What's different about your floral supply business?
I sell flowers I raise on a farm in Gibbs for floral design. I was able to get a downtown studio space on West Jackson, and it will open April 15 and be completely sourced from this Knox County farm.
Are the flowers organic?
More or less. They're not certified naturally grown yet, but I plan to do that.
This isn't a typical CSA...
CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture" and ordinarily that's a food CSA—you contract with a farmer to receive a basket of homegrown food every week of the season. With Blooming Earth, you pick up an arrangement or bucket of flowers every week. You can choose six different options of sizes and arranged or not, and subscribe for an entire season.
Tell me about the farm.
It has been here for a very long time; in the '20s and '30s it was the old Dr. Jenkins place—he was the country doctor here in the Gibbs area. My parents bought it in '93, so I spent my middle school and high school years here. I moved to Asheville for about seven years, and came back almost two years ago. My parents and I live at the farm and we created two separate farming businesses. They raise blueberries, beef, and vegetables.
How many flowers does it take to serve 25 CSA subscribers and your other clients, like weddings?
About two acres—I ordered about 200 varieties of seed this year.
Are the flowers planted in rows like crops?
Some of them, yes, like the sunflowers and zinnias. I'm also in the process of creating some formal gardens. I've got tulips in rows right now; they'll be moved to more formal gardens later.
Do you also grow greenery for arrangements?
Yes. I love to use yucca leaves and euonymus, because they last a long time, or the greens from a cosmos—they look a little like dill. Hosta leaves are lovely, and I also use a lot of things that are growing wild on the farm. I'll be walking through and think, "That looks really cool."
What's your favorite flower?
Ranunculus. It looks like a cross between a rose and a poppy, but it's not a rose, which are little overdone, and lasts much longer than a poppy.
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