Supporting the local economy may not be the first thing on your mind when buying flowers, but it can be a great opportunity to give back to your community and support the small businesses around you. In a world where every purchase is important, choosing where you shop has become much more complex than finding the best summer sale. That’s why at Texas Blooms, we do the research for you and make it our goal to support local makers, artists, and flower farmers alike.
Although most flowers are shipped to the U.S. from all over the globe, there are many small farms right in Central Texas that grow high quality, long lasting, and incredibly beautiful blooms. One local farm, Prickly Pair, has become a staple in our flower cooler and a tried-and-true favorite of our customers. Nestled in the heart of Burnet County, the wildflower capital of Texas, Mike and Matt have made an empire of their grass-roots operation that, in its first year, almost ended up as a joke. Now, eight years later, they’re supplying flower shops and distributors across Texas.
Through trial and error (and lots of dirt and sweat), the men of Prickly Pair have learned their way around the seeds and stems that they have now been harvesting since 2012. Their slogan, “Local blooms longer,” has proven itself time and time again through the longevity of their flowers, especially compared to the same blooms shipped from overseas. Plus, these flowers aren’t just hardy – they’re absolutely gorgeous.
One of the staples of Prickly Pair that we look forward to every year is the crowd favorite, zinnias, which bloom all summer and grow in almost every color imaginable. These vibrant flowers are extremely versatile and a great choice for just about any flower design, from a simple bud vase to a bridal bouquet. Although we get them every chance we can, these beauties practically fly off of the cooler shelves – we literally can’t get enough of them!
One of the newest additions to the Prickly Pair family is roselilies – a stunning hybrid flower with all the beauty and fragrance of the ever-popular stargazer lily, but with multiple layers of petals and no icky pollen. In the greenhouse where they’re grown, Mike described to me the lessons they learned while trying out this new flower. The challenge was to find the perfect amount of shade to keep them from blooming until they grow tall enough to cut, as the sun will encourage them to bloom early.
Sunflowers are among the hardiest of blooms that can grow in Texas. Budding all summer long, their bright petals and large heads make them favorites of many. Although they can survive the heat, other challenges have affected their harvest at Prickly Pair. Mike tells me that the grasshoppers haven’t been this bad in upwards of six years, even taking out an entire crop at one point. However, keeping their farm as organic as possible means they prefer not to use harsh pesticides that many other growers use, and makes us feel better about the environmental impact of the blooms we buy.
Another new bloom that is making its way onto the farm is the dahlia. A long-loved flower, dahlias grow in geometric perfection and in rich, dazzling colors. Dahlias also present the challenge of requiring shade to delay blooming, but provide a stunning reward in the end. Although most of the blooms had been harvested before my visit, I was still able to capture some photos of the gorgeous buds left behind.
Marigolds may be typically associated with the fall and Día de los Muertos, but they actually start blooming in the summer, along with other heat-tolerant flowers like gomphrena, celosia, and lemon basil – some of the best cuts to include for an organic, garden-grown design. The versatility of these blooms is endless, and offers us a multitude of options when designing – especially when we know the longevity of the flowers.
With such an immense variety of flowers, the possibilities for Texas designs is practically endless. Knowing where our products come from and the people that they support gives us reassurance in the choices we make to try and support our local economy. We love supporting our friends at Prickly Pair and having the ability to share beautiful, locally grown flowers with all of our customers. Remember to always ask your floral designer what local flowers are available for your next design!
By Grace McDonald