Julie Frame has always loved flowers.
About six years ago, she was visiting her son and daughter-in-law in Tennessee and the two women found themselves standing in line for an hour, waiting to buy fresh bouquets at a farmers market.
Frame, who lives with her farming husband in Wayne County, Indiana, found herself unexpectedly inspired.
The Frames recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of The Barn at Helm, a flower growing and florist business on their farm near Williamsburg. The open house with live entertainment, food trucks, tours of the gardens, and a “flower bar” – kind of like a salad bar, but not for eating – drew almost 250 people.
What started as a small side operation to the main crops of corn and soybeans now boasts some 80 kinds of flowers. Each year, Frame said, she and her husband have reflected on the joy of flower farming and thought about how to take it to the next level.
“It doesn’t feel like work,” she said. “There’s just something about digging in the dirt and working with God to make something beautiful …”
The Barn at Helm has a booth with cut flowers at the Richmond Farmers Market every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at Elstro Plaza on North A Street between North Sixth and Seventh streets.
In addition, Frame leads flower arrangement workshops at the farm a few times a month and – when the flowers cooperate – there are scheduled opportunities to go and pick your own flowers from designated areas of their extensive garden.
Frame also does arrangements for weddings, funerals, birthdays, showers, and other special occasions, and has a Bouquet of the Month club. From March through November, all the flowers included are from the farm. During the dead of winter, they are supplemented with trucked-in flowers.
“We do flowers all year long,” Julie Frame said.
For information on upcoming workshops and picking opportunities, go to The Barn at Helm on Facebook.
It was more business than love that drew Joe Golliher to flower farming.
Golliher Farms south of Cambridge City raises cattle, hogs, and chickens in addition to a variety of vegetables. It operates a “food club” – a community-supported agriculture subscription service – every summer, in addition to having a regular booth the Richmond Farmers Market and an onsite farm store.
“I’m always looking at different ways to use the land,” said Golliher. This year, he tried an experiment, planting four varieties of sunflowers in a few rows of one of his fields. One variety didn’t survive the soggy early summer, but the other three are thriving.
Giving you another opportunity to pick.
Beginning Aug. 11, from 5 p.m. to dark Thursday through Saturday, and noon to dark on Sunday, you can wander through the sunflowers and take home a bouquet for as long as the plants keep blooming – expected to be sometime in October.
Admission to the field is $5 and for another $5 you will get snips and a jar to collect your own sunflowers. See more details on the Golliher Farms page on Facebook.
Leave Wayne County with a freshly picked bouquet and a bright and cheerful experience. If you think a flower-hunting excursion to Wayne County might be in your future, go to www.visitrichmond.org for more ideas for things to do while you’re here.