new business

Flowers bring smiles to everyone’s faces

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Everyone needs to find a “why” in life; for Tanya Flegel, her “why” is simply to make people smile.

“I love to see people smile, and fresh flowers seem to always bring smiles to everyone’s faces,” says Flegel.

So, in February of 2021, Flegel decided to take her love for flowers and her passion for seeing people smile and start Flegel’s Flowers.

Most people love pretty flowers, but much planning and work happens before one sees the flowers and their vibrant colors. Due to limited space, Flegel decided to turn her backyard into a flower oasis. It includes a wide variety of native and perennial flowers, both cool and warm season, meaning they bloom at different times during the growing season. She also plants annuals, flowers from roots and tuber flowers. Her flower garden now includes over 50 different varieties.

When asked how many flowers are in her back yard, she responded, “I am sure over 1000. My favorites, though, are roses, and I think I am up to 14 different varieties now.”

Her goal is to have flowers blooming from early May until the first frost.

How it begins

Flegel begins preparations for the next growing season just as soon as the first frost hits. Her tuber flowers, mainly dahlias, need to be dug out of the ground, divided and stored over winter in a cool basement. She also starts looking for new flowers and different varieties of flowers that she can add to her garden the following year.

In February, Flegel will start some of her flowers by seed in plugs and small containers under grow lights in her basement. This is necessary to have flowers bloom early in the year, since most take 60-plus days to reach their blossoming stage.

She has a small, low tunnel in her back yard, where she transplants some of her cool-season flowers in early May, roughly a week or two prior to the last frost. Flegel has raised beds where she plants tulips. Because tulips bloom early in the year, once they are done, she then uses the raised beds as her vegetable garden.

Early in the season, she spreads her compost pile in the flower beds to increase the soil’s nutrient value. As the flowers start to grow, she weeds and deadheads the flowers, promoting more blossoms.

Making bouquets

When asked about her business and what all she does to make it a success, she said the best way to teach is to show. Flegel had two willing students in Hadlee and Bentlee Holt, and she walked them through the steps taken to make the bouquets she sells throughout summer.

“The most important thing to do is start with a clean bucket and fresh water with a little sugar to act as nutrients for the flowers and vinegar added to kill bacteria,” Flegel said.

Once the buckets were ready, they headed out to the garden. Flegel explained how to clip the flowers, the importance of finding a focal flower or flowers to build the bouquet around and how to just use imagination. One of the key points was to use different colors, textures, sizes and fillers for the arrangement. Flegel likes creativity in her bouquets, often using dogwood branches, herbs or grasses.

Once the flowers were picked, it was time to arrange them. Normally, Flegel picks the flowers and places them in fresh water in a cool place overnight to allow the flowers to rehydrate. Then, she starts to put bouquets together.

There really is no right or wrong way to do this,” she said. “I like texture, color, various heights, and I try to keep my arrangements symmetrical.”

She showed how to start with the focal flowers and then build around them with different flowers and fillers, taller ones in the back and shorter ones in the front. Before long, the girls had two beautiful arrangements that smelled amazing, too.

“I just love to teach people about flowers, especially younger kids,” said Flegel. “I hope to teach them to appreciate the beauty the flowers have, but also to understand there is a lot of work and preparation that comes with it.”

Flegel hopes to hold a clinic in early August, where she can walk people through the same steps in making arrangements by the end of the class.

Flegel has made over 100 bouquets so far this season. Her fresh-cut flowers are available on Wednesdays at the Kingsbury Conservation District in De Smet or at Don’s Bakery on Main Street in Lake Preston on Fridays and Saturdays. She offers a subscription consisting of five bouquets delivered to residents in Kingsbury County, with the first delivery around Mother’s Day and the last one during the first part of August.

For more information or to get some fresh flowers, check her out on Facebook at Flegel’s Flowers.

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