the first bloom. It’s a magical feeling and one that rewards dedication but always comes as a surprise.


Now 6 years later, our tiny flower enterprise is pumping out the blooms from May until mid- September for the Kalispell, Columbia Falls and Whitefish communities.

So many flowers. So many happy people.


This spring we are taking a leap and planted a big plot of sunflowers for fall pictures and other fun outings. (Stay tuned for upcoming information on when you can come out to the farm to sit or stroll among the sunnies.)


So if you are dreaming of filling your life with more flowers but don't have the dirt space or don't feel you have time or the inclination to grow flowers, I highly encourage you to buy blooms from your local flower farm. And tell your own story to that farmer, of the memories that the scent of the freshly harvested flowers brings to mind so that she can tell your story to others of the blessings of flowers.


Thank you for reading. I am so grateful that you are here,

Elizabeth



"Once you start growing flowers, something happens to you .... and there's no going back!" Erin Benzakein




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