Slow flower farming
When a Dutch family immigrated to North Carolina just before World War II, they started a bulb and cut flower farm, Terra Ceia, that still endures today, practicing the joys of slow flower growing.
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When he became bedridden after a fall, he was concerned about the need to care for his family. That's when he got the idea to go through his contact list -- stacks of index cards with customer information -- and created a mailing list to launch Terra Ceia Farms’ mail-order bulb business, which thrives to this day. (Request a catalog by filling in the form here.)Skip to next paragraph
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After Leemder retired, his son, Cornelis, ran the business until he himself retired and turned the company over to his sons, Mark, Casey, and Carl. Today Terra Ceia is diversified farm with Mark managing the grain and corn acres, Casey handling the 300 acres of bulb and cut flower fields, and Carl running the mail-order catalog business.
Peonies at Whole Foods
In addition to offering bulbs, Terra Ceia Farms continues to operate as a cut-flower business. If you go to Whole Foods in May to buy peonies, you are, no doubt, taking home a bloom from Terra Ceia Farms. [See the two photos above; to reach the second picture, click on the arrow at the right base of the first one] Filling the niche from when the flower growers farther south finish their blooms, and before the farms in the Delmarva Peninsula begin theirs, the folks at Terra Ceia Farms fill the market void with their peonies -- lush, outrageous petals, carrying a light fragrance, and bringing joy to moms and brides and floral aficionados, alike.
I like the idea of slowing down and the concept of the slow movement. This year I plan to go slow down a bit myself, and take the time to smell the flowers.
If you go
Terra Ceia Farms, 3810 Terra Ceia Rd. (between Highway US 32 and Highway US 264), Pantego, NC; E-mail: info@TerraCeiaFarms.com
Showroom open Sept 15 through Jan. 15 and March 15 through June 15; Hours: Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m to 2 p.m.
For information on fund-raising with bulbs, contact Carl Van Staalduinen at 800-858-2852
Helen Yoest blogs regularly about gardening at the Monitor. She lives in North Carolina and is the author of the book "Gardening With Confidence -- 50 Ways to Add Style for Personal Creativity." She's a garden writer, speaker, and garden coach. She's also a field editor for Better Homes and Gardens and Country Gardens magazines and serves on the board of advisers for the JC Raulston Arboretum. You can follow Helen on Twitter and Facebook. To read more of what she's written at the Monitor, click here.