Kate Sparks of Lilies and Lavender
Located in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Lilies and Lavender is a sustainably managed cut flower farm and design studio that has provided beautiful, locally grown flowers and natural, eco-chic wedding floral designs to the greater Philadelphia metro area since 1998. Lilies and Lavender uses organic methods of flower production in order to protect customers, workers—and pets—from harmful chemicals. Locally grown flowers tell a story and are tied to their community. Kate is the human connection behind every flower and floral design at Lilies and Lavender. She has her certiﬁcate in ﬂoral design from Longwood Gardens and has been a proud member of the Association Of Specialty Cut Flower Growers and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture since 2000.
Tell us about yourself and your business:
Started in 2000, grew mainly flowers to sell at flowers farmers markets…now moving to weddings.
Tell me about your first gardening experience?
As a kid would plant packets of vegetables –
What does organic gardening/earth friendly mean to you?
Stewards of planet
Who or what inspired u to start using organic techniques?
Rodale’s in Emmaus at Rodale soil class and composting…
How did you learn how to garden organically?
Read a lot of books
Tell us about something that grew well this year.
3 acres, 2 heated greenhouses, 2 cold frames, fields and beds of vegetables
Is there something you would do different next year?
Planting more perenials…
Tell me about something that didn’t work so well this season.
Perfect this past season … salvias
Something that you find is easy to grow and is generally successful every-time
Not dahlias – weather dependent don’t grow well in rain.
Grow lilies in crates with bagged soil in greenhouse (soil with lots of rain leads to disease)
Something you would steer new gardeners away from that you find is typically challenging to grow in your climate.
A favorite tool that you like to use? If you had to move and could only take one tool with you what would it be.
A favorite internet resource?
A favorite reading material-book, mag, blog/website etc you can
If you have a business to you have any advice for our listeners about how to sell extra produce or get started in the industry?
Growing flowers is the esay part, selling them is the hard part.
Know your market this determines what you will grow.
Start with annuals…zinnias, marigolds, grand prenia aguratums…
Join the Association of Specialty Cut Flowers Growers it will pay for itself many times over…read a lot of books before you start…talk to people who are flower farmers ….
Do you have an inspiration tip or quote to help motivate our listeners to reach into that dirt and start their own garden?
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