One of my team members recently told me a heartwarming little story that I just had to share here.
For more than a decade, Tammie Stanley has grown gorgeous flowers on her small farm in Southwest Ohio to sell to Cincinnati-area florists. After being diagnosed with breast cancer last year, Tammie contemplated the future of her business, Mockingbird Hill Flower Farm. Most people would have considered it perfectly reasonable to scale back production in order to accommodate her vital cancer treatments. But those people probably don’t know how tenacious Tammie is…or they simply haven’t seen her dahlias.
What happened next is worthy of a film screenplay: Tammie’s friends, family and florist clients all rallied around her to support her and sustain her little flower operation that season. When she was too weak to work, an entire crew went to her farm to plant over 600 dahlias for her. Many of them kept coming back to help with weeding, harvesting and even delivering her flowers. One of Tammie’s best florist clients came every week on her day off to harvest dahlias and take them back to her shop in Cincinnati. A few days later a check from her would arrive in Tammie’s mailbox.
Tammie shared that—despite all the health challenges she faced—it was one of her best years ever. She measured it not in the bottom line of her bank account, but in the richness of the relationships formed over the course of that season.
I love this story, as it illustrates how giving and gracious this flower community really is. I also love learning about the many professional relationships that have morphed into real life friendships between flower farmers and floral designers and even amongst fellow flower farmers and fellow floral designers. I believe it is just one more beautiful side effect and outcome of this seasonal flower movement. Seeing the #communityovercompetition hashtag spread from the creative crowd into the flower crowd is further proof that this is a community effort. In a time where the news is dominated with so many soul-crushing sad stories, I love being able to turn to this incredible flower community for support, encouragement, strength and beauty.
I’d like to think that kindness can be contagious. I also believe that we shouldn’t hoard all this beauty here just for ourselves–we need to share it with others and support others that share our passion for flowers-whether they are are planting their first flower patch or are still trying to figure out how to pursue their flower-filled dreams. The support and sharing within this community is really remarkable.
This week on the blog I’m pulling together a few posts based loosely on the theme of creative collaborations, partnerships and new flower friendships.
Yesterday, I posted a little feature and interview with my flower friend, the phenomenal floral designer Steve Moore. Tomorrow I’ll share some photos and interviews from a few of the flower farmers and designers involved in one of the biggest and most ambitious creative floral collaborations ever.
Have you developed any new or deeper friendships that formed because of flowers? Or have you been involved in an interesting creative collaboration related to flowers? I’d love to read your stories in the comments below.