Earlier this Spring, we took a rare moment to pause and smile for local photographer Liz Condo and Walter Magazine, surrounded by locally sourced blooms that would within moments be swept into the frenzy of Mother’s Day bouquet-making. We were honored to speak with the Walter team about our work, and to be featured in their July 2020 issue. Jessie Ammons Rumbley illuminated the local flower community through her verdant story about the Piedmont’s “blooming farm culture.”
The story highlights a handful of local flower farmers and sustainably-minded florists in the Triangle, acquainting readers with leaders in this artistic, hard-working, women-led community. Jessie shares helpful context about how flowers capture the hearts of those who grow them, why local matters when buying flowers, and the promising opportunity this specialty crop offers for small-scale farmers. At Wylde we have made an intentional shift in our business model over the last two years towards designing with predominantly local flowers. We hope you’ll join us in seeking out the unique inspiration and expertise of long-time flower farmers also featured in this story, who have inspired us since our early days in the business—namely, Stephanie Hall of Sassafras Fork Farm and Kelly Morrison of Color Fields Farm (also, the founder of Piedmont Wholesale Flowers).
Throughout the story, you’ll find flower-filled photos of our garden and studio spaces taken by Liz Condo, along with images of local farmers we hope you’ll come to know. It was serendipitous that Liz was available to photograph the week of Mother’s Day. After a slow and unsettling Spring following the initial COVID-19 shutdown, we finally had a studio full of flowers from our garden, Happy as a Coneflower Farm, and Parker Farm and Vineyard that would soon grace homes and celebrate moms throughout the city. A room full of fragrance and color is always a tonic for the spirit, but this year it feels especially poignant. You’ll surely recognize favorites like peonies, ranunculus, poppies, and snapdragons in the photos; keep an eye out for harder to find varieties like sweet peas, scented geranium, agrostemma, and columbine. There are boundless botanical treasures to be grown and found in our abundant region. At Wylde, our striving for sustainability is not only about our carbon footprint, but about the particular beauty of this place.
The 1/8 acre garden we tend just outside of downtown Raleigh is in a borrowed space that Hannah has been cultivating organically for five seasons. Growing our own flowers (as well as buying from other local growers to supplement our supply) lends inspiration to our natural aesthetic, minimizes exposure to toxic chemicals, reduces our costs of operation, deepens the quality and novelty of the products we offer, opens our options to work with rare and delicate blooms that don’t ship well, shrinks our carbon footprint, grants us more time outside during the work week, and helps us keep our dollars in the local economy, supporting other women-owned businesses. The more we learn and grow as floral designers, the more important sustainability has become as we envision the kind of business we want to build, the kind of community we want to be part of, and the kinds of farming practices we want to support and practice through our work.
We encourage you to remember your local flower farmers next time you’d like to liven up your table or plan an intimate gathering. Local markets like Carrboro Farmers’ Market, Durham Farmers’ Market, South Durham Farmers’ Market, Midtown Farmers’ Market, Moore Square Farmers’ Market, and Downtown Cary Farmers’ Market are treasure troves of high quality, sustainably grown blooms. You can also shop with us for weekly garden bouquets and flower buckets at shop.wylde.co during the growing season. There is such gratifying, grounding joy to be found in growing and working with flowers, and we hope you’ll weave more locally grown flowers into your own life after learning more about this colorful portion of the Piedmont farming community.