Flower farms have been blooming all over Oklahoma. And, much like the delightful products they grow, they come in a rainbow of varieties: Some allow for customers to visit and pick flowers themselves, while others sell pre-picked and selected bouquets to clients or for special events. And while this may sound like a simple, pleasant afternoon in the garden, there is really quite a bit that goes into being a flower farmer.
Kristin Davenport, who owns and manages Simple Acre Farm and Flowers with her husband Joel, turned to flowers for comfort as a teen after losing both parents. She remembers carefully drying and pressing many of the flowers after the funeral.
“They just gave me something to love and appreciate during a pretty hard time,” she says. “It was just kind of my thing, and it gave me a way to reach people when they were hurting.”
She also has fond memories of working in the garden with her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Now, Davenport enjoys sharing that joy with others. She and her family grow varieties such as sunflowers, zinnias, snapdragons and sweet william on their farm in Pocasset, near Chickasha. Simple Acres offers flower bouquet subscriptions in the fall and spring, and they are working toward opening a wholesale location for their blooms.
The process to get flowers from seeds to bouquets is time-intensive. Davenport has to prepare the soil, start all the seeds before planting them in the ground, run drip lines for irrigation and, of course, focus on weed and pest management.
Terri Barr, owner and farmer at Wild Lark Farm in Claremore, agrees that managing a flower farm is no walk in the park.
“There is a lot of science involved, [and] there’s a lot of physical labor that’s involved,” she says. “It’s a lot of work out there.”
Barr, who grew up on a farm in Kansas, grows everything from tulips to larkspur to dahlias and heirloom mums, and primarily provides blooms for weddings and events. Wild Lark Farm also provides some flower subscriptions. Barr keeps up with event and wedding color trends, and grows lots of white, peach and pink for those, as well as bright pinks and oranges for other events.
“I have the staples that a lot of people grow as well; the things that grow really well here,” she says. “But then I like to try new things, see what will happen.”
All in all, growing the blooms is a labor of love for both farmers.
“When things are going well, it’s beautiful out there, and then I’m able to share some of that beauty with a lot of people,” says Barr. “That feels good.”
Davenport contines: “Life is hard! But you’ve got to take the beauty while you can, and appreciate what you’ve got.”