The farm-to-centerpiece local flower movement is building strength—if you’ve browsed through Instagram within the last hour, chances are you’ve come across a gorgeous floral arrangement or a white pickup truck bed laden with colorful dahlias.
More often than not, these dreamy flower shots are from Erin Benzakein, the founder of Floret Flower Farm, a leader of the local flower movement, and the author of the new book Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden. With equal parts instruction and inspiration, Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden invites readers and fans to step into the lush world Benzakein has crafted on her two-acre farm in Washington’s Skagit Valley.
This photography-filled guide to growing, harvesting, and arranging gorgeous blooms year-round offers tools to nurture a flower garden and use the blossoms to create striking arrangements. With tips for growing in a variety of spaces and climates, step-by-step instructions for a variety of arrangements, centerpieces, and more, Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden informs and entices gardeners of all skill levels.
Q: What has been the biggest pleasure of writing your first book?
A: Much like the flowers I grow, the idea for this book started as a tiny seed and took a lot of time, effort, and love to bring it into full bloom. Having the opportunity to pour everything I’ve learned over the last decade in my garden into its pages has been such a joy. I’m so excited to finally share it with flower lovers around the world, and hope it inspires them to grow more flowers and cultivate beauty in their own backyards.
Q: What have been some of the challenges you’ve encountered with writing a book AND running a business (and having a family)?
A: Finding enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I need to do to run a successful business has been a perennial challenge for me. Writing a book in addition to all of the tasks associated with running the farm, the business, and keeping tabs on my kids definitely had its challenges. I confess, there were more than a few moments when I felt like I was spending way too much time in front of the computer writing about flowers and not enough time in my garden actually growing flowers. Weeding, cleaning, and other chores around the farm definitely took a back seat when I was in the midst of one of my many marathon writing sessions. Thank goodness I have such a great team! They shouldered the extra load while I was hiding in my office writing for days at a time. We laugh about it all now, but in truth it was a pretty stressful and exhausting juggling act.
I also have a tendency to take on multiple big projects at the same time. In this case, as I was in the midst of the book project, I also decided to launch Floret Seeds. I have always dreamed of having my own seed line, but it was always a little further down the line. Well, that timeline got bumped up when I realized many of my favorite cut flowers varieties, the ones I was writing about in the book, are not widely available unless you’re willing to wade through obscure text-heavy catalogs organized by Latin names or spend a lot of money on bulk seeds. Most gardeners and small scale growers only need 50 to 100 seeds of a particular variety, not 1,000! My editors at Chronicle Books emphasized the importance of making the book accessible and approachable to home gardeners, so rather than substitute some of the flowers I featured, I decided to source the seeds myself. It was a huge project, and I have the book to both thank and blame for it!
Q: If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?
A: Writing a book is a lot like running a marathon. The process is long, and it’s important to pace yourself from the beginning. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned through this process is writing and capturing images are only half of what it takes to produce a successful book. The other half is making sure it finds its way into the hands of the right people and sells well. So while it feels like you should be coming up to the finish line once the first advanced copy arrives in your hands, in many ways, the race has just begun. So pace yourself, and prepare for a long journey.
Q: Why are you excited about the blog tour?
A: One of my biggest hesitations when I was first dreaming up writing a book was how on earth I would be able to leave my family and farm to go on a traditional book tour. Getting away for a long weekend takes some serious orchestrating, so the thought of being away for multiple extended amounts of time felt impossible. To combat this dilemma, we decided to try something different: a virtual book tour! This way, we can reach new audiences and new fans, all while still keeping things running smoothly here on the home front. I’m so excited to have a chance to share the beauty of flowers with so many new people.
– – –
Follow along as this group of gardeners and floral enthusiasts share different instructions, projects and inspiration from Floret Farms, and get inspired to grow your own dream garden.