Mason Zieglerís journey to flower farming reads a lot
like a gardening love story.
fascinated with growing flowers at her own home, she
fell in love with a country boy named Steve, who was
living in at the family homestead in Newport News, Va.
Smitten with him and his family history of gardening,
she married Steve in 1995, and began dreaming of how she
could make good use of his Troy-Bilt tillers, composted
land, old hydrangeas and dump truck. Lisa relocated her
shade garden ó hellebores, primroses, bleeding hearts
and cyclamen ó to his familyís tulip magnolia tree,
where they still thrive.
1997, Lisa harvested and unexpectedly sold her first
flowers to a florist. It was the beginning of her flower
farm and online gardening shop for seeds and tools ó
The Gardenerís Workshop,
or call 888-977-7159.
success came because I followed the gardening lead begun
by Steveís Grandfather Ziegler ó adding gobs of leaf
mold and organic matter into the garden on a regular
basis," she says.
146-page hardback book is instructional, offering plant
profiles that feature tips for easy success, winter
strategies, how to keep blooms coming and favorite
varieties. Itís also charmingly written with stories
that tell how flowers changed Zieglerís life and why
she became a flower farmer.
with about three acres, Zieglerís organic farm
produces more than 10,000 stems of flowers per week
May-October. Many flowers are fashioned into bouquets
sold at food specialty stores, while others are part of
a bouquet subscription program. Flowers also go to more
than 40 area florists. In addition, Ziegler operates an
online gardening shop and speaks at national gardening
grows all flowers in the field ó no green or hoop
houses ó and the concept can be done on any scale,
which is what "Cool Flowers" teaches the home
just simple ó plant the right plant, in the right
spot, at the right time and it will thrive and produce
ó no fussing required," she says.
Lisa began growing flowers commercially, she decided to
go organic ó no garden chemicals. Now, thereís
another layer of life thriving in the garden.
is a tremendous population of native pollinators and
beneficial insects that now live in my gardens,"
says Lisa, who now frequently lectures on
often think there is a reason they make kids movies
about bugs, because itís absolute hilarious and mind
boggling what is going on out there in the garden when
you donít knock them all off with chemicals."
the farm grows, so does family involvement. Steve cooks
and does laundry when Lisa has to stay in the fields,
and Lisaís sister Suzanne Mason Frye joined her early
five favorite flowers to grow include:
They are so hardy and long lasting in the garden and a
vase. The little known fact about snaps is there are
several varieties to grow ó all with different colors
and sometimes bloom shapes. They begin flowering at
different times so you can extend the blooming season by
peas: The fragrance and colors of these very easy-grow
blooms will still your heart for a second, she says. The
most romantic flower ever.
of Ireland: Love this green plant; the tiny white flower
is insignificant but the green cups that surround the
flower that run up and down the stem are amazing.
This white flower is the Queen Anneís lace look-alike.
While itís lacy white bloom is gorgeous in the garden
and vase ó it is also a favorite of beneficial
buttons: While it is well known for its blue bloom, it
also comes in white, pink, and dark maroon and is the
first flower to bloom in Lisaís garden each spring.
though Lisa labors long hours in the garden, sometimes
sunup to sundown, she never tires of relaxing there,
and I enjoy sitting in our secluded deep-shade garden
that overlooks the full-sun gardens," she says.
morning walks, looking; making chore lists with Babs
tagging along can turn out to be some of the most
exciting times around here. We stumble on deer, foxes,
hawks, snakes, turtles, eagles and even-great horned
owls in our gardens looking for a meal or just sitting
are the times I am most thankful to be a part of keeping
this little farm alive and going in the midst of the
farm is in the process of being certified as an American
Grown flower producer that includes 1,500 U.S. flower
farms; origin labeling tells consumers their flowers are
American grown and not from other countries, which
supply 80 percent of commercial blooms, according to