Bea is the farmer-florist behind everything that happens at Summer Roads. She has always had a passion for farming, the environment, and everything living. She believes that bringing a local flowers to her community is a way of fulfilling all those passions.
Sue is the land owner and endless encourager and support in every possible way to Summer Roads. From field work, problem solving, emotional support when things get rough Sue is the anchor that keeps everything running smoothly.
The Flower Farm
I got started in the flower business by mistake. I have always loved agriculture but I focused mostly on livestock. I studied Ecological Restoration in school and wanted to try my hand at restoring a small piece of land that had had driveway fill dumped on it. The drive way fill sat there for several years mostly gravel and not growing anything. I tried putting pigs on it to try and put some nutrients back into it from their manure and hoped they would be able to turn some of it over and reduce its compaction. This kind of worked but mostly was unsuccessful. The next year I decided I better get some plants in there to get the ground covered. I dug trenched in the compacted soil with a pick axe because the ground was so hard. I added composted horse manure to the mostly gravely soil. Then I went into our seed collection and decided to plant anything that was in there that was a flower. From there the idea of flower farming started to form. The soil was far from perfect but it grew some beautiful flowers. I wanted to make it even more productive now. I changed my focus from livestock to flowers. I have not abandoned the livestock though. I still rely on them heavily for nutrients. I still raise horses, chickens, and ducks. I compost their manure along with other organic materials and create more compost that feeds my flowers and plants.
On the farm every decision is an open conscious conversation. At the table are my environmental ethic, the realities of running a business, and the social justice we want for this world. We support local businesses whenever possible. We support businesses with good social responsibility (Eg. Johnny’s Seeds is employee owned). We grow our flowers in an environmentally conscious way. By supporting our flowers you are being a part of that conversation in which we try and produce a beautiful product for the beautiful world, we love.
A memory of flowers:
Every year on May 8th I get up early in the morning and head over to a favourite spot of mine. For days before I have been driving by in hopes of seeing a developing sea of yellow. I have packed with me a jar or water, some snips, my rubber boots, a shovel, a couple pots and a tarp. When I get there, I spread the tarp out in the back of my car. I put on my rubber boots and start to wonder into the sea of yellow. A wetland full of Marsh Marigolds. I dig up a couple of smaller plants, and cut a big bouquet and put them in my car. I drive back home and plant the plants in a wet area in our backyard, that can be seen from the house. I put the bright yellow flowers in a blue and white jug and place them on the table with breakfast. This is my yearly birthday present to my mother. As we eat birthday breakfast with the fresh bouquet in front of us and the new additions to our outdoor patch seen through the window, my mum always tells me about her memories of a house from her childhood that had a sea of yellow behind it. One day there will be a sea of yellow outside our window too and they will always remind me of my mother and the stories she told me.
I hope that our flowers can be part of the memories that you make with your friends, family, and self.