I have always felt captivated by flowers and passionate about environmental stewardship, but it wasn't until I sought out sustainably sourced bouquets for our wedding in 2015 that I discovered locally grown flowers. I started learning about the floral industry, which is wrought with environmental and worker stresses, and I was astonished at the difference between conventional imported plants and locally grown flowers when it came to scent, colour, vibrancy, and the availability of uncommon and delicate varieties.
Pretty soon, flowers occupied most of my thoughts, and I started growing about 50 varieties of dahlias between a couple backyards in our suburban neighbourhood. As I arranged bouquets, I would lose track of time, happy as I was to tuck in a loose vine or coax a shy flower forwards into display. I started gifting bouquets to family and friends, and soon started donating flowers to a local seniors' home. While I had always adored flowers in their own right, it was witnessing the magic that happens when home-grown flowers are shared between people that pulled me further into gardening.
I am in love with flowers- from the hope that fills me when I see a seedling pop its head above the soil, to the ethereal quality of petals; whether curled into a solitary bud in the field or as part of an orchestra of blossoms spilling over the sides of a vase. But the quality that captivates me most is the emotion that beautiful flowers evoke, the way they can awaken us to the incredible beauty and fragility of life.
Meet Our Family
Head weed look-out and founder of Field Notes, Marie grew up in the suburbs of Toronto. Curiosity about nature and humans led her to a bachelor's in biology and ethics, as well as a Master's degree in genetic counseling. Marie started her love affair with growing flowers by volunteering with Jessica Gale of Sweet Gale Gardens, an incredible Ontario flower farmer and champion of sustainable agriculture. In 2016, she attended a workshop at Floret farm with Erin Benzakien, a celebrated farmer florist and pioneer in the local flower movement.
Marie's happiest when curled up reading a new book on floral design or seeing someone's face when they are gifted a bouquet of home-grown blooms. She is charmed by the Victorian language of flowers and likes to think of each bouquet akin to a love letter, each bloom placed thoughtfully to send a message to the recipient.
Kevin enjoys an annual tradition of posing with large sunflowers, and is unlikely to ever forgive me for using this picture. My husband is the glue that holds our farm and family together. From building our cooler and sorting out irrigation lines to hauling compost and hammering t-posts, he's a dream manifesting machine with a humble heart. Kevin grew up swimming and swamp exploring at his parents' cabin in Muskoka. He is an enthusiast of camping, baseball, and strategic board games, and has a deep love of the outdoors. By day, Kevin teaches elementary school and coaches volleyball.
The farm wouldn't have the same heart to it without our two little helpers. Our daughter is our resident flower girl and bucket hauler. Adder of twinkly bits and ribbons to bouquets, she has a special interest in mud puddles and a disturbing habit of leaving dolls half-buried in the field outside. When not in Kindergarten, she can be found jumping on furniture or playing dress-up with her brother.
Farm apprentice and finder of beauty in small places, her baby brother has a deep belly laugh and an affinity for stuffing grass in his mouth. As he reaches a year old and his personality shines through more and more, we find him to be a calm and easygoing fella, and a joy to work alongside outside. His spirit flower is decidedly the cheerful daffodil.