Last Bloom: Earth Blooms Flower Farm
With the opening of the TD Saturday Market, we welcome the return of Earth Blooms and their bouquets: golden sunflowers peaking over the tops of burgundy dahlias and fat zinnias; black-eyed susans and purple Echinacea clustered around dainty Queen Anne’s lace and hearty, green cast-iron leaves. Earth Blooms Flower Farm, located in the rich soils around the Chattooga and Chauga watersheds in Mountain Rest, cultivates and sells high quality fresh-cut flowers and herbs using organic and sustainable methods. Additionally, the husband and wife team provides special occasion floral design, garden consultation, landscape design and other horticultural services perfect for the spring season.
Edible Upcountry recently sat down with Britt and Kelly Singer, proprietors of Earth Blooms, to talk flowers, herbs and growing a beautiful life.
What’s the first thing you grew that made you want to be a horticulturalist?
Kelly: As a child, my mother made me weed beds as a form of punishment. But I grew to enjoy it! I guess that’s what eventually evolved into my love of growing things from the earth. Sedums also amazed me…watching something bent over and seemingly dead taking root and re-growing is a pretty powerful thing to witness.
Britt: My father made us plant corn as a child. I remember being impressed that something as small as a corn seed could grow into such an enormous plant. Perhaps what I remember most, though, is that he suggested we build a scarecrow. I didn’t think much of it, honestly, and we put it off. The next day, the tiny seedlings were picked over by the birds because we had nothing to scare them away. Lesson learned.
What’s the best gardening trick you know?
Kelly: I learned to recycle cardboard into weed inhibitors. Break down your cardboard boxes, lay them onto the ground, cover with compost, and you have an easy and inexpensive way to keep those weeds from taking over your garden.
Britt: I once read in a gardening pamphlet to spread a 10% milk solution around zinnias because they are so prone to mildew spores. The solution basically eats the spores and keeps the plants healthy. Also, fish emulsion feeds the soil, encourages leaf growth, and keeps the deer away.
What is the most exotic plant or bloom you work with?
Kelly: Most folks are familiar with galax, but rarely do they see it in flower arrangements. We tend to incorporate it a lot. Same with Queen Anne’s lace.
Britt: Most of our foliage is native to our farm’s area in the folds of the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains, which may seem pretty exotic when it’s taken into Greenville’s urban environment!
What is your favorite all-around bloom to use?
Both: Dahlias, zinnias, sunflowers, and gladiolas.
What is your favorite theme garden you’ve designed?
Kelly: English gardens are perfection within a contained space. The most meaningful theme garden I’ve created, though, was a visual comfort garden for a couple who were confined to the bed. They could look out the window and be comforted by a peaceful, calming view.
Britt: I love to create moss gardens with rocks and water features. Think of walking into your backyard and feeling like you’ve entered a (seemingly) naturally occurring woods.
If you could invite two people, living or dead, to work alongside you in a garden, who would they be and why?
Kelly: Probably my four grandparents, all farmers. They knew a lot about farming, and we could learn from one another.
Britt: Hunter S. Thompson and Martha Stewart. I’d like to hang out with Hunter and see what he’s all about. And I’d really like to see how Martha fares pulling weeds under the hot, humid and buggy summers we have here. Maybe she could teach me something!
If these folks were to come to a dinner party for which you supply the table centerpiece, what would your arrangement consist of?
Kelly: For my grandparents, it would have to be seasonal fruits—figs and small pomegranates—interlaced with organic, loose cuttings.
Britt: A small cannon surrounded by peonies. And maybe a bottle of scotch!
If you were a plant or flower, what would you be, and why?
Kelly: I’d be an iris because of all its layers (and its slight earthy scent).
Britt: I’d be moss—beauty in its simplicity. And the fact that it just lays there and is green. And that you can pet it.
Kelly: (laughs) (and laughs some more)
If the two of you were getting married all over again, what flower would represent your union?
Kelly: They’re lovely and tough.
Britt: And they stand the test of time.
If you could be anything else in this life other than a horticulturalist,what would you be, and why?
Kelly: I wouldn’t want any other life than the one we have. I couldn’t ask for much more.
Britt: A wanderer. But, then again, I’ve never had a road map, so I guess I’m kind of living that life now. Or, wait…maybe a horticulturalist for the stars! Yes, a horticulturalist for the stars!
Earth Blooms Flower Farm
106 Townes Ferguson Rd.