Heatwaves, wildfires and winter approaching: The realities of flower farming

Hi Friends! We hope you are staying safe this weekend. For those of you on the west coast, we're thinking of you during these horrific wildfires, and we're wishing you and your family safety. It is such a sobering and helpless feeling to see so much devastation.

Our farm is not in any danger of the fires, but we’re really feeling the effects. The sky has been blanketed in thick smoke for the past week. Last weekend it was 110-118 degrees and now it’s unseasonably dark and cool since the sun can’t break through all the smoke. Thankfully the air quality at the ground is okay and we can continue to work. Our roses are blooming a bit slower than usual since they’re not getting the sunlight and warmth they’re accustomed to, but it could be so much worse and we’re very thankful.

This is the time of year that we have to really push as a farm. Our season is on the downswing and before we know it, we’ll be pruning our roses on January 1st for next April’s spring flush. I’m not going to lie; winter is tough and I approach it with a certain degree of dismay. In September and October we cut every last rose we grow so we can save to get through the winter months. Our expenses continue even though our income stops sometime in the fall and doesn’t resume until April. That’s farming. It’s a seasonal business. All these intense weather events for the past 6 weeks have had us so worried, not only for the health and safety of those living in the west, but also for our farm. Our income-producing season is winding down and the weather needs to be as close to perfect for us to maximize the weeks we have left of our roses blooming. Life has felt really hard; I’ve been trying to adjust my attitude and know better days are ahead, but it’s honestly been really tough when so much is out of our control.

It can feel ironic at times: we receive messages everyday from people saying how poetic and dreamy our life is, and so I want to be truthful about the entire picture. The beauty we cultivate is fleeting, and the physical and emotional toll of farming is steep. We are always chasing the sun and trying to grow and sell as many roses as we can while we have them because those cold and long winter months come every year. Add in managing pests and disease during our growing season and it’s much more complicated than people think.

We wrote about our rose season in detail here - it is about 30 weeks long - and that means the rest of the year, we are without roses and without an income. And I write all this from the absolute best rose growing climate in North America. No matter where you grow, there are challenges totally out of the grower’s control. So what does this mean for Grace Rose Farm?

Ryan and I have been beyond blessed during our five years of growing garden roses. Our business took off and has grown past what we ever expected and we are so grateful for all the support we’ve been given. At the same time though, we haven’t taken a vacation in five years, have put off renovating our 1978 home and we waited a very long time to have a family because of the stress of farming and needing to conserve our resources for winter. We have been working the past year to lessen our burden. We don’t want all of our income to come from cut roses. Growing perfect, wedding quality roses for 30 weeks of the year, packing them in boxes and handing them over to FedEx is stressful in a way that’s difficult to describe unless you’re a flower grower and shipper. We’re people pleasers to our cores, so having a business with so much out of our control is not easy. We have come up with a way to continue to grow our roses and get them to more people all around the world!

We love our life and adore our roses. Our plants provide so much for us and the people who get to enjoy them as cut flowers. From two people who never thought they would be farmers, this unique life we live is better than we ever dreamed. We can’t wait to start telling the story of how our farm is evolving into something completely new and share what we’ve been working on for more than a year. We promise you it’s going to be worth the wait!

Thank you to each and every person who has supported our farm this year. Everyday we look through our orders and consistently see the names of people who have placed 5, 10, 15 or more orders since spring. Whether one dozen or one hundred dozen, we are incredibly grateful to you for keeping our farm thriving during these unprecedented times we are all experiencing. We send our most sincere thanks.

Xx, Gracie

David Austin Garden Roses

The world's most loved and cherished garden roses for English breeder, David Austin.

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