Springtime at Pisgah Flowers

Spring is in full bloom here in WNC. The fall planted bulbs are springing up and everyday there is a new treat to enjoy after the long winter. Here are a few glimpses into spring here at Pisgah Flowers. Also as a reminder we are still booking for the 2016 wedding and special event season! 

Anemone

Anemone

Windflower (Anemone) ah-NEM-oh-nee are a lovely spring blooming flower. They are extremely long lasting and can last around 10 days. The name comes from the Greek word anemone, meaning "daughter of the wind, or "windflower." 

Daffodils are a symbol of spring and represent rebirth and hope. They come in a wide range of colors and shapes. 

Hyacinth 

Hyacinth 

Hyacinth have a sweet lingering fragrance and smell of spring. They represent constancy and sincerity.  

Tulips

Tulips

Tulips are showy and are symbol of spring. There a wide variety of tulips and are lovely cut flower for bouquets.  

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Play your part in helping to save the pollinators

As we head towards spring and mother nature starts to waken from slumber we begin to reconnect with the nature of things. My background in sustainable development and my life as a gardener and flower farmer have served as a constant reminder to our duty as stewards of nature. In this line of work we are faced with article and story after story about the decline in pollinators and the impact of our actions on the environment. Working so close to nature and ebbing with the seasons and the land forces me to be vigilant in my farming practices and personal choices on a daily basis.

As I scanned the internet today I once again found another article that prompted this blog post to share a few tips on how we can all be stewards of the land just a little better.  A scary report was featured on NPR today stating "More Pollinator Species In Jeopardy, Threatening World Food Supply"

"A U.N.-sponsored report drawing on about 3,000 scientific papers concludes that about 40 percent of invertebrate pollinator species (such as bees and butterflies) are facing extinction. Vertebrate pollinators (such as bats and birds) are somewhat better off by comparison — 16 percent are threatened with extinction, "with a trend towards more extinctions," the researchers say. About 75 percent of the world's food crops, the report notes, depend at least partly on pollination. "Pollinators are important contributors to world food production and nutritional security," assessment co-Chair Vera Lucia Imperatriz-Fonseca says in a statement. "Their health is directly linked to our own well-being."

Why does this matter so much? There's an awesome organization out there called Pollinator Partnership and they state the following.

"Pollinator health affects everyone!  Worldwide, roughly 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend. Foods and beverages produced with the help of pollinators include: apples, blueberries, chocolate, coffee, melons, peaches, potatoes, pumpkins, vanilla, almonds, and tequila.  In the United States, pollination by honey bees, native bees, and other insects produces $40 billion worth of products annually."

That's just one of many many reasons we need to start paying attention to the vast decline in pollinators out there. And the NPR article is just one more study that I feel like I've read over and over again raising concern. So the question we're left with what can we do in our own small way to make a difference? While massive structural changes need to be made in the way we interact with nature here are a few small things each one of us can do in our own daily lives to work towards the first steps of change. 

1. Plant your own garden (urban, rural, rooftop, suburban it doesn't matter) Before you start making reason as to why not......

2. Plant for the pollinators! Planting for pollinators is a conscience choice to grow plants that are specifically positive for our pollinators. 

  • A great resource for this is on the Pollinator Partnership website. They have a guide that allows you to include your zipcode for planting suggestions in your area. Check out their guide here.
  • Some of my favorite pollinator loving plants that we grow here at Pisgah Flowers include: (descriptions from Sunset article)
    • Aster- butterflies often sun as they sip on these daisylike blooms. Perennial; full sun.
    • Butterfly Bush- Slender cones of flowers in spring and summer. Evergreen or deciduous; sun to light shade.
    • Fennel- Airy umbrellas of yellow florets in summer also attract bees. Annual or perennial; full sun.
    • Bee Balm- Clusters of long-tubed flowers in summer also attract hummingbirds. Perennial; sun, or light shade in hottest climates.
    • Borage- Star-shaped flowers appear in summer. Annual; sun or partial shade.
    • Oregano- Draws bees and hummingbirds as long as you let the plants flower. Perennial herb; sun or partial shade.
    • Sunflowers-Bright and bold, they’re beacons for honeybees. Be sure to choose pollen-bearing varieties. Annual; full sun.
    • Lavender- Fragrant flowers all year in mild climates. Evergreen shrub (annual in colder climates).
    • Pincushion- Blue, pink, or white Scabiosa flowers resemble pincushions filled with needles. Annuals and perennials.
    • Rudbeckia- flowers in shades of yellow, bronze, and deep red; most have knobby brown centers. Short-lived perennial or biennial.
    • Coneflower- Daisylike Echinacea blossoms in pinks, yellows, oranges, or white have domed centers. Perennial.
    • Yarrow- Achillea clusters of yellow, salmon, lavender, red, or white make ideal landing pads for butterflies. Perennial.
  • A few more suggestions on planting for pollinators from the USDA include the following suggestions: 
    • Use a wide variety of plants that bloom from early spring into late fall. Help pollinators find and use them by planting in clumps, rather than single plants. Include plants native to your region. Natives are adapted to your local climate, soil and native pollinators. Do not forget that night-blooming flowers will support moths and bats.
    • Avoid modern hybrid flowers, especially those with "doubled" flowers.
      Often plant breeders have unwittingly left the pollen, nectar, and fragrance out of these blossoms while creating the "perfect" blooms for us.
    • Eliminate pesticides whenever possible.
      If you must use a pesticide, use the least-toxic material possible. Read labels carefully before purchasing, as many pesticides are especially dangerous for bees. Use the product properly. Spray at night when bees and other pollinators are not active.
    • Include larval host plants in your landscape.
      If you want colorful butterflies, grow plants for their caterpillars. They WILL eat them, so place them where unsightly leaf damage can be tolerated. Accept that some host plants are less than ornamental if not outright weeds. A butterfly guide will help you determine the plants you need to include. Plant a butterfly garden!

3. Support Sustainable Farmers- Find food and flower sources that support sustainable pollinator friendly practices. 

  • Buy local- Not only is it almost always more environmentally friendly to buy local but you get to know your farmers and you can ask them first hand what their farming practices are. 
  • Gain a better understanding of what sustainable farming means. Check out this article from Sustainable Table on a basics 101.
  • Join a CSA program! Community Supported Agricultural programs are a great way to support sustainable local farms. Find one near you at Local Harvest
  • Shop at your local farmers market! One of the best ways to support local farmers and sustainable growing practices is to shop at your local farmers market. Find one near you here
  • Buy your flowers from local flower farms! (hint hint like Pisgah Flowers :) ) Find a local flower farmer or florist near you at the Slow Flowers and Field to Vase websites.

4.   Spread the word- Learn more about the importance of pollinators and make sure others do to. Here is a list of some good articles on the subject. 

A Look At Our Crops and Flower Varieties: Unique and Hard To Find Local Sustainable Flowers

We grow a variety of unique and hard to find crops here at Pisgah Flowers. While not a exhaustive list here is a sample of some of our blooms. 

Zinnias
Are a genus of plants of the sunflower tribe within the daisy family. Members of the genus are notable for their solitary long-stemmed flowers that come in a variety of bright colors. They come in a range of sizes, colors and varieties.

We grow several varieties including, Giant Dahlia Flowered mix, Benary's Giant mix, Sunbow mix, Oklahoma Formula mix, Zinnia Scabiosa Flowered Mix, Queen Red Lime, Zinderella Peach and Aztec Sunset.

Season: High summer through early fall 

Sunflowers
Sunflowers or Helianthis is a genus of plants comprising about 70 species in the family Asteraceae. Sunflowers come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Sunflowers aren't just yellow or orange like most people typically imagine. Here at Pisgah Flowers we love unusual flowers and find joy in finding those quirky varieties of sunflowers. 

We grow loads of sunflowers. Some varieties include: Double Quick Orange, Peach Passion, Chocolate, Buttercream, Greenburst, Teddy Bear, ProCut Red, Moulin Rouge, Ring of Fire, ProCut Orange and Sunrich Orange Summer.

Season: High summer to mid-fall

Cosmos 
A flowering plant also in the sunflower family. They are native to Mexico and come in a variety of colors and textures. 

We grow Double Click and Versailles mixes in maroons, pinks and whites. 

Season: Summer

Gladiolus
A perennial bulb in the Iris family. Gladiolus flowers are tall bright lovely additions to any bouquet or are charming on their own. 

We grow a range of colors of Gladiolus ranging from super bright colors to pales and even multicolored. 

Season: Summer to early fall

Dahlias
Now I'm not supposed to have a favorite, but oh Dahlias!! They are perennial tubers (with the right winter care) and come in as many amazing types as you can imagine.

Season: Late summer through first frost

Celosia 
A bright and vivid ornamental plant in the amaranth family. The generic name is derived from the Greek word keleos, meaning "burned," and refers to the flame-like flower heads. 

Celosia ranges from feathery to coral like textures, coming in a range of bright bold colors. They make excellent dried flowers as well. We grow Chief Mix, Pampas Plume, Bombay Purple and Cramers' Amazon.

Season: Late spring through first frost. Dried

Herbs
One of my favorite things to grow on the farm is our collection of herbs. Herbs are great for a wide variety of uses and arrangements. They add color, uniqueness and fragrance to any bouquet or arrangement.  

We grow a lot of herbs here at Pisgah Flowers. Some of the varieties include, Dill, Basil, Lavender, Hyssop, Rosemary, Sage, Mint, Thyme and lots more. 

Season-Spring through first frost

Other flowers, plants and herbs we grow and offer include:

African Lilies
Allium
Amaranth
Ammi
Anemone
Asiatic Lily
Aster
Astible
Beard Tongue
Borage
Broom Corn
Calendula
Calla Lily
Canna Lily
Cone Flowers
Daylily
Dill
Dwarf Coreopsis
Freesia
Hollyhock bulbs
Holy Basil
Hyacinth
Hydrangea
Iris
Kale
Lavender
Liatris
Lilies
Nigelle
Oats
Phlox
Ranunculus
Rosemary
Rudbeckia
Sage
Scabiosa
Snapdragons
Speedwell
Tulips
Yarrow    
-and more!!

Local, sustainable choices for your wedding

Wedding season it quickly coming and this time of year brides and grooms start hashing out the details of their big day. A few years ago I was in the same position and was eager to find local, sustainable choices for my big day.  In order to feel connected to the time and place in which we were going to be married I felt the need to be connected to the land in some way. I sought out local choices as often as possible and strove to be as crafty and hands on in making conscience choices.

Me on my wedding day with my locally sourced, sustainable bouquet. Photo credit: Jameykay and Arlie Photography

Me on my wedding day with my locally sourced, sustainable bouquet. Photo credit: Jameykay and Arlie Photography

I knew I wasn’t alone in this desire to have my wedding be sustainable and locally sourced. To me it just made sense and felt right, and wedding parties all over the country are doing the same. Locally sourced weddings are a growing trend around the country. Wedding parties see the value in finding flowers, catering, decorations, musicians that all speak to the area they are getting married.

In western North Carolina we are blessed with boundless beauty in the scenery, creativity in the people and skill in the artistry that make it easy for local choices to be accessible and desirable. We have some of the most amazing choices for local food, drink, venues, photographers and FLOWERS! The western North Carolina region has long been known for its farming and agriculture. We are blessed with a climate and land that provide a wealth of agriculture bounty. The western North Carolina wedding scene is understandably desirable and an easy choice for those wedding parties like I was myself, to choose local sustainable options for their perfect day. 

Let Pisgah Flowers be your solution to local, sustainable wedding flowers. We provide options for bulk by the bucket sales, to arrangements to hybrid options. 

Lauren Van Epps/LVE Photography

Lauren Van Epps/LVE Photography

Interested in going local and sustainable for your wedding or special event?! Check out these great articles to get started:

Our Story

My husband and I started Pisgah Flowers after moving back to my hometown from Seattle in 2014. I worked in the education field the last few years after graduate school and while we really grew from our time in Seattle it was time to come back to NC.

I’ve always loved playing in the dirt growing, learning and exploring from the lessons the earth has to share. I studied Sustainable Development in undergraduate and had a farming practicum, took classes, workshops and my own hands on training. However, going into this business I knew I would be going in with a huge learning curve. Totally switching career paths and leaving the city lifestyle in Seattle and moving back home and starting a farm is in it self a huge learning curve but an exciting thrilling one. 

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We built a tiny house to move into on the farm land while we started the business. My husband began working remotely for his job in Seattle and now works remotely out of the barn and I work the field and run Pisgah Flowers. Giving up the comforts of a house and career in Seattle and moving into a tiny house on family farm land is a testament to our passion for living big through living small.

Pisgah Flowers is a small farm with a big heart and is family run with everyone chipping in where they can.

Thank you for visiting our blog and website and your support of Pisgah Flowers!

Yarrow and Snapdragon Bouquet

Late spring has arrived and the yarrow and snapdragons are beautiful. The bright range of colors, textures and shapes make for a sweet little yarrow and snapdragon bouquet. Here are a few fun facts about Yarrow and Snapdragons.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is one of my very favorite herbs behind chamomile it is one of those I have promised myself I will always always grow. Yarrow is known by a lot of different names like, Milfoil, Old Man’s Pepper, Soldier’s Woundwort, Knight’s Milfoil, Herbe Militaris, Thousand Weed, Nose Bleed, Carpenter’s Weed, Bloodwort, Staunchweed, Sanguinary, Devil’s Nettle, Devil’s Plaything, Bad Man’s Plaything and Yarroway. The name Yarrow derived its Latin name from the Greek hero Achilles, the son the Sea-Goddess Thetis and the mortal King Peleus. Achilles was a great student of the healing arts and Yarrow was his special ally. He used it to staunch the wounds of his fellow soldiers, which is how yarrow became known as 'Militaris'.

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It is a tough, hardy perennial and a potent medicinal herb. It grows easily in potted soil or directly in the ground and will come back year after year. Yarrow flowers from June to September. The whole above ground portion of the plant is used. The plants are durable and tolerate dry spells and low soil fertility. Flower colors range from red, pink, salmon, yellow, and white. Yarrow can be used for teas, tinctures, baths, infused oils, poultices, sprays and of course they also look lovely in flower arrangements.

Snapdragons (Antirrhinums) get their name from the fact that you can gently squeeze the sides of the intricately shaped flower and see the jaws of a dragon head snap closed. The blooms come in gorgeous colors, including some with beautiful color variations on each flower. Snapdragons have been grown since the rise of the Roman Empire. The Romans and Greeks thought snapdragons had the power to protect them from witchcraft. Descorides, the Greek physician wrote that protection would be given to the person that wore snapdragons around their neck. In the medieval period, snapdragons were thought to be the guardians of European castles and were planted near the gates. Women boiled snapdragons and applied the resulting infusion to their faces to keep them beautiful and restore youth. In the Victorian era, a bouquet of snapdragons usually meant a proposal was coming soon.

Snapdragons have stalks of brightly colored flowers that are especially profuse in cooler weather. The plants start blooming at the bottom of the stalk and work their way up. Snapdragons are tender perennials that are only hardy to about USDA Hardiness Zones 8 or 9. In most areas they are commonly grown as annuals.

Snapdragons and Yarrow are in bloom here are Pisgah Flowers and will continue to be as the late spring heads into summer. We look forward to sharing a bouquet of these beauties with you!

Sources:

Pisgah Flowers- A local sustainable approach

Pisgah Flowers is a labor of love for the land and community of Western North Carolina. We believe in the power of living a simple lifestyle and is reflected in our farming practices. The cut flower industry is largely run by foreign mono crop imported products. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 80 percent of all flowers sold in the U.S. are imported, primarily from South American industrial flower farms that have a history of using harsh chemical fertilizers, toxic pesticides and unfair labor practices. At the U.S. border, flowers must be fumigated to clear customs.

Pisgah Flowers is apart of an emerging sustainable-flower industry, that strives to provide sustainable local choices. Though the sustainable flower market is still tiny, it’s clearly growing. According to the USDA, the number of small flower farms has increased by about 20 percent during the past five years. As of the 2012 census, there were nearly 6,000 flower farms across the country.1

Most flowers sold in the U.S. are imported from as far away as Ecuador and China. Industrial flower farms also typically use large quantities of pesticides, exposing both their workers and the environment to nasty poisons. And flowers grown abroad often use pesticides that have been banned in the U.S. --- or use pesticides in quantities far exceeding U.S. regulations, and without any sort of protection for the workers exposed to them. The flowers grown by Pisgah Flowers are not only fresher than those grown in faraway greenhouses --- they are healthier for the people who grow them and healthier for the people who buy and enjoy them.2

Cut flowers are a $40 billion industry worldwide. When you buy domestic, local and seasonal flowers, you're helping support family farms, preserve farmland, stimulate economic development in rural areas. Pisgah Flowers is one of those family farms that supports the local, provides a quality product and is a healthier choice for customers and farmer alike.

Fast facts about the floriculture industry in the USA:

  • 80% of flowers sold in the USA are grown internationally
  • More than 20% of the pesticides used in Colombian flower productions are known carcinogens or toxins that have been banned in North America. 50% of flower imports come from Colombia.
  • Estimated that up to 50% of all flowers imported are thrown away before ever being used.
  • Colombian flower workers earn $6 a day (far below minimum wage) and can work 70+hours a week without overtime pay. US investors own more than 25% of Colombian flower industry.
  • 58% of large US flower farmers have gone out of business since 1992.
    source:fieldtovase.com  

Here are Pisgah Flowers you can be assured we are a local business using sustainable farming practices that are good for you and the land. We maintain the following sustainable farming practices:

  • No chemical fertilizers or soil amendments
  • Low water drip Irrigation from rain barrels system
  • Companion crop and natural pest control practices
  • On-site composting practices

Buying your flowers locally and in season helps support local farmers as well as ensure your getting the safest most ecologically sourced bouquets possible.

Thank you for your support of Pisgah Flowers!

  1. Source: http://modernfarmer.com/2015/02/sustainable-flower-farming/ 

  2. Source: http://www.localharvest.org/organic-flowers.jsp 

  3. Source: fieldtovase.com