HOW WE GROW
SMALL-SCALE || SUSTAINABLE || BOUTIQUE || LOCAL
HOW WE GROW AT SEVEN STEMS FLOWERS
At Seven Stems Flowers we focus on a small-scale, high intensity model of production to yield our seasonal blooms. Based on the findings of flower farmer and author, Lynn Byczynski and brought to life right before our eyes by Erin Benzakein of Floret in Washington’s Skagit Valley, this boutique and sustainable model of flower growing is a far cry from the idea that you can only succeed in farming if you have massive acreage that goes on for miles.
The techniques in small-scale high intensity farming focus on soil fertility, tight plant spacing and of course a succession planting plan that has changed the game for us. (If you want to learn about succession planting, check this out.) By adopting these boutique methods of cultivation, we are able to double our production and focus our efforts on growing the healthiest, most beautiful luxury cut flowers for our customers. In addition, we find these techniques are contributing two-fold to the biodiversity of our surroundings. By growing sustainably and without large equipment, we find that our soil structure is balanced and the microorganisms in it are thriving; we see bee activity escalate with each different crop we plant (they love scabiosa flowers something fierce!); and we know that we’re respecting the bounties that Mother Nature has so generously given to us.
Here at Seven Stems Flowers, we don’t call our field a farm (actually we call it a patch!). We tend nearly an acre of beautiful soil predominantly by hand: seeding, weeding, laying fabric, brewing compost tea, cutting, processing and labeling. About half of our plot is dedicated to annual flowers, the rest is made up of perrenial plantings, woodies and medicinal plants. We don’t have fancy equipment and greenhouses (one day!) that go on for days. We tamp stakes by hand, lay out frost cloth late at night and haul reels of landscape fabric up and down hills. We do it all! You’ll find us digging in the dirt every day of the week and celebrating that we can put so much love into each and every crop we grow. In turn you get the most unique and glorious blooms to enjoy all season long.
WHY BUYING LOCAL MATTERS
Have you ever wondered what went wrong when you buy a beautiful bouquet at your grocery store, bring it home, arrange it for your special dinner party and wake up the next day to murky yellow water, a funny smell and a vase full of wilted and flopped flowers? Chances are, those flowers you’ve just purchased only 24 hours ago were at the absolute end of their life cycle. Sometimes for days in boxes and without water, the flowers imported for mass supermarket and floral chains are anything but worth it. So that deal for the $7.99 bunch of tulips you felt so good about, was really just the off-sell of half rotted ready-to-croak mush. Not a deal in the end at all.
While the US gets a good amount of their flowers shipped from California, still nearly 90% of specific varieties of cut flowers are imported from all over the world: Amsterdam for tulips, Israel for peonies, Japan for sweet peas and Colombia for roses. That’s a long journey for a living thing with a very specific cellular makeup.
Think of your skin after a 4 hour plane ride 39,000 feet in the air. If you haven’t pre-hydrated, then continued your hydration efforts during the flight, when you step off the tarmac at your destination you feel (and most times look!) like a raisin—dried up and droopy. Just like we have to hydrate from the inside out and the outside in (shout out to hydrosols, right?!) flowers do much the same, drinking through their petals, drawing up nutrients through their stems and protecting their prized internal ecosystem (their seeds and pollen) at all cost. So just as we dry out on our journeys, the flowers taking that same trip are even worse off.
After a flower is grown there is a great deal of care to cutting and processing it so that beautiful bloom gets to you in the most ideal condition. When you buy locally, not only are you supporting small local businesses and reducing your global footprint, but you are participating in the local ecosystem around us and in turn purchasing the most reliable product with your hard-earned cash. When it comes to fruits, vegetables and flowers, local should be the only way to go.
SEVEN STEMS FLOWERS TOP 7 (of course!) REASONS TO BUY IN SEASON, LOCAL CUTS:
1. For every bunch of mass-store bought imported flowers you buy, a grower in your area will need to cultivate 33 seedling trees for 10 years to even out the carbon emissions from the transportation of that bunch of flowers. * (A note about Carbon Emissions: more carbon emissions = a larger global footprint. A larger global footprint = accelerated climate change. Climate change = 70 degrees in December and a Nor’easter on the first day of spring. Get what we’re saying here!?) Let's all keep doing our part for positive change!
2. Growing flowers is an integral part of the local ecosystem. By purchasing locally grown flowers you are contributing to the biodiversity of the pollens, beneficial insects and natural soil conditioning that happens with sustainable production.
3. The flowers that you buy from Seven Stems Flowers spend approximately 90 seconds out of water their entire lifecycle. They are harvested directly into water, then put in the cooler to drink and arranged and ready for you to pick up.
4. Buying seasonal and local means you’ll get what you can’t find at the grocery store. We specialize in growing dahlias and heirloom variety flowers and fillers not often seen in your ordinary chain. This is what we mean when we say luxury blooms. If we can't grow it we will use our network of other local flower farmers to supplement our shortcomings.
5. We grow our flowers as responsibly as possible without synthetic chemicals or pesticides. We use the most natural methods of fertilization, pest control and cultivation. Yep, safety first!
6. We’re real people! We love this community here in Chester County and hope you do too! Buying local means that we are working together to strengthen our community and to continue to invest in the future of our land.
7. Fresh flowers are beautiful! Research shows that fresh flowers in your home work on the cognitive receptors in your brain and have the ability to effectively improve moods. See, “flower power” really is a thing!