Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Raymond.
Julie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve been foraging flowers since I was a young kid growing up in Kansas City. Spent the bulk of my childhood in the 70s outdoors, so it’s no wonder I veered from my political science degree to post-graduate work at Umass Amherst in horticulture.
My business was primarily fine gardening around the city in the late 90s until I began farming flowers on the side. Selling my flowers wholesale to a few brokers at the Boston Flower Exchange, I was introduced to the world of floral design. As a few friends began to get married, I was asked to do their flowers without much floral design experience. This was all before cell phones, the internet, google, or even youtube! I got my hands on any book I could to guide me in not only growing and harvesting flowers but designing with them as well. Self-taught is an understatement! As a “farmer/florist,” I love that I get to combine the science of growing plants and the design of the florals. Really tickles me. Always has, always will.
After farming flowers on various rented land over the last 20 years, my family and I have moved out of the city and are now nesting in an old farmhouse on our own acre, complete with barn and greenhouse in Kingston Ma. We have a few goats and chickens along for the ride.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I like to think that my business has grown “organically,” forgive the pun, over the years. I have been fortunate to try on many different horticultural hats, from science courses in college to landscape design school at Radcliffe, even doing a fair amount of interior plants for clients. As someone that has primarily worked alone over the years, I can really appreciate how the online world has changed HOW we learn, get better, and grow our business. I’m grateful for the camaraderie and information available from all different avenues now and inspired by how many new growers out there are spearheading the farmer/florist movement!
Please tell us about Bittersweet Gardens.
I like to think of Bittersweet Gardens as a seed to vase business. With over 30 weddings a year now, I simply can’t grow nearly as many flowers as I have in the past, However, I like to source as much locally as I can. I’m always proud when I can design a bridal bouquet with all of our own flowers and greenery from the farm!
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
One of my favorite childhood memories was working a lemonade stand with my brother and also selling strawberries from our garden alongside. There was such a sense of pride knowing that we were selling something that we had grown.
- Website: www.bsgflorals.com
- Phone: 617-610-4917
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: bittersweetgardens
Abby Lorenz Photography , Fat Orange Cat Studio