A day in the life of a new floral business

I thought it might be interesting to let people know how a typical day goes for me since I launched in March, diving in head first without a clue how to run a floral design business!

Basically, orders come in through many different avenues - email, online submission through our website, Instagram, Facebook, and phone. As soon as I see the order I check what I have flower-wise. This is much easier whenever I have my own plants in bloom, such as tulips in early spring, or the many varieties of flowers that should be blooming soon. In that in-between stage between tulips and summer plants I often have to source flowers from local farms, people's yards (with permission of course! Did you know that plant stealing is actually a pretty big problem in Hamilton?), or from wholesalers who carry local products (brought in from farms around Ontario). Ordering from the farms or from wholesalers means I have to buy in large-ish quantities, and drive out to pick up my order. I want to move as much away from this as possible next year, and really concentrate on using the flowers available in the city. But with unpredictable weather it can be out of my control. The new greenhouse that we got should help though!

So, I put together the bouquets, always striving for interesting mixes of texture and colour. This takes the longest, so I like to dedicate evenings to it (you are supposed to harvest flowers in the evening, jsuk, as it is the coolest thereby preventing the flowers from going into shock), I normally have a glass or two of wine and put on music in my studio and enjoy.  I then slip them into sleeves, put stickers on, and keep them in the cooler until it's time to deliver. Full disclosure, I have been using my cold basement as a cooler, but we are getting a florist's cooler in the next couple weeks!

Weekends can be crazy because I sell in a couple of retail stores, which means I am regularly preparing larger orders, along with any individual orders that come in. The subscription service we offer is a great organizational tool - with set times during the month for each customer I can really plan ahead for design and delivery. Orders for floral crowns come in pretty steadily, often for photographers, but also for events and even sometimes just for an individual's weekend plans. I handle those in a similar way to the bouquets, but generally with more back and forth with the client in order to make sure I am meeting their vision while balancing including my own style in the crown. Weddings are a whole other deal, so I'll do a separate post about those down the line!

Other than that, I spend a lot of time on Instagram, reading up on flower farming, and studying pictures of beautiful arrangements to soak up their secrets. 

Planting time!

I'm exhausted after a day of planting, and I have the rest of the week ahead of me! But, it's a beautiful time, where there is enough already growing so that I can put together a complete arrangement using all my own flowers and foliage. I've done as much of that as I could throughout the early spring, but always had to supplement with some locally-sourced blossoms. I'm super thankful for my late-blooming specialty tulips, because they offer a stunning full bloom when other tulips are done, and before most other plants have flowers. 

It's nice to buckle down in the dirt after a hectic Mother's Day weekend. How lucky am I to work in the peacefulness of nature, with cardinals, robins, blue jays, squirrels, and my puppers for company? I wouldn't trade this new life of mine for anything!

My seedlings have been growing under grow lights for weeks now, and they are thriving now that they are out in the sun, even though many of them are still in their containers and not yet in the ground. It's a race against the clock for me now, as I try to get everything planted before they get too big for their containers! I'm a bit worried about my sweet peas .. they were one of the earliest seedlings to get nice and big and healthy, but I had to wait until now to get them in the ground, and they aren't looking too hot. Poor little guys. But hopefully they will pull through!

Happy planting to all you gardeners out there!

Hello from Floral & Brick!

Well, choosing this cold but sunny day for my first blog post makes a lot of sense. For a first season of an urban flower farm business, it sure has been crazy weather! Frost cloth has been my friend - taking it off in a spirit of hope for a couple of days only to lug it out again has been a routine I'm actually getting used to. It won't continue like this for much longer though, right?

Hamilton may have a relatively shorter growing season than other North American locations (I'm looking at you, B.C.), but all in all it's not bad. Blossoms are out on trees already, daffodils are fully open and gorgeous, and early-blooming tulips are finally showing their colours. Our seedlings have been arching their little stems to the grow lights in a warm room for weeks now, and as soon as April 29th hits (the last frost in our area) they are going in the ground! Some are already out, hence the frost cloth, but that is more due to error than typical routine. One of our helpers (I love you Mom!) thought that since snapdragon seed is just like dust, it could just be sprinkled out and would grow fine. While a bit of sprinkling is OK, it's really important to give them space, so when I judged that they were big enough I took a risk and divided up the bunches that had grown together, and put them outside. I'll keep you posted on their progress!

I'll continue to use this blog as a way of taking you on my flower journey with me. It's a learning experience for me and my team, but a beautiful and exciting one, and I'm happy to share it. 

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