Hi to all--
Im one of the many new folks that reads a ton of posts, asks a few questions when IÂm stumped, and generally gets more out of this forum then I put in. IÂm hesitant to add anything because I have little experience, and it feels presumptuous to add anything when there are the many talented, hardworking flower veterans out there. But, I realize IÂd better add to if I want to get more out of it (kind of like adding compost to the garden!). The two biggest sources of info and inspiration I seem to find (beyond very supportive family/friends) is Lynn ByczynskiÂs book and you folks! I wish I had researched this forum more over the winter timeÂI know it would have influenced my planting choices this springÂbut there is always next year!
I live in rural Iowa, but only Â½ an hour from the second biggest city in the state (ok, thatÂs not saying a lotJ), and 15 minutes from a nice sized college town. I started a flower garden last year, and was amazed by the amount of flowers it produced, and the # of bouquets I could put together. I only went to farmerÂs market in September, due to other circumstances, and did okÂitÂs a pretty small market. IÂm planning on more markets this summerÂmostly small town onesÂIÂm not ready to spend the money to get into the big market, because IÂll only have about 16 weeks of flower production this year. I do a lot of direct seeding, and have only started the perennials this year. I would love to get my name out enough that I could skip the markets and only do subscriptions, pick-your-own, and some special events. I like the markets, but I have three kids 6 and under, and I donÂt want to have to get a babysitter. My husband works weird firefighter hours, so itÂs a hard to commit to markets every week. We live on gravel, but I have a relative who lives on a very busy highway, so we could maybe put a stand there. Anyone have luck with farm stands? Are they unattended, or are you only open at specific times?
IÂve got business cards, and when IÂm officially producing flowers, IÂm thinking of running newspaper ads, or asking a couple local newspapers to do articles. My problem with marketing is thisÂmy plants are between an inch and 5 inches, and IÂm scared to advertise that IÂll be open in July and wonÂt be ready! On the other hand, I really donÂt want to have a ton of flowers ready, with no one to buy them! I know my best advertisement is going to be a quality product, which I donÂt have yet! Any suggestions on marketing?
We were lucky enough to drive to ClinkÂs garden in the spring. What an inspiration! ItÂs beautiful, and getting more so every year, it looks like. We plan on going over for her ACS fundraiser next month, and I can see everything in bloom. When I tell my kids that this is the kind of garden Mom is trying to doÂI can already see their faces ("But Mom, our place doesnÂt look like this!" "I know, keep eating and growing, kids, weÂve got work to do!") . I hope Clink does another extensive update when she has time, posts pictures, etcÂit is a beautiful spot.
I hope I havenÂt gone into too much detail, given you too much information, etc. I just wanted to thank everyone for the time they put in here, and all the excellent information. IÂd appreciate any marketing tips, things that work/donÂt work. Anything anyone regretted doing/not doing when you were starting out? Or something that worked well for you? Thanks in advance, Cathy (the other Iowa Cathy)