I’ve never been a business woman before. This is my first foray into that arena. Though it is different in many ways from my career as a college professor, I have seen one significant similarity, and it has to do with the reason I am doing this work. As a professor, honestly, I did the work because one of my college professors made me feel like I was more capable than I had ever imagined. He made literature fascinating and fun, and I wanted to be like him. I wanted to make other students feel exactly as he had made me feel. So I learned all of my students’ names, tried to remember what their interests were, and when I came across stories or articles that I knew would resonate with a particular student, I shared them. And I tried to make literature relatable. I simply wanted to them to feel significant and to make a positive impact. And when I felt that I wasn’t making enough of an impact, I decided it was time to leave.
Now here I am as a flower farmer. I have met most of my clients. I know a little bit about each of them. When I’m out in the fields cutting for their bouquets, I think, “Oh, Liz will love this one. This one is for Liz.” I think about those flowers in people’s houses, and I hope that they make people feel good. I hope they are making a positive impact.
So who exactly am I growing my flowers for? I’m growing them for the person who maybe puts herself last and could benefit from a little bit of self-care. I’m growing them for the spouse who wishes he could do something special for his partner. I’m growing them for the young girl who has a flair for floral design and an insatiable appetite for learning about flowers. I’m growing them for the people who say, “You know, today I’m going to donate my bouquet to the nursing home” or “I’m going to give my friend a bouquet membership as a gift.” I’m growing them for anyone who simply wants a little more beauty and light in their life or to create that for others. I’ve seen examples of all of these things while running this farm. And in growing these flowers, I’m also seeing that a kind of community is developing around them. I’m seeing women connect at the workshops. I’m seeing people tap into their own creativity and artistic ability. I’m seeing them surprise themselves with what they can create. I’m seeing people smile and laugh together.
I think beauty and good are prolific, and I think flowers are the embodiment of both. So as I grow my flowers from seed all the way to being cut for a bouquet, I hope that they will do something to make people feel good and to share that feeling. As this season begins to wind down and I start seeds to plant in a few short weeks for next season, it’s the people I’m growing for and the impact my flowers might have on them that I am thinking about most.