Flower Farming At Firmly Rooted Flower Farm

How to Start a Backyard Flower Farm with Georgia-Based Founder Tori Carver

by Phillip Mlynar

Flower farming wasn’t in Tori Carver’s mind when her mother passed away in the summer of 2019 and she began to question her purpose in life. “I knew I needed to find something to occupy my heart, my brain and my body,” explains Carver, who is based in the city of Clayton in Georgia and had just turned 50 when the tragedy struck.

Having always found comfort in gardening, cooking, arts and crafts and sewing—”I was the nerdy, fair-skinned, freckled-faced girl who took sewing classes instead of playing sports,” says Carver—she remembers having “an idea for a craft involving dried flowers.” That inkling resulted in Carver coming across cut flowers and, in turn, pursuing a calling to found Firmly Rooted Flower Farm.

Taking time out from the blooms, we spoke to Carver about the joys of flower farming with tulips in the spring and the problems that come with growing in high humidity. We also got to meet the farm’s resident felines, Olive and Penny Sue.

The Roots Of A Flower Farm


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“For me, the idea was born out of grief and a lifelong desire to own my own business,” says Carver, when she looks back on the decision to start Firmly Rooted Flower Farm after the passing of her mother. “I have always been drawn to flowers whether it be as a hobby gardener in my early teens, a painting of flowers in a vase or field or even floral paper or fabric—so flower farming seemed like the perfect fit!”

Carver adds that, initially, she only intended to grow flowers for drying but soon “became obsessed with all flowers.”

Growing In Georgia

Being based in Clayon, Georgia means that Carver’s farm is located in Zone 7b. “Although we are 7b, we are just a few miles from the Eastern Continental Divide and because of our unique climate we are home to a wide array of flora and fauna,” she explains. “We are cold enough in the winter months to grow plants like peonies but yet warm enough in the summer to successfully grow warm crops like zinnias, dahlias and heirloom chrysanthemums.”

When it comes to the climate challenges that affect Firmly Rooted Flower Farm, Carver says that “the unrelenting humidity and high pest pressure” top the list.

Spotlighting Tulips And Dahlias

The most popular flowers at Firmly Rooted Flower Farm are speciality tulips in spring and dahlias in late summer.

“This year I am growing over 14,000 tulips in the field and hope to grow between 500 and 1,000 dahlias,” says Carver. “I also hope to add peonies to the most popular list this year. Peonies take three years to mature enough to cut from and we have been building our peony stock every year since the spring of 2021. If all goes well 2024 should be a beautiful spring.”

All Aboard The Daffodil Train

While tulips and dahlias remain best sellers at Carver’s farm, she says that daffodils are a particularly underrated flower.

“There are so many specialty varieties of daffodils that look nothing like the roadside versions we are accustomed to,” she explains. “As an added bonus, moles and voles don’t like them, nor do deer or rabbits [and] they come back year after year and naturalize. What’s not to love? I really wish people would get on board the daffodil train.”

The Mischievous Resident Felines

Beyond the blooms, Firmly Rooted Flower Farm also hosts a couple of kitties named Olive and Penny Sue. Although, Carver says, the feline duo don’t exactly contribute to the farm’s flower output.

“Olive and her cohort Penny Sue wreak havoc in my flowers most days,” says Carver. “Normally they want to be in every picture I take or follow me around on fish fertilizer application day, but lately they are on the hunt for the voles that drift through my ranunculus beds. While it is great that they are able to hunt the voles, my beds unfortunately look like a war zone from all their crazy digging.”

This article about flower farming with Firmly Rooted Flower Farm was written for Hobby Farms online. Click here to subscribe to Hobby Farms magazine.

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