Flowers for the Soul
This short season of growing means a short season of selling, but Meryl has found a way to extend the appeal of her blooms. Last year, she began drying flowers and crafting wreaths, with a focus on fall-themed colors, to sell on Instagram. “I’m going to be focusing more this year on our dried flower offerings, because last year I did a great number of wreaths with the dried flowers I had harvested from the farm and it was a huge success. I’m going to focus on things I can grow for sale as fresh cut, but also with the thought in mind that it would be used for drying. I’m developing that line of goods that will be available after the growing season. I’m very excited about it.”
Aiding her in that venture, and what makes her blooms stand out in arrangements and on her colorful Instagram account, are her uncommon and extraordinary flower choices. “I try to grow things that others don’t grow. That’s the advantage of buying something that’s been grown locally; a lot of thought has gone into what I’m growing at the farm. If I’m crafting a bouquet, you’ll find things that aren’t available at regular outlets. I like that, I pride myself on that,” she explains. Unique flowers are not without their challenges. She gives new potential flowers a trial run, after extensive research, to make sure they not only grow in the Cape climate, but thrive. And while her customers play a role in the choices she makes regarding what to grow, what really matters is how the flowers make a person feel. “I put a lot of thought into what I think would be an item people would notice, like an old-fashioned flower that evokes a memory or feeling; a real old-fashioned snapdragon that actually snaps when you squeeze the throat together, things you remember doing when you were a kid. People really love and have strong associations with flowers and I try and hit on those notes,” she says. “I’m also a big one for color. Most people really are drawn to bright colors. I won’t grow anything that I personally don’t like. I’m doing this for me, to begin with, and while I want to be successful, I try to grow things I’m drawn to, and something different that’s not offered elsewhere. That’s my criteria.” Though the farm isn’t open for visitors, those interested can scroll through Meryl’s Instagram account and be transported to a tranquil farm on a picturesque spring day with every photo and video she posts. Her rare flowers, like the crinkly Straw Flowers or the velvety ruffles of Celosia, inspire awe, and the classics, like daffodils and dahlias, remind viewers of seasons gone by.
Despite the short seasons and mercurial weather, growing flowers on the Cape has its advantages. “Its challenging but at the same time I think the climate here on the Cape is excellent for growing, at least what I’m growing anyway,” she laughs. “I feel that with the warm days and the cool sea breeze that sweeps in at night, I’ve had better success growing here than anywhere else I’ve lived because of the climate. The air gets cleared out every night and it’s a wonderful place to grow. I just wish the season was longer.”
The joy brought to people by her flowers are an added bonus to the hard work and satisfaction earned for herself. “I’ve already had the main careers of my life; this is for me. I do it for the connection to the earth, really. Nothing makes me feel more complete than when I’ve been outside for the day and gotten sun and air and gotten my hands dirty and am physically exhausted and I get to do it again the next day. That’s my idea of fun. It’s hard work but it’s the way I would always choose to spend my time. I like to be out in the field, in the elements pursuing my passion while putting smiles on people’s faces.”
Keep up with Meryl and explore all her delightful blooms on Instagram, @bluelobsterflowerfarm.
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