My grandfather was a gardener too, with a riot of confetti colored tulips that stretched for days across their yard, and a huge sun porch full of geraniums in clay pots, tucked beneath hanging baskets dripping Fuchsias. If memory is to be trusted, I believe my own first plants were a tiny patch of strawberries the bunnies always got to before I did. While I have now lived in Texas for a solid decade, I’m a New Englander by birth. Many of the flowers of my youth simply do not grow in this climate. Transplanting ourselves to USDA hardiness zone 8b was like learning a new language–agave, prickly pear, xeriscaping. For years I embraced this new genre of gardening, enamored with these novel, sun-tolerant plants. It wasn’t until I myself had acclimated that I started to think about cut flowers in Texas, discovering there was indeed an opportunity to grow an abundance of blooms if I planned and planted the right varieties.
We started out growing flowers on our tiny downtown corner lot in 2011. We called it, “The Petal Patch.” To produce the greatest quantity of blooms, we wove a network of flower beds all around the house and studio. We liked to think that from above, it looked as if the house is sitting upon a patchwork quilt of flowers. We grew an impressive number of blooms in the early days. The scent of sweet peas would draw passersby into the yard in Spring, and in Summer, the zinnias became a spot for folks to pull over a snap a photo. It was incredibly thrilling….but I needed more space!
After a serendipitous series of events in the Spring of 2015, we purchased seven acres of Texas Backland Prairie 18 miles Northeast of downtown. We named the property Grassdale, which was the original town name before James Manor became the Mayor and folks thought it only right to name the town after him and the sweet and appropriate name tied to the prairie landscape was forgotten. While the surrounding areas are bursting with growth and sprawl, our 7 acres still feels like a throw back to a simpler time with stands of small fruit trees, fields of wildflowers and native grasses, and a 100 year old farmhouse. It has become the place where this New England girl has gotten a little bit of the seasons back, where sunrise and sunset are a special event each and every day, where my dream of cultivating beauty has taken root and taken off.
We have our first greenhouse up, an established 3 acres of wildflowers, a “kitchen garden” full of bulbs, and a long stretch of planting space we call “The Runway.” We’ve continued to grow our staples like ranunculus, sweet peas, anemones, zinnias and nigella, while expanding and trailing varieties to create the most diverse, thriving, and gorgeous bounty we can!
We’d love to see you out on the farm! We hold seasonal workshops showcasing the stars of each Texas season. Come sit in the shade of the porch, and surround yourself with beauty!