Most weekends, you can find organic flower grower Zoe Hitchner arranging stunning made-to-order bouquets at Santa Cruz-area farmers’ markets.
Saturday, June 30, Hitchner will share the tricks of her trade when she teams with gardening expert Orin Martin of UCSC’s Alan Chadwick Garden to teach techniques on how to grow and assemble beautiful flower arrangements. The “Cut Flower Growing and Bouquet Making” workshop will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the UCSC Farm at UC Santa Cruz.
Workshop topics will include discussions and demonstrations of organic growing methods, recommended tools, how and when to properly harvest and handle cut flowers, and how to extend their “vase life.” Hitchner and Martin will also discuss varieties that perform best in the Monterey Bay region’s growing conditions.
Hitchner will demonstrate basic techniques and principles used to create beautiful bouquets. She and fellow flower farmer Carra Duggan grow more than 50 varieties of organically raised cut flowers at Everett Family Farm in Soquel.
Why grow your own flowers when there are bouquets available at many local outlets? Martin notes that, “Even in the best of economic times, the cost of cut flowers lies somewhere between a luxury and prohibitive. You can grow your own for pennies per plant with annuals.”
Cut flowers in a farm or garden landscape also make biological sense. Showy flowers attract beneficial insects that pollinate crops and help control pests. “Fewer crop pests are found as the plant species diversity of a farm or garden increases,” says Martin. Growing your own flowers or buying locally grown organic flowers can also reduce your “carbon footprint,” as many cut flowers are imported from Central and South America.
Cost for the workshop is $30 for the general public, $20 for Friends of the Farm & Garden members, and $5 for UCSC students. Memberships are available at the workshop. Cash or checks only for workshop fees please; no pre-registration necessary. A limited number of bouquets will be for sale at the workshop.
For more information, call 831.459-3240, email email@example.com, or see casfs.ucsc.edu.
To reach the UCSC Farm, enter campus at Bay and High streets (Bay Street becomes Coolidge Drive), continue uphill. Turn right at the first stoplight (Ranch View Road), and park in the Campus Facilities parking lot. Parking is free on weekends. Walk across Coolidge Drive, then up the gravel path that parallels the paved bike path to reach the UCSC Farm.
This event is cosponsored by the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden and the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems.