I didn’t think I was going to be a flower farmer at all.
I bought my first house in Goshen in 2012 and got an acre of land I hadn’t been expecting. I had been looking for something small and easy to maintain because it was just me, but I loved the house. All I could see were gardens and chickens and hanging out with friends in the backyard.
Honestly, part of it was, ‘I don’t want to mow this. What else can I do with it?’ But also, ‘How can I be a good steward of this land in the city? How can I use this land in the most useful and productive way?’
The house really became an opportunity to play around with stuff outdoors.
I began finding the little microclimates in my acre and how different things would grow on it.
And I have these multi-use trails that border my property on two sides, so I see people walking and biking all the time, people I know. I will see them later and they will say, ‘It’s so beautiful.’ It’s a situation that most people don’t get to see because usually, these farms are in rural areas.
There are so many fancy flowers that everyone is used to having in flower shops — a whole lot of things that I don’t have. The purpose for me was to see what I could do — not just with the least amount of work, but with the least amount of damage to the ground.
‘Damage’ is a harsh word, but for me it was how I can use my time and resources most effectively, and that was with perennials. For me it’s more about starting with small plants and nurturing them until they are producing flowers to supply a wedding or an event, or even a bouquet for a funeral.
Until 2020, I was only selling wholesale. When COVID hit, I started a subscription service making bouquets to get through. I’m also trying to push more greenery. Last winter was probably the first time I started selling my white pine and boxwood.
The Petaled Branch is much more than flowers. It’s more about finding the interesting textures and colors from all parts of plants — and nature.
– Andrea Milne, owner, The Petaled Branch
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This summer, we're taking a look at some of the small farms and urban gardens you'll only find in Goshen! More stories to come through September.
Written and edited by Wendy Wilson
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