Happy Saturday, friends. Today I’m thrilled to welcome Sadie from Foothills Flowers Farm to NW Healthy Mama, Garden Tour Saturday. This post will especially be a treat for those of you, who like me, have dreamed of having a flower garden. What I love the most is how she even gives us a list of flowers to grow, if we’re just starting out. At NW Healthy Mama, we let our words of encouragement flow freely so, be sure to leave her some sweet words in the comment section below -Angela
One of my greatest loves is the Pacific Northwest. I grew up on Vashon Island, alongside evergreens and gardens. My parents raised my sister and I around trees, trips to the coast, and summer dinners staring out at the forest. After a stint in Los Angeles for college, I returned to Washington State and began my farming journey.
My boyfriend Paul and I met while farm managers on Bainbridge Island. After 5 years of mixed vegetable and flower farming, we decided to start our own little cut flower farm. Paul and I own and operate Foothills Flowers in Van Zandt, Washington – about 40 minutes from Bellingham.
I love farming for many reasons. It’s definitely hard work! But, I always figure – there are many hard things in the world, and flower farming may be one of the most enjoyable. I love that my days are spent outside, and that I notice the seasons as they change. I love being surrounded by color; working with my hands each day, crop planning, bouquet making, planting, and weeding. Paul and I are continuously amazed that we get to grow flowers and share them with our community.
We grow flowers on a little under 1 acre. Currently, we grow a mix of annuals and are expanding our perennial and biennial plots this season. This season we’re growing an array of beautiful amaranth, dahlias, zinnias, snapdragons, ageratum, sweet peas, cerinthe, bupleurum, bachelor buttons, sunflowers, phacelia, cosmos, sunflowers, rudbeckia, asters, statice, marigolds, calendula, millet, Icelandic poppies, scabiosa, and a few more gems scattered about.
We have two fields. Our first field is smaller and home to our early crops – sweet peas, dianthus, bachelor buttons and Icelandic poppies alongside early successions of Irish Eyes rudbeckia, marigolds, and sunflowers.
Our second field is bursting with blooms this time of year. Snapdragons are still trucking along, the zinnias have started in full force, and the sunflowers are making themselves known day after day.
I’ve been really impressed by our amaranth crops this year – both the Opopeo amaranth and the Hot Biscuits are over 6.5 feet tall! It’s pretty fun to gaze at them swaying in the summer breeze.
In addition to selling flowers at the Fairhaven Farmers Market, we sell and arrange flowers for weddings in Western Washington. It’s such a beautiful job to work on wedding flowers. I love working with couples to create their vision. We recently arranged flowers for this beautiful wedding in Poulsbo – I love the textures and colors that came together in these bouquets.
Flowers are such a treat to grow. They make great companions to a vegetable garden, and do splendidly on their own as well. If you’re just starting out, here are some lovely flowers that grow well when direct seeded: bachelor buttons, calendula, sunflowers, phacelia, cosmos, nasturtiums, amaranth, zinnias, sweet peas, larkspur, ammi, poppies, and nigella (just to name a few!). And of course – dahlias. What garden is complete without a few of these majestic blooms? There are many wonderful flower resources; one of my current favorites is ‘The Flower Farmer’s Year’ by Georgie Newberry.
When I’m not flower farming, I love to take in the beauty of Western Washington. The islands are my favorite and the mountains too. Part of me is looking forward to fall, when I’ll have the opportunity to hike more. Currently, I’m dreaming of the Yellow Aster Butte trail. But during this busy season, I love to swim in the Nooksack River and take evening walks – looping through the foothills. Happy gardening!