Stuck at home during the pandemic, what could be better than a fresh delivery of a hand picked and arranged bouquet of vibrant flowers? That is exactly what Floriculture Microfarm specializes in.
I love to promote small local horticultural businesses, and this one really brings joy to the life of many people – weekly! I personally know one of the recipients and she raves about the quality and excitement that her weekly fragrant delivery brings.
Floriculture Microfarm is the postage-stamp sized local flower farm of April Lutter. With a day job of a pre-school teacher, she has started her business in an old brick home built in 1875, and just started four years ago selling bouquets – locally and without any chemicals.
As April says on her Instagram feed – “Supporting local flowers means….Your flowers were not cut weeks ago, transported thousands of miles, handled by multiple people and subjected to unfavorable flower conditions. Your flowers were seeded, tended, planted, grown, cut, processed, gathered and delivered by me. Your flowers support a small business, a small family, and a small farm with a big heart for growing flowers.”
There was nothing small about April’s smile when she greeted my sister and I to see her operation recently. We interrupted her normal early morning routine of cutting and plunging the flowers into fresh water buckets to hydrate. This is called conditioning in the florist trade and is an important first step in making the flowers last longer – called ‘vase life’.
Working in the florist business since 2000, April saw the need for locally grown flowers and not getting ones shipped long distances which can degrade quickly within a few days. Flowers are extremely perishable, having to be treated with care and refrigerated on their many mile journey to your local grocery store. That bloom might already be 4-5 days old or even picked weeks ago, when you take it home and won’t last as long. If you get flowers delivered from April or pick up your bouquet at the farm, those flowers are less than 24 hours old and will last longer in the vase. More bang for your buck!
Growing locally and organically has given her greater control over the quality and diversity of seasonally available flowers. Having worked in the florist business myself, I totally understand her viewpoint and have made many an arrangement with boring florist-provided carnations, roses, bakers fern, and baby’s breath. It was always a delight to get something different in fresh cuts and rare to find something like celosia, ageratum, forget-me-nots, or cosmos.
With growing her own, April can try different things that you would normally never find at a florist, or if you did – at an exorbitant cost- like eye-popping Ranunculus.
Anemones are another great example. April can grow these beauties at her place in Pennsylvania by utilizing row covers under a plastic hoop greenhouse to offer them up to her customers in early spring/late winter. She inspired me to try some on my own and I have already ordered the corms from Longfield Gardens. I have recommended Longfield Gardens before as I love the variety and quality of their offerings. Ordering tulips, dahlias, and other bulbs from them, I love this company also for their excellent customer service.
April’s flower year starts in February with Anemones and Ranunculus, followed by Tulips and early spring mixed bouquets. Her main season Bouquet Subscriptions run June to September and include celosia, hydrangeas, snapdragons, cosmos, zinnias, globe amaranth, salvia, amaranthus, forget-me-nots, dara, asters, yarrow, strawflowers, rudbeckia, larkspur, sunflowers, and asters. Also, colorful foliage such as purple nine bark is included for contrast and interest.
In addition to the subscription series, April sells at the local Hereford Farmer’s market each Saturday morning, May to October, and offers full-service wedding design.
Don’t despair if her subscriptions for the summer are sold out! Fall brings other goodies, such as seasonal terrariums, cloches and plant designs, custom tablescapes for the holidays, wreaths, and swags. And of course romantic weddings are just up her alley! Seasonal flowers are at the mercy of weather and if we have an early frost in the fall, the flowers will be gone, but other items such as dried flowers, terrariums, and interior plants will be available.
As April puts it so well, ” Flowers offer reprieve from the rest of it all. Whether you are walking around your own yard, strolling through a botanical garden or enjoying a well-placed vase of fresh cut, fragrant blooms, your mind gets a moment when flowers are present”. I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Check out her website at Floriculture Microfarm. If you want information on having your own cut flowers to use from your property, go to Growing Heirlooms- Old Fashioned Annuals That Rock!