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Home Blog The Story of the Floret Workshops Part 2
August 5th 2022

The Story of the Floret Workshops Part 2

Written by
Floret

As we’re preparing for our upcoming scholarship program and to welcome our next class into the fold, I wanted to share a little bit more about the process of creating the course and why we designed it the way that we did.

In the first part of this blog series, I shared the story of how our workshops came to be. You can read it here

I am a pen and paper kind of person and carry a notebook everywhere that I go. I can fill a 5-subject notebook in under a month just taking notes about what we’re working on day to day here on the farm.

There is something about holding paper in your hands that makes learning and understanding (at least for me) so much easier. I need to be able to see and touch things, and write down my thoughts as I go along.

So when it came time to create the written portion of the course, I knew in my heart that it needed to become a book—one that we could give to students so they too could hold it in their hands.

The first year we taught our on-farm workshops the course book was a tiny black and white spiral-bound notebook that was maybe two dozen pages in total. At the time it seemed like such a big deal, but looking back I can’t help but laugh because it’s come so far since those early days. 

Today the course book is 290 beautiful colored pages filled with so many helpful how-to’s, step-by-step instructions, and resources that we’ve compiled over the years. It’s so big now that it needed an actual index, which technically makes it book number four.

In addition to the course book, we also created a sample cutting garden plan to demonstrate crop planning and succession planting on a small scale. The best part of this sample plan is that you can lay it out on the table and see such important concepts, which are normally very hard to understand, come to life right in front of your eyes.

One of the most challenging parts when we were teaching on-farm workshops was trying to squeeze all of the information into three short days. So many of the farm tasks and chores that I wanted to share couldn’t be demonstrated in person because of their seasonal nature. 

What I love most about moving our workshop to an online format is that it has allowed us to share an entire year on the farm—from planning in the winter months to sowing seeds and planting in the spring to caring for all the flowers and harvesting in the summer, and then finally putting the garden to bed in the autumn.

The course includes more than 150 videos broken down into short, bite-sized pieces so that students can go at their own pace and watch and re-watch the video tutorials as many times as they need to in order to master the material.

Our intention behind doing it this way was that we wanted to structure it like an apprenticeship with a very hands-on learning approach. I am such a hands-on learner and need to see things demonstrated before I feel comfortable enough to try them myself. 

The best part about this format is that we’re able to teach a wide variety of topics to students with varying skill levels and learning styles in a way that is easy to understand and implement in their lives and gardens, no matter how big or small.  

Because the course includes so much information we intentionally broke it down into six core modules, each one building on the last. Modules are released weekly during the 6-week course, and then students have access to all of the material to reference any time they like from then on. 

The reason we don’t release all of the material at once is that we want students to have enough time and support to work through that week’s module before moving onto the next. It’s so easy to want to jump to the fun stuff like seed starting or bouquet making and skip over the more challenging (but incredibly important) things like goal setting, planning, and marketing. 

In Module 1, we spend a lot of time digging into the heart of why you want to grow flowers and then go through a series of exercises to refine your goals, highlight your strengths, and creatively work with what you have. 

In Module 2, we dive into planning and all that goes into setting yourself up for a successful season. This module is often the most challenging but students always say that it is the most helpful and important one in the course. 

Module 3 is all about getting off to a good start and we dig into seed starting, important supplies you’ll need, and then explore a wide range of different cut flower varieties and their specific needs. 

In Module 4, we wade into the nitty-gritty side of growing flowers, including soil preparation, how to manage weeds, plant spacing, irrigation, and growing in tunnels and greenhouses.  

Module 5 covers marketing, pricing, and the many different options you have when it comes to selling your flowers. Learning how to grow is only half of what it takes if you want a successful flower business—being able to sell them is just as important. I love this module because so many people who have struggled with this topic in the past (myself included) have huge breakthroughs going through this material. 

In Module 6, I share all of my tips and tricks for harvesting flowers efficiently and getting them to last as long as possible. It also covers efficient bouquet-making techniques, how to package and deliver flowers, and the most important things that you need to know when selling to florists, wholesalers, and grocery stores. 

When we transitioned the workshop online we were so worried about losing the community and connection piece that was the heart of the on-farm experience. But what we found is that nothing could be farther from the truth.

The amazing farmer-florists that once assisted at our in-person workshops now help moderate the Floret Learning Community, an online forum for students in the course.

Our workshop “den moms” lend their wisdom and climate-specific advice to students all over the world. 

Through the Learning Community, we’ve seen so many students form real-life friendships, set up dahlia tuber exchanges, host meetups, go in on plant orders together, and visit each other’s farms and gardens to learn and be inspired by one another.

During the 6-week course, we also host a weekly Q&A session where Jill and I answer questions from students about that week’s module. These video sessions are always so much fun to film and we love being able to connect with students and cheer them on. 

At the end of the course each year we send out a survey and gather student feedback about the workshop that we then take into our annual audit so that the program continues to improve over time. 

Students have lifetime access to the course and any new material that’s created in the future. Because of the online format, there’s no way to fall behind and students have the freedom to work their way through the material at their own pace. 

In the 11 years that we’ve been teaching the Floret workshop, both on-farm and online, we’ve welcomed students ranging in age from 16 to 76 from more than 50 different countries around the world.

Our students have included stay-at-home parents, corporate professionals, farmers, brand new growers, retirees looking for a joy job, people working a standard 9-5, and everything in between.

We’ve also taught all types of organizations, including community gardens, schools, universities, prisons, veteran rehabilitation programs, and programs serving people with a wide range of abilities. 

If I would have known way back when we taught our very first workshop in my backyard that it would have blossomed into this I never would have believed it. Being able to share all of the lessons I learned along the way with others has been the honor of a lifetime. I am so incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity. 

If you’d like to learn more about our next Floret Online Workshop, you can join the waitlist below.


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30 Comments

  1. Heidi Buckley on

    I am so inspired and moved by the Floret story. As a long time trauma nurse I was told to find an outlet for stress. I am finding the flower garden to be that outlet. I will never have the money or the physical ability at this age to manage a flower farm but I can take what space I have and make it beautiful . I am hoping I will be lucky enough to someday attend the Floret program . Until them I will continue to devour the website,photos and blog. Thank you for this beautiful slice of heaven and so selflessly sharing your secrets , flowers and family with us.

    Reply
  2. julie riviezzo on

    I have registered for the wait list, probably several times!
    Can you possibly give me a time of year that you start it?
    I have also signed up for the mini course. When do you think that will be?
    Waiting with baited breath! All of your blogs are so exciting.
    Julie

    Reply
    • BriAnn, Team Floret on

      Registration for the course will open November 6th-10th. Class will officially start in January. We’d love to have you join us for the 2024 Floret Online Workshop! Our dahlia mini course will be released next week.

  3. Rosenard Castro Barillo on

    Madame Erin and Team Floret,

    Good morning to All! 🌞

    Thank you so much for this once in a lifetime opportunity you’ve shared to me and my family.
    I have read your story on Floret Flower Farm workshops.
    Learning on how to maintain and grow flowers is very interesting and useful.
    And on the part 2, I’ve seen your students learning.
    I find them exciting and happy! 😊
    I hope I can be one of the scholar on your next workshop program.

    Reply
  4. Ginger Selman on

    I am retired and have a new small cottage home and no gardens have been made here…. Ready to do my small fantasy gardens I have always dreamed of doing. I look forward to learning new skills about all aspects of garden design and planning sun and shade areas.

    Reply
  5. Laura DeLucca on

    I have registered for the waitlist. I binged the two seasons of grow floret. I am wanting to absorb every bit of knowledge that I can. I’m just growing for me in my backyard. I would love to be able to supply some flowers for my sons Nov. 2024 wedding. Can’t wait and hope I can grab a spot.

    Reply
  6. Kathleen on

    Erin,

    Thank you for offering the workshop. I am so inspired by your “never give up and keep on going” attitude, that I want to take it, so I have added my name to the waiting list. I’m nuts about plants and want to grow everything–flowers, herbs, veggies and landscape plants, which I’m partly doing already. Since I live in the Mojave Desert of Southern California, which gets only 4 inches of rain annually, and face future water rationing, I’m having to be extra creative. The upside to living arid is that plant pests and diseases are at a bare minimum and often non-existent. I am retired and definitely after the joy job! Every germinated seed and rooted cutting is a miracle to me! NOW IT’S TIME TO ACT UPON THAT WAY OF THINKING WHILE MAKING OTHERS HAPPY! I’m taking your workshop to learn how to do that.

    Reply
  7. Janeen Walker on

    I’m So Thrilled about this course.
    We are Finally trying to buy instead of rent a home so I’m excited to have this course for a new back years that I can enjoy …. And not leave behind for further renters!!
    I have signed up for the waitlist for the course but was wondering….
    How soon can we purchase the Beautiful looking ( just from the pictures) 290 page WORKBOOK so we can follow along with you all ?

    Th aka so much for All you do to bring Beauty & Joy in our lives !! 🌹🌸🌼🌷🪻🌻

    Reply
  8. Stephanie Ignazio on

    Alumni here!!! One of the BEST things I have done for myself! There is so much to this program….and the team is out of this world! I have my manual on my shelf and I go back to it all the time. I also pop into the classroom to remind myself how to do things :) This program is so wonderful and Erin and her team are 100% authentic and genuine. I had never grown from seed when I started the course….now I have a separate grow space in town as well as every inch of my yard filled with beautiful blooms! You can do this!!!! And you will be so proud of yourself the minute that first seed germinates!!!

    Reply
  9. Jennfier Goebel on

    I’m a 2022 Floret Workshop Alumni and it was hands down one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and continues to be a great inspiration and source of knowledge for me because of its lifetime access. Being able to go back and relearn and watch the videos in a blessing and I can’t wait to get to follow along this year. As a mom of six amazing kiddos it’s fantastic to be able to get to follow along again and catch things I missed , and be able to review because with six kiddos life is wonderfully busy and chaotic and this gives me a chance to keep learning and get more and more out of the course. I’ll
    be grateful for this workshop!

    Reply
  10. Md Sourav (DM2225) on

    I loved the course, and being a full-time teacher, I appreciated being able to work at my own pace. I loved the encouragement to try things, see what worked, make mistakes, change course and keep going

    Reply
  11. Md Sourav (DM2225) on

    I loved the course, and being a full-time teacher, I appreciated being able to work at my own pace. I loved the encouragement to try things, see what worked, make mistakes, change course and keep going. I have learned so much about farming.
    Amazing.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  12. Kathleen Miller on

    Dear Erin, Jill and Team Floret,
    I just wanted to express my sincere gratitude for the joy that the Floret Online Workshop has brought me this year. I loved the course, and being a full time teacher, I appreciated being able to work at my own pace. I loved the encouragement to try things, see what worked, make mistakes, change course and keep going. I have learned so much about farming. Each morning my dog and I “walk the farm”, which is actually a undersized city lot stuffed with flowers. I love seeing all the beauty in my garden. The joy that growing flowers and gifting them to people has made the last year bearable. Next year, I have plans to get my timing tighter and start a CSA. Thank you for all the support and learning you have provided. I am a happy city flower farmer! Kathleen Miller

    Reply
  13. Sue Rosenfield on

    Words can’t express my gratitude and admiration to the Floret family & team. I sit here while surrounded by bouquets and vases of flowers from my own garden, I give away arm loads of flowers to neighbors, friends and strangers, and my payment is the joy on their faces. Over the course of the last year I’ve gone from a little idea, “I think I want to learn this” in the 2021 workshop to an astonished “oh my god” each week when I find a new bloom in the garden. The healing of those that walk through it who saw it when it was a frozen weedy patch, to now, watching a bumble bee sleep under a dahlia petal, is priceless. This year I plan on picking up on all the learning I didn’t get to last year. Now that I know I can grow flowers, I want to work on the marketing part of it. I was too shy to sell more than $11.00 of flowers this year, but that $1.00 bill-my first, is nailed to the shed wall as a reminder and pledge to my future. Thank you guys for bringing life to the farm again. Much healing joy to you all.

    Reply
  14. Diane Astarita on

    Dear Erin & Floret Team,

    A bit teary eyed here , sitting on the couch surrounded by the most amazing flowers and thinking of myself last year at this time. Thank you Erin for “cheering me on”! It was your encouragement that helped me make the decision to become part of the 2021 Class. Although this year has been filled with many unexpected financial challenges I’m pleased with the decision to invest in myself.and our community It has been a year filled with the most stunningly beautiful flowers! Although it’s been my pleasure to grow flowers here in the Sierra foothills for several years now, this year was off the charts, beginning with the first spring bulbs, then continuing with a consistent and flow of stellar flowers many of which we have never grown before. They have graced our community and my life. So looking forward to continuing to grow together!

    Reply
  15. Kerri Coleman on

    My one comment about the course last year- I wanted the course book to lie flat when I was referencing it. This is very exciting and with new material! I can’t wait. I am winding down in my first year flower farming. I have plenty of room to grow professionally. I have started a registered business and have made lots of friends. Tomorrow, I am donating 10 small table arrangements to the local YMCA fundraiser. I have found joy in doing flowers for our neighbors baby shower and several other occasions. The coupon codes in the back of the book have been helpful and provided the nudge to activate on some parts of the plan. I am excited for round two of the workshop. With knowledge there is power. Thank you, Erin! We are all very blessed.

    Reply
  16. Mary Barry-Magsamen on

    I am part of last years class, though I’m still re-watching the videos and learning! Is there any chance we can purchased the new workbook? Seems like with all of the new info, it would be great to add to our toolbox! I still love the class and avoid saying it’s over since I’m still using it. Just Love Everything Floret.

    Reply
    • Team Floret on

      Hi Mary! Yes, alumni will be able to purchase the new course book. Stay tuned for more info soon.

  17. Gail Butler on

    I am a retiree, looking for a way to give something pretty back. I took the workshop last year and planted my first ever cut flower garden this year, with the goal of ten bouquets a week to deliver to our local senior housing. I’m in the Sierra foothills so we have been smoked in for weeks now but still, I cannot express how wonderful it’s been! Me, my mask and my flowers! My little patch is churning and I can’t wait for next year to try new and different varieties. My smile is always as big as my bouquet recipient’s. Thank you Erin and Jill for making it doable for me!

    Reply
  18. Badge Bourcier on

    A year ago I registered for the Floret online course. And today I sit surrounded by an incredible flower garden. I referred to the course material, reread parts of the book as needed, rewatched many of the video clips to walk me through the next step, the next stage. I am retired, I did it on my own, it was hard work yes, but worth it. I have run a small flower subscription business all spring and summer and now into the fall, sold bulk flowers to local designers and ran a small Flower Fairy Summer Camp for children. So much joy and all thanks to Erin and her vision and crew. I have also taken a page from her book and remembered to give back. With deep gratitude. Badge

    Reply
  19. Leslie Lotspeich on

    We are finalizing our best, most profitable and better yet the most fun year of growing market flowers ever after taking Erin’s workshop course. We have learned how to better market our flowers ( and are getting our name out in our area for the beautiful flowers we grow). We are using Erin’s knowledge for growing with amazing success. We recently entered many flowers in our local county fair. The garden club members were surprised that we could successfully grow so many different flowers! This one class has had a tremendous impact on our business and our family! Thank you Floret!

    Reply
  20. Sandy on

    As my first season of small space growing is ending, I am now ready to learn “all the things” to help even out the ups/downs that are sitting in my notes. As a tactile/visual learner I an beyond excited to sign up, and jump in to all the learning in this format!
    Thank you so much for sharing so generously, and creating a resource for next level knowledge/information.

    Reply
  21. Vicki on

    I LOVE reading your story and getting tips and help from your site. It helps so very much in planting a cutting garden for myself and having flowers to give to friends. Thanks for your graciousness, generosity and willingness to pay it forward. I salute you for all you have done and are doing!

    Reply
  22. Courtney Tjoelker on

    erin – i stumbled across you about a year and a half ago. every time i watch your videos & read your books, my husband makes fun of the noises i make while i’m learning. i live in lynden & have been dreaming of meeting you! to see that you were in town brings me so much joy. the seeds i received from you with my dahlia book are THRIVING. i have never grown anything from seed before, and i may or may not have taken over my husbands bare flower beds while we were dating. we just got married about 3 weeks ago & i am already dreaming up how i’m going to make outside dreamy. (i am still new to the flower world). i hope one day i can take this course & i am so proud of how far God has brought you in your journey. hope to meet you soon :)

    Reply
  23. Linda Bernasconi on

    I’m very excited! I just recently retired and now I have the time to spend more time in my gardens! Thank you for these mini workshops, I have learned a lot so far!

    Reply
  24. Cindy on

    Love the whole concept of seeing, touching, going at your own pace, & having so much expert help to glean from-sounds amazing!! And the pictures that you & Chris take are so gorgeous I want to frame them all❣️So thankful you want to share❣️

    Reply
  25. Barbara on

    I can’t even wait! Squeee!

    Reply
  26. Datlene on

    Thank you for sharing your expertise. I also love all your pictures as I’m a visual learner plus the gorgeous flowers fill my heart with joy!

    Reply
  27. Dave Johnson on

    Guess I will be the oldest student…soon to be 78!
    Look forward to it!

    Reply

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