In 2016, I sold sunflowers and zinnias to nine local florists in the Greensboro, Kernersville, and Winston-Salem area. I was so happy that local florists were excited to have fresh locally grown flowers. The following year I added celosia cockscomb, celosia plumes, ageratum, dahlias, eucalyptus, lisianthus, yarrow, and zinnias. I also tried some other cut flowers but narrowed the flowers down to these eight cut flowers. Besides selling to florists, I added some wedding designers especially since I had increased the number of dahlias I had been growing. I grew over 200 varieties in 2020. I am learning which varieties seem to do well in our hot and humid summers. I really enjoy being self-employed and growing flowers for a living. In 2020, I sold dahlias to Mayesh Wholesale Florist in Charlotte, NC. I sold 500 to 1000 dahlias a week to them. I do appreciate all the local florists who bought my flowers. In 2023, I no longer sell blooms locally. I do sell dahlia tubers online; however, they are limited.
I am saving dahlia seeds from my dahlia field in hopes to offer my own heat tolerate dahlias one day. I am excited about 2023 as I have some third year dahlia seedlings that I think will make excellent cut flowers. I am evaluating my dahlias from seed and looking for the cultivars that produce long stems for cutting, have solid bloom attachment, great vase life, tubers store well, and are floriferous. I am also looking for seedlings that have a vivid or unusual color that stand out. It is a long process as it takes 3 or 4 years of evaluation to make sure the new dahlia cultivar is consistent in form and color.
I am involved with my local dahlia society, Central Carolina Dahlia Society in Winston-Salem, NC. I am learning more about showing and exhibiting dahlias. I am working on becoming an American Dahlia Society Accredited Judge. I am involved with the National Capital Dahlia Society in Washington, D.C. I attend the National Capital Dahlia Society summer and fall dahlia shows where I am able to receive ADS judging training and experience showing dahlias.
When I started selling cut flowers to local florists in 2016, I had no idea that I would eventually grow dahlias from seed. It is funny how starting a few dahlias from seed in 2019 really changed my focus. I am now focused on my dahlias that I grew from seed collected from my dahlia field. As I am planting these first-year dahlia seedlings in 2023, I cannot wait to see what magic was created from bee pollination last fall in my dahlia field. So exciting!
We purchased this farm 8 years ago. We have almost 12 acres. The farm is in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina. I knew when we purchased it that I wanted to do something with the land. Growing up in Delaware, my grandparents had a farm that we always went to on weekends. My Mom's Dad was a dairy farmer and sold milk in the local town door to door in the 1930's. Milk sold for 12 cents a quart! Eventually he just grew soybeans or corn on the land. The Delaware farm is a centennial farm as it has been in our family for over 100 years and my brother continues to farm on the land. So even though I have an accounting background and have mostly lived in neighborhoods with ½ acre lots, I grew up understanding what it is like to somewhat grow up on a farm. I never would have guessed that I would become a flower farmer.
I have always grown flowers and had large flower beds. I have been a Forsyth County extension master gardener volunteer since 2015. I started farming in March of 2015 when we purchased the farm. In August 2015, I attended the Chatham County Cooperative Extension workshop on “Growing Cut Flowers for Market” in Pittsboro, NC. I learned so much at that two day workshop. I thought I was going to grow vegetables and sell at the local farmers market. I came home from that workshop and told my husband “I love flowers, and I can make money growing flowers on the farm”. I began farming on four 100 foot rows: however, that increased to forty 100 foot rows for cut flowers. The cut flower field is surrounded by deer fencing and is about 1 acre.
Hi! I am Paula. When I told my father that I was growing flowers as a living, he laughed and said your grandmother did that. Apparently, she grew various bulbs, dahlias, zinnias, and other flowers for the local florist back in the 1940's. I did not know that. When I was born, my dad's parents had moved from that farm to a house in
Hi! I am Paula. When I told my father that I was growing flowers as a living, he laughed and said your grandmother did that. Apparently, she grew various bulbs, dahlias, zinnias, and other flowers for the local florist back in the 1940's. I did not know that. When I was born, my dad's parents had moved from that farm to a house in town but she did have large flower beds that I always remembered. I always thought my brother would be the only farmer in the family but after all these years, here I am flower farming!
My husband has a full time job; however, he does help with some jobs on the farm when he has time. We have always had large flower beds wherever we lived. He is really good about remembering all the flower varieties. He really enjoys taking an evening tour around the yard and see what is blooming. We also enjoy feeding the wild birds
My husband has a full time job; however, he does help with some jobs on the farm when he has time. We have always had large flower beds wherever we lived. He is really good about remembering all the flower varieties. He really enjoys taking an evening tour around the yard and see what is blooming. We also enjoy feeding the wild birds and especially the hummingbirds. We have several bluebird houses on the farm.
Because of the name of our farm, I am often asked if we have honey bees. We do have a honey bee hive! We used to have 4 hives but they just kept swarming! We now just have one bee hive. Our flowers support many species of native bees. We also see many monarch butterflies on the farm.