Vanessa’s first bouquets were composed of weeds she picked from the ditches near her home on Prince Edward Island and artfully arranged as gifts for her mother. Over the years Vanessa’s love for flowers has only grown. After completing training in both horticulture and landscaping she started her own flower farm, which is nestled into the rolling green hills of Bonshaw. In addition to making fresh, vibrant bouquets all summer long, Vanessa also makes seasonal wreaths. Most of her flowers go into to her four seasonal bouquet subscriptions which customers sign up for at the beginning of the season. She’s sold out for this year, so if you’re interested in signing up for 2022 be sure to watch out for her next subscription launch! When Mother Nature is bountiful and she has extra flowers available she will take individual orders. To learn more about V’s Flower Farm you can follow her on Facebook and Instagram (links at the bottom of this post).
I stopped by to visit Vanessa’s farm and capture some of the bloom action on an overcast July morning. She was hard at work harvesting her gorgeous ivory snapdragons, vibrant zinnias, elegant stems of monkshood, exuberant frosted explosion, summery daisies, deep rose, lilac and cherry red yarrow, tiny matricaria buttons, periwinkle larkspur, and a handful of other beauties when I arrived, and loading them onto Rusty, her rustic but super sturdy flower cart.
Once the cart was filled with colourful blooms I followed Vanessa back to her barn where she makes up her bouquets. I returned home with a gorgeous bunch of flowers to arrange and the promise of another visit later in the season when different things will be in bloom.
As a floral designer, one of the things I LOVE about using local flowers is that they are super fresh. The flowers have not had to survive being transported long distances, so they are in much better shape and they have a MUCH longer vase life than flowers that have been shipped long distances before they reach me.
Another thing I love about local flowers is that local farmers grow different kinds of things. They can have more diversity because they are not limited by what can survive shipping. They can also grow things that might not generate enough profit for a flower shop to justify selling, but that really add that something special to a bouquet that makes it unique. I also enjoy how the palette I have to choose from and work with changes as we move through the season. Early summer bouquets are totally different from late summer and early fall arrangements. Knowing that I only have access to fresh lilacs and tulips in the spring and early summer makes me appreciate them all the more.
The third thing that is distinctive about local flowers is scent. Often flowers that I purchase from flower shops (unless the flower shop is buying from local farmers–something I always ask about to encourage florists to source from their local flower growers more) are scentless. They may have had a scent at some point, but they have traveled too far and been through too much to hold much of a scent by the time they reach their destination. Not so with flowers from local farms. Of course not all flowers have a scent, but those that do give the arrangement additional magic. Sweet peas, for example are not something you will often see in flower shops, but I’ve had so many customers tell me that the scent reminds them of their childhood or their mother.
The bouquet I created with Vanessa’s flowers is still going strong as I type this, eight days after I brought the flowers home from her farm. Local flowers drink water like crazy, but as long as I change the water every few days and cut the ends of the stems every time I do (on an angle so they can still take up water) I expect this arrangement should be bringing me joy for a full two weeks.