A Season of Gratitude and Abundance

     As the 2016 growing season comes to a close I thought I would write a few reflections. I am still pinching myself most mornings when I rise with the sun and walk the rows. It's my morning routine, hot tea in hand and a stroll to see what has changed overnight. My rose walk is my most sacred and special time with God. It's my time to say Thank you. Never did I imagine all that would transpire over the last 3 years. This year we have been blessed to expand our customer base  to incredible floral creatives in Columbus, Ohio, our state's capitol, and also in Cincinnati who continues to be so good to us. In addition, we were honored to work with local, historic Indian Creek Distillery at Staley Mill Farm and artisan mixologist, Sailor Retro, who created rose water and invented a seasonal rose infused cocktail. Our roses also made their debut at local boutique bakery, Sweet by Kristy and were featured in cupcakes and cookies…rose buttercream and rose petal sugar?! Yes, please!! A very talented watercolor artist, Rajovilla, used our roses in a watercolor design study with students who came to paint them and learn her technique.  For the first time our roses were entered into our local Miami County Fair Flower Show and won ribbons for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Best of Show. Finally, we also hosted our first Twilight U-Cut for florists. They came, gathered roses, enjoyed some floral fellowship and noshed on Sweet by Kristy's yummy Orange Honey Rose cupcakes.  So.Much.Abundance. So.Much.Gratitude.

    Moving forward, I'm looking forward to the change of seasons and time spent in my kitchen cooking for my family, making bath teas with our dried herbs and rose petals, and planning for next year.  I end this reflection, humbled, and most thankful for the outpouring of support from our local flower community. In the 1950's my great grandfather, Charles Dewey, owned a grocery store, Dewey's Market, in downtown Troy, my hometown. Above the door was a sign (yes, I have it. :)) that read "Through these portals pass our customers, our friends." My family and I want to say….. Thank you, Friends. 

A Flower Shop Hop: Meeting Neighborhood Florists

Checking out at the grocery the other day I couldn't help but notice the abundance of people in line with their Valentines Day gifts. The floral department was sea of shiny balloons, stuffed animals, candy bar vase arrangements and bouquets that left little to be desired if you ask me. The next day I read an article in the Washington Post that stated flowers shops are in the decline often losing out to big box stores and online retailers. No!! I thought to myself. It can't be. Isn't anything the way it used to be anymore!?  And by that I mean people having personal connections with the shopkeepers in their community. My great grand-father owned a grocery store on our town square, called Dewey's Market. Above the door was a sign that said "Through these portals enter our customers, our friends."  So today I set out to visit some neighborhood flower shops in hopes of bringing light and awareness to the issue and to help encourage folks to support their local flower shops this week. 

 I decided for this time I would head south starting in Tipp City and end my day in Cincinnati.  Before becoming a rose farmer I spent the last 5 years working in a quaint flower shop called Carriage House Florist located in Tipp City, Ohio. Remember the bookstore in the movie, "You've Got Mail?  The shop was cozy, small, the bell on the door jingled when you opened it. Meg Ryan and her customers were bonded like family. This is exactly Carriage House. The Carriage House was moved by owners Steve and Sally Watson from a property in town where a beautiful Queen Anne Victorian sadly burnt to the ground in a fire. The Watson's saw the potential, had it saved, moved and restored to become the shop that it is today. Inside you'll find gorgeous terrariums, a wide selection of pots from makers like Campo di Fiori, house plants, fresh cut flowers and various gifts for the gardening aficionado . The shop offers full service floral design for weddings, events, funerals, and every day occasions.  You can place your Valentine's Day order by calling 937-669-4090. The shop is located at 4 N. Second St. Tipp City, Ohio 45371

My next stop took me to The Oakwood Florist located at 2313 Far Hills Avenue in Oakwood. Shop owner Mimi and her mother purchased the shop in 2004. The flower shop has been in business since 1950 and is still in the original location. Customers will find a wide selection of fresh cut flowers along with traditional gift items.  The shop is open M-F 9:00-5:00 and Sat. 9-3. The Oakwood Florist can be reached at 937-293-1196 or  on the web at www.oakwoodflorist.com 

My next destination, Far Hills Florist located at 278 N. Main St., Centerville, Ohio, was a something out of a magazine. When you walk in, it's as if you stepped into an English garden filled with topiaries, plants, a gigantic cooler with a vast selection of fresh cut flowers and all kinds of beautiful gifts. There's nooks everywhere you turn including cozy chairs with fluffy pillows. I wanted to just sit and drink a cup of tea and browse for hours through their gorgeous gardening/home decor book collection. Owner Barbara Schneider said she wanted her shop to be filled with things that make people happy and let me tell you I think she's mastered that. I wanted one of everything in there. You can order your Valentine's Day flowers from here by calling 937-439-0314.

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Finally, the last stop in Centerville was Morning Sun Florist. I can think of one word that describes this shop…Exquisite.  Dim lights, exotic orchids and plants nestled in Campo di Fiori pots, unique fresh cut flowers, Juliska glass, and gorgeous botanical home decor accessories all set in a space straight out of an Isabella Kirkland painting. Morning Sun Florist is located at 11 S. Main St., Centerville. Flowers can be ordered by calling 937-434-8090.

On to Hamilton, Ohio to visit Two Little Buds.  Owners Mindy and her mom, Alice are in high demand for weddings and events. Mindy has become a huge advocate and supporter of the American grown and locally grown flower movement so much so she has started her own flower farm called Morning Sun Flower Farm, ( no relation to Morning Sun florist).  I love her unique way of utilizing different textures and color pallets. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram if you're not already. Two Little Buds is located at Bridegwater Falls, 3431 Princeton Rd #103, Hamilton, Ohio  45011. Order your one of a kind Valentine's Day flowers by calling 513- 737-8527. 

Robin Wood Flowers (RWF) was the last stop of my day. Located near Xavier University at 1902 Dana Ave, in Cincinnati, RWF is a flower fanatic's dream come true. Right upon entering the shop you are greeted by thousands of stems of all different types of flowers in all shades imagined. The blooms are literally front and center so you can immediately begin to immerse yourself in an out of this world floral experience by touching, smelling, and putting together your own bouquet if you want. I can spot a RWF bouquet a mile away. They truly are something special to give and receive. RWF offers classes too but register quickly because they do fill up. Flowers can be ordered by calling RWF at 513-531-5590. 

I hope this journal entry leaves you filling inspired to go meet and connect with your local florist not just this week but always. I look forward to completing more Flower Shop Hops and sharing them with you here.  May your week be filled with gratitude, love and peace.  

-Rose Girl

Long Time No See

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Oh my lands…what a season we had. I pictured myself having all kinds of free time to write and share our rose farming journey but boy was I thrown for a loop! The season started in May with building rose beds, designing for weddings, and the arrival of 100 bare root rose bushes on our front porch. Looking like a bunch of sticks, I had no idea the bounty we would be blessed with over the summer.  There is nothing like rising with the sun, grabbing a cup of tea, walking the rows to see what will be blooming for the day, and inhaling whiffs of the most sweet smelling fragrance.  After 43 years of searching and finding my way back to that picture of me capturing the beauty of that peony bush (see the Roots page) I have arrived. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting my dream. 

Welcome 2015

As I sit here waiting the first snow storm of the season I am filled with joy and excitement for all that 2015 is already bringing.  Weddings are scheduled, design plans done, speaking engagements on the calendar, and the first batch of roses are to be shipped May 4. In updating the website, I found a quote that really struck a chord in me.  

"When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy."  - Rumi

It feels so wonderful to no longer be swimming upstream, against the current and away from what I have dreamt about for years. I have kept journals since 3rd grade with writings about my nature observations, journaling about flowers and gardening, and written down aspirations of working from home with family and being outside among flowers. Thank you. Wishing you all a river of joy that flows through you and out into the  world. 

Whack-a-Mole

Our boys used to have a game when they were little called Whack-a-Mole. During this battery operated game these little plastic moles would pop up out of their holes and you had to whack them with the mallet before they popped back down. I always thought that game seemed a little cruel and the moles on the game board were cute. Since living in the country and trying to start gardens I have realized they are not cute and now I totally understand the object of that game.  Our yard has become a road map of raised brown tunnels. I spent all day weeding and planting a small bed behind our house only to come out in the morning and to see everything up rooted I just planted the day before.  This is a major concern and one that will have me contacting my local extension office in the morning. I knew going into this there would be successes and failures…peaks and valleys….all of which will provide lessons that I shall remain grateful for having the opportunity to learn.  This has pushed back our rose planting till Spring 2015 as we decide and learn how to deal with this. I am thinking rows of raised beds may be best. If any of you have any thoughts or comments about how to controls moles I would love to hear from you. 




Field Research

 This time of year is the opportune time to go hunting for old roses…..the kind that bloom for decades despite neglect, draught, wind, hail storms, blizzards…..you name it…..the kind I dream of filling our someday rose farm with. There are two places you can usually find them shining bright like diamonds in the rough, old cemeteries and older neighborhoods. This morning I decided to take a stroll  through a neighborhood I know well from doing home visits when I was a social worker. I have sat with many families on their front porches listening to their stories and have often wondered what is the story behind the roses that seem to give the homes a long desired hug with their long climbing, rambling canes. These roses are like ruby gems….pops of color..against these sleepy, worn houses. From what I have been able to gather and I am not a formal rosarian by any means, these dark red roses could very well be Dr. Huey roses first bred by Captain George C. Thomas in 1914 and introduced by Bobbink and Atkins in 1920. These roses are among the most common to be found among abandoned gardens and lots. They were widely planted in the 1940's when the Great Depresssion ended and the war was over. Dr. Hueys feature around 15 cup shaped petals and when open show a cluster of bright yellow stamens in the center. Once they put on their brilliant show they are done, often losing their foliage to a common rose disease known as black spot. Though their performance is short, blooming in late Spring, their encore will never cease to amaze again and again.  Information on these roses was gathered from www.hedgerowrose.com/rose-gardening/2011/06/08/growing-dr-huey/rose . You can also read more about this special rose there. If any of you have any more information on these roses please feel free to share. 

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New Beginnings

Welcome to Rose Girl's Farm Journal. I look forward to sharing our journey with you as we develop a fresh cut rose farm. It's my personal mission to join the locally grown flower movement and to be able to offer field to vase arrangements while supporting some very special women along the way. This will be my online visual diary where I will be writing about roses, their name and their story. Thank You for joining me!