Years ago my parents farmed the very land I now cultivate. Their first wish was to grow their own food; before long they were supplying our local farmers' market with fresh produce. Between rows of tomatoes and beans were the inevitable patches of cut flowers, my fathers favourites and my personal joy. Already as a young child, I helped my father plant the seeds. There were bold sunflowers which would tower over me. Vibrant zinnias to surround me with colour. Cheerful asters.... Together we nurtured them and watched them grow. Later we worked side by side to pick them. I remember standing on a milk crate arranging this colourful harvest in tins cans lined up on the tailgate of our truck. I was hooked.
Life circumstances changed when my mother became ill and my father began full-time work in a factory. I spent many hours at my grandmother's farm down the road where I wandered through fields picking wildflower bouquets for her and for my mother. Every June Grandma's back yard burst with peonies and I would delight in picking them. There were always flowers on our tables. On weekends my father and I would roll up our sleeves and delve back into our own garden. It was our refuge together, a source of comfort and joy, and a deep connection.
My dad was a man who understood the importance of having and creating beauty in our lives in spite of tough circumstances. Our relationship was deeply rooted in our love of growing flowers and was cultivated as we worked side by side. Our greatest joy lay in later being able to make bouquets of our flowers to bring to my mother.
Another of my fondest childhood memories was listening to my father read to me. Not surprisingly, one of our all-time favourites was the story “Miss Rumphius,” the lupine lady of Nova Scotia. He read this delightful tale by Barbara Cooney to me hundreds of times. It resonated deeply for both of us with its abundance of flowers and its message of bringing beauty to the world.
When my father passed away in 2012, my husband and I returned to the family farm. With my perennial awareness of how short life can be, I left my job as a floral designer to rediscover what flowers truly meant to me. I didn't know where this path would lead me; I was, however, certain that the best way to honour my father's memory was to find my true passion and live it. This journey, full of bumps and hurdles and unexpected turns, culminated in the founding of Dahlia May Flower Farm. I am back where it all began, farming lush and romantic cut flowers on our beautiful homestead, working out of our 1885 farmhouse. Many of these blooms are sold at the same Quinte West farmers' market where my parents sold their garden bounty all those years ago. Others may be found at farm markets and speciality stores throughout the area.
We strive to grow high quality, long-lasting, and distinctive blooms. Our flowers connect people, create memories, and bring joy. As one of my customers shared with me: “Flowers make my heart happy, it's as simple as that.” At Dahlia May Flower Farm we are committed to cultivating happy hearts, and, like Miss Rumphius, making the world more beautiful.