The old Shaker Hymn Simple Gifts sort of sums up our approach to farming and increasingly to life.
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
To that end, each day we look for ways to help nature do what it wants to do. Plants want to live, and need certain simple gifts.
Particularly with flowers, using sustainable, natural practices produces a superior product. This is important because most flowers are imported. Close your eyes and try to remember the smell of the fragrant sweet peas or honeysuckle vines at Grandma’s house. Now go to a local grocery store and turn your sniffer loose. There is a big difference.
Another difference is the varieties that we grow and the seasonality of those varieties. Some flowers love the heat, and produce abundantly in June, but not so much in April or October. By growing varieties in season, the plants are less stressed and have a more fresh appearance and fragrance.
Likewise, many of the flowers that are found in many floral shops are those flowers that can survive a 3000 mile plane trip. Those plants that cannot make the trip are not profitable to those foreign farmers. Many of these flowers are the favorites that were in Grandma’s garden.
Each day we learn and grow more connected to the flowers we are growing. We seek to find ourselves in that valley of love and delight.