Wednesday, June 3, 2015 | Linda and Roy Doan of Aunt Willie’s Wildflowers grow on beautiful Tennessee farm land gently handed down through six generations. They began growing and selling flowers for the Kingsport Farmer’s Market then added design workshops on the farm taking advantage of their old farm houses/buildings. The Homeplace was built in 1870 and Aunt Willie’s brick bungalow in 1939 and both are wonderful houses to share with flower folk. When it comes to wedding flowers, “getting to be a part of such a special day in a young life is a responsibility and privilege I take very seriously. I think what we’ve learned through it all is that life is still about relationships and flowers have happily allowed us to foster lifelong relationships with folk we might not otherwise have known whether whether that be customers or farm kids working with us. And I still marvel at each perfect and imperfect flower after all the hard work is done!” Be sure to check out our other Grower Spotlight stories and find a flower farmer near you in our Grower Directory!
Grower Spotlight | Aunt Willie’s Wildflowers
What flowers do you specialize in?
This is the first year we have not sold at market but rather just weddings and events and that has slightly altered our plantings. Instead of buckets of market-hardy dianthus and sunflowers, we now grow many bouquet feature flowers such as peonies, lisianthus, hydrangea, and dahlias, fillers of bupleurum, gooseneck, sweet peas, and ammi, and accents and trailers such as clematis, apple mint, tiny zinnias, and feverfew. We still grow over 70 varieties but many in smaller quantities.
How long have you been a flower farmer?
About ten years ago, after my husband Roy mowed the hay on our 200 acre family farm I would cut field flowers and put them in tupperware pitchers in the shade before I ran the tedder. I arranged them and took them to church and friends. Our neighbor suggested we try selling them. Sooo, we put a little stand out along the roadside at Aunt Willie’s house with a sign and a money tin. No one bought any of our flowers but someone stole our wooden stand! We decided it might be safer to try a farmers’ market and that was the beginning. We made $38 the first day and we were hooked! We then joined ASCFG and learned all we could about what and how to grow.
What is your favorite flower or plant to grow? Why?
I’m afraid I’m usually in love with whatever’s bloomin’ now, but dahlias are such proud and sassy girls they’re hard not to love the most. On the smaller side, sweet peas kinda steal my heart with the first very first scented bloom every spring.
AUNT WILLIE’S WILDFLOWERS
farm address: 385 Bruce Doan Road // Blountville, Tennessee 37617
Facebook: Aunt Willie’s Wildflowers
Each week on Field to Vase we feature a domestic flower grower dedicated to the seasonal flower movement in the United States. Do you know, support, and love a local farmer? Let us know, by leaving us a comment or contacting us! We’d love to spotlight them in our weekly column and in our Grower Directory.
We really believe that it’s going to take all of us working together to create a cultural shift in the flower industry. If you’d like to be part of this movement we would absolutely love to work with you. Consider contributing a piece on the Field To Vase blog, please use the form on the contact page or email the editor directly at email@example.com.