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Kelly from Lily Stone Garden's hosted a Flower Field Trip at her flower farm just south of Winnipeg last August with Lauren from Stone House Creative, Britney from Fache Floral Designs and Tatiana from Oak & Lily and I just had to share the beauty that resulted from these driven women coming together to support one another. What a beautiful thing all delicately captured by Holly Gilson Photography.

Your gardens are absolutely beautiful and serene. Tell us more about Lily Stone Gardens. Lily Stone Gardens is seasonal cut flower farm and year round floral design studio. My gardens and studio are located right in the heart of the red river valley on our 40 acre property near Rosenort, MB- about 40 minutes south of Winnipeg. We currently farm between one and one and half acres of flowers each season. We grow flowers that do well in Manitoba’s short growing season although we are always testing and learning new ways to extend our season as much as possible; but the bulk of our flowers are ready for harvest from the beginning of July to the end of September. We grow flowers in an eco-friendly way. We use water from our ponds for irrigation and we have chosen to grow flowers without the use of pesticides or insecticides.

This business is very much a family affair. My husband plays a huge role in the business helping in the gardens, cutting flowers, and is my maintenance man! My two boys are part of what we do every day whether they are talking our ears off while we work, playing with their dog or helping us in the gardens. It means the world to me to be able to run a business while being able to be at home raising my young family.

Flowers are my passion. From sowing seeds, to transplanting, and yes even weeding! Right up until we cut that beautiful bloom and design it into a bridal bouquet; I love every step. I love the challenge of growing flowers in Manitoba and I love the unique, enchanting, garden style you can achieve when designing with locally grown flowers. 

Do you also have a store-front? I have a store front but not in a traditional way. I have a small florist shop right inside my home that is open to the public. We are like a regular flower shop and open all year long but we specialize in the use of our grown product during the seasonal months. We also sell our flowers to other florists in Manitoba, at our local store, and at the downtown farmers market. 

What was your vision for Flower Field trip? Tatiana, Britney and Lauren were the first to jump on board and show their support to me when I was putting myself out there and approaching florists with my flowers. When the season is here and local flowers are available they make a genuine conscience effort to try and include as much seasonal blooms as possible in their weekly orders. They gave me that glimmer of hope that I needed to push on. That this crazy dream of mine might actually be something. So yes I grow flowers for my own use; but growing beautiful flowers for their use is just as equally important to me. So I think in a part it was my way of saying thank you to them. I knew they were the right three to really help me educate others that there are options to use locally grown flowers in Manitoba whether it be in an everyday bouquet you pick up or possibly in your wedding flowers. I feel a great deal of respect and appreciation for these talented women. They likely do not know just how much their support has impacted what I do and what I want to accomplish with Lily Stone Gardens. But from my standpoint, they are one of the main reasons why I continue on doing what I love and try to grow in this business. 

These three women have become my flower friends and we support each other in our individual journeys. We have become confidants to throw ideas back and forth on. We share a common passion and love for flowers. It truly was an amazing day!  

From left to right- Nicole {Kelly's assistant}, Tatiana from Oak & Lily, Lauren from Stone House Creative, Britney from Fache Floral Designs and Kelly from Lily Stone Gardens

You have such a unique concept offering fresh local flowers- did you always know you wanted to own your own business with this angle? I knew I was in love with the idea of flower farming from the moment I began to research it. Many years ago I came across a website from the UK that was about an untraditional florist growing flowers for their own use. The arrangements were nothing like I had ever seen before. They were wild looking but graceful. Completely sophisticated in an uncontrolled manner. Right then and there learning how to grow flowers with the hopes to be able to sell and design with my own blooms became an obsession. I still believe it was something my mom and grandmothers instilled in me many years ago as a little girl growing up on our farm. I was constantly cutting and wondering through their gardens. I loved the bends in the stems and the way they swayed in the wind. They seemed even more special to me because they were grown with love by these women. And maybe that is why I feel so passionate about the flowers I grow. This isn’t something you would do for career unless you loved it. 

When did you start your career? Was flowering always a big part of your life? I have been growing and designing with my own grown flowers for six years now and yes most definitely this was a huge part of my childhood. Some of the fondest memories I have are of walking through my Amma’s gardens and seeing her rows of peonies with their giant pink heads hanging low to the ground. My Mom used to enter me into our towns local craft/talent show with tea pots and old vases filled with garden flowers. Now when I look back little did I know at that time that my love for growing and arranging flowers would bring me to what I am doing now.  

And this big, bold, babe of an arrangement from Fache Floral Designs... sigh..

What is the biggest challenge of running your business? I would say our short Manitoba growing season is one of the biggest challenges.  We try and compact so much growing into such a few short months that at times it can really seem overwhelming!

What’s your favourite part of your job? Seeing the gardens in full bloom. It is absolutely magical! In the evenings when the gardens are in full bloom and the sun is starting to set and the birds are singing and you are completely surrounded by every color under the rainbow. It is magical. It is worth every mosquito bite, every day of working in 30 degree weather, every long 14 hour day, it is pure magic. 

What is the best business advice you have ever received? I would definitely have to thank my parents for teaching me the importance of a strong work ethic and the passion that is involved in running your own business. Honesty, integrity, passion and hard work go a very long way.   

Thank you for having us Kelly and company!