Updated: Jan 5
October is here, and our flower season is officially over. We learned so much during 2022 and made so many new memories on the farm.
Since starting The Flower Shed, Lisa has always had people asking her if she would allow them to pick their own flowers or get pictures taken in her fields. Fortunately this year, Lisa was ready to take that step for her business and publicly open up the farm for guests to visit.
Thus became what you all know us to be, a U-Pick flower farm in small-town Naylor, Georgia.
Join me and lets reminisce on this past year of flowers, and take a look at the behind-the-scenes of our flower farm!
The fourth growing season at The Flower Shed started with tulips in the ground. We wanted to get flowers out by Easter, and thankfully we did! After having preorders, and with some help of our friends at Small Cakes - Valdosta, it was a great start to the year selling some beautiful blooms!
It was hard work getting thousands of seeds in transplanting trays, and keeping them warm for germination in the greenhouse. But, the earlier we start in the season, the longer we will have flowers to sell!
By February, our anemones and ranunculus flowers started showing off! They made an appearance as some really beautiful blooms that paired with tulips for our Easter bouquets.
You can see in the left and right pictures, some of the black tarp we lay as weed control in between the rows of our market fields. The first few months of the year are prepping all of the rest of the fields with tarp, plastic, and endless stakes to get ready for transplants to go in the ground.
Happy spring! In March, we really focused heavily on getting the fields put together and planted. It was also spent fine-tuning the logistics of the flower U-Pick. We figured out how our parking situation, where check-in would be, and what local goodies would be available in our farm store.
We started advertising for our Easter and Mother's Day bouquets, and began taking pre-orders for those.
There was lots of growth in all of the fields this month--flowers AND weeds. Pulling weeds is labor intensive but we have learned that if you turn on your favorite podcast, you can get an entire row done in no time!
You know the old saying... April showers, brings...
Our market and U-Pick flower fields were growing tremendously throughout May. The weather was perfect, the fields were blooming beautifully, and so we decided to harvest and take some blooms to the Wiregrass Farmer's Market in Tifton, Georgia.
When Lisa started this cut flower farm four years ago, she spent nearly every Saturday the Wiregrass Market was open to sell bouquets straight to customers. As time wore on, Lisa moved her business model from selling directly to the public, to grocery stores.
We nearly sold out both weekends The Flower Shed had made it to the farmer's market in Tifton! Coming back to the Wiregrass Market for just a few weekends was like a blast from the past, and reminded Lisa that selling directly to the public is just as effective as selling to the grocery store.
Lisa was more ready than ever to take this U-Pick from just an idea to a tangible operation! We passed out countless flyers to customers to promote our first ever flower U-Pick. As we geared up for its opening, we created so much beautiful content on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok!
As this month came to a close, we were all nervous to see if anyone would care to drive all the way out to little Naylor, GA in the middle of the summer to pick flowers. We had no idea what to expect moving forward.
All of the planning, implementing, marketing, and sweat that went into getting our first flower U-Pick season was starting to pay off! We were blessed with such a great turnout at our opening weekend, and could have never expected the support we received.
As the weekends wore on in June, we started to get to know many of our customers personally and even had a few regulars! You all gave us so much feedback and suggestions for improvement.
With the heat of summer, our fields get endless critters making the flowers their home! Here is a cool shot of a spider web early one morning in June. Spiders are welcomed at The Flower Shed as they keep unwanted or damaging pests away!
Right at the beginning of June, the farm made it on a billboard! The billboard looked over the Valdosta, Georgia Chick-Fil-A parking lot. Many customers found out about our farm through the billboard, and visited our U-Pick!
Our friends at Indie Atlantic Films visited us in the fall of 2021 to record one-half of our operation, Rolling Branch Farms. They came back in June to film the other half, The Flower Shed! You can watch the full farm feature on our website here.
Let's be real. The weather was brutal and hot. We handed out hundreds of free popsicles to kiddos at the U-Pick who needed to cool down after being in the South Georgia heat!
But, the flower fields loved the weather. They showed up each weekend with hundreds of beautiful blooms. Our customers raved about their experience on the farm and their bouquets!
Photo by: @loganmariephotog on Instagram
We were told by many guests how long their bouquets last compared to buying a bouquet at the grocery store. We sell to grocery stores, so we know that it can take a farm anywhere from three to seven days to get their flowers on the shelf. But, when you harvest your flowers at our U-Pick, you get to enjoy your blooms for longer by not missing out on those first few days after they are harvested!
The Flower Shed had lots of change in the month of August. I went from being a summer intern to the farm's Brand Manager and started writing blogs for this website! Our first blog was about an educational outreach we did with the Miller-Lakeland library. We have so many ideas for what this blog will become as the year progresses and I am excited to share all of our ideas and content with you!
This month also saw changes in the temperature outside, and the flowers loved what they were experiencing! It felt like each week we had a new variety blooming and it was so rewarding watching the fields slowly change.
We were blessed with record selling weekends back to back to back! We wanted to thank you for being so supportive of our farm and started a new outreach to give flowers away for free in our community. You can read more about this here.
The weather finally decided to cool down, and our U-Pick Saturdays were not as hot and humid as they had been! We often had the best breezes, and the most perfect weekend every weekend.
This month flew right by as Rolling Branch Farms started gearing up for their pecans and satsuma harvest. Rolling Branch is opening their orchard as a pecan U-Pick starting this Saturday, October 15th! We hope to see you all there.
We celebrated the new month by offering spooky grab-and-go bouquets ready at the U-Pick! Unfortunately though, the time has come, and our flowers have decided to stop growing as the weather gets cooler and cooler each day.
Last Saturday, we had our final flower U-Pick and you all did not disappoint. We offered an "event size bucket" of flowers, originally $50, for only $10! We called this our first annual Flower Haul.
When posting, we suggested that EVERY bloom must go. You all were not joking around about that statement, and wiped us clean! That was exactly what we were hoping for as the last weekend of our U-Pick flower season.
What is next?
Following the winter break we will be jumping right back into seeding trays, transplanting, pulling weeds, and getting next year's U-Pick ready again!
We are so excited to see you all next summer when we open back up for year two! Thank you all for being part of our story and supporting the farm each and every step of the way.
What have we learned?
I asked Lisa, The Flower Shed's owner, what she has learned this flower season. Here is what she said:
1. Buy more seed than you think you need. You would be surprised how much seed is needed for just a row of flowers.
Do you guys remember our beautiful sunflowers that were in bloom for a few short weeks? That took so much more seed than we had expected. Picture this: we ran out of seed half way through and had to rush order more! That was quite the week at the farm.
2. Recycle as much as you can. I re-use the black fabric walkways, seed trays, tunnel covers, etc. It takes off so much of your overhead costs for the next year.
Pulling up stakes and rolling the black tarp nicely to reuse is one of the dirtiest jobs, but it is so worth it to help with saving money! With your own flower beds, try to save as much as you can and take good care of your tools because you will be surprised at how much money it will save you year after year.
3. Do not bite off more than you can chew. It's nice to have BIG goals but also make sure they are realistic to your operation. It takes time to grow.
Just as flowers take time to grow, so does your business or operation. Slow and steady growth is still growth! Do not give up!