Friendship Farm poised for growing season

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Friendship Flower Farm owner Holly Dickson (above) is a regular vendor at Guttenberg's Farmers Market. She also offers weekly and bi-weekly subscriptions and floral workshops. (Photo submitted)

Lisianthus are tender perennials that feature colorful bell-shaped flowers with flaring lobes that bloom on one or more upright stems. They closely resemble a rose but last longer in the vase. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

There is nothing quite like a bouquet of fresh cut flowers to brighten someone's day or add a colorful flair to your home. 

Friendship Flower Farm owner Holly Dickson of Guttenberg is entering her third growing season, cultivating chemical-free blooms grown locally on her husband's family farm in northeast Iowa.  

Even though the growing season ends after the first fall frost, Dickson's work is far from complete 

"In the fall we have a process I call 'putting the flower fields to bed for the winter,'" she commented. 

Dickson, with the help of her three daughters, Eleanor, Daisy and Audrey, and husband, Allan, dig up the dahlia tubers and store them properly to be replanted in May. The rose bushes are fenced in with netting and filled in with leaves to protect them from spring's freeze/thaw cycle. Cool season flowers are sown and tulips are planted. "There is so much to get done,"  says Dickson.

The flower farmer is committed to responsible land stewardship. "We do not use pesticides or chemicals," she stressed. "We either plant cover crops on the beds, or cover them with crushed leaves for the winter so in the spring we are ready to get to it."

Early season flowers such as French style tulips, pussy willows, Persian buttercups, and forsythia will fill Friendship Flower Farms subscriptions, market, and wholesale clients.  

Mid-season the farm will overflow with peony (colors include salmon, pink, pastel elegance, white, coral and red), roses, and lisianthus. The organic grower refers to her peonies as "rockstars" because they require very little maintenance. "One of the peonies, a white variety we have available is named Baroness Shroeder! How cool is that?" she asked with enthusiasm.

Sunflowers and dahlias will be prolific in late summer, adding more color and variety to her bountiful bouquets. "Dahlias are a riot. I grow dinner-plate, pompoms, doubles, singles – the list goes on. They are such a diverse group because they are octoploid in genetics," Dickson explained. "A very unusual variety we will be growing this year is 'Bumble Rumble' — I can't wait!" 

Throughout the entire season Dickson will offer DIY bridal buckets, bouquet subscriptions, and market bouquets at area Farmer's Markets including Guttenberg. 

New this year to Dickson's offering is a "Flower Bar." A concept she described, "When someone wants to provide a fun gift or activity for clients, employees – maybe at reunions or weddings, I provide buckets of flowers and each attendee makes their own bouquet to adorn their table or make and take home."

Dickson is collaborating exclusively with a wedding florist/designer who will bring her unique talents and techniques to her six scheduled floral workshops beginning May 6 – just in time for Mother's Day. The workshops will be held at Guttenberg Gallery & the Creativity Center. "If you are a DIY bride or just looking to spend a fun afternoon with friends you will not want to miss one of these workshops," she encouraged. 

Whether you are interested in receiving a weekly or bi-weekly bouquet of fresh cut flowers for yourself, or as a gift for a loved one, Dickson has made the process easy. "Each subscription is separated into Tulip (Spring) season and Market (Summer) season," she noted.  Spring season bouquets are delivered free each Saturday to Divine Current Wellness, 531 South 1st Street, or River Living Center, 831 U.S. Highway 52, both in Guttenberg, Customers may sign up for 1st and 3rd Saturday delivery, or 2nd and 4th Saturday delivery or both. Tulip season runs May through early June. 

The summer Market season is delivered to  Guttenberg Art Gallery & the Creativity Center at 214 South River Park Drive, for pick up beginning on Thursdays. The season runs early June until the first fall frost. 

To sign up for a flower subscription, check out pricing and delivery options, or to register for workshops, visit online Friendship-Farm.Square.Site.

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