Violet Maston is a local flower farmer who grows her own flowers and sells them to florists around Jackson and Roane Counties. She is one of only three flower farmers in West Virginia that produce fresh cut flowers for local distribution.
“Flowers make me happy,” Maston said. “After a long and frustrating day, it brings me peace and joy to walk in my home filled with fresh beautiful flowers.”
Maston’s goal is to share that feeling of joy and happiness with everyone, while growing the flowers on her own farm.
Flowers are freshly cut each day and delivered to florists in Ripley such as Evergreen Florist, Affectionately Yours in Ravenswood, and Taylor’s Floral and Forget Me Not Florist in Spencer. Orders come in daily and are filled as requested.
On Saturdays, Maston takes fresh cut floral arrangements to be sold at the Capitol Market in Charleston.
One of her favorite parts of a Farmer’s Market is to watch the reactions on people’s faces when they walk by fresh cut flowers. She said their moods change and they smile.
“Flowers make people happy,” Maston said.
This is her first season to grow and sell.
“Last year we did a little test plot on our other farm up Little Creek, just to see what we could do and kind of test some things,” Maston said. “I didn’t sell anything, I gave a lot of flowers away.”
What was not sold, Maston donated to local hospitals and nursing homes.
The trial run did not deter Maston from trying again. She has had her flower farm set up at the current location on Spencer Road in Leroy since Fall of 2018, when she and her sisters inherited the property following the passing of their father.
The field where the flower beds are used to be a hay field and she felt it would be a beautiful place to grow the flowers where everyone driving by could see them, so in the Fall of 2018 they cut everything down, placed their beds, and put in a cover crop.
Maston grows many different types of flower varieties including: Gomphrena, Stock, Dill, Millet, Black Eyed Susan’s (three different varieties), Veronica in two different colors, Scabiosa, Cosmos, Snapdragons, Sunflowers, Bells of Ireland, Lisianthus, Dahilas, and Eucalyptus just to name a few.
Maston began planting seeds in March, and her first plants went in the ground in April.
“Our plan is to have flowers until the first frost,” Maston said. “We are working on getting a high tunnel so we can extend the season.”
Maston noted that August is a transition month in the flower business and from what she’s read, she wants to begin planting this fall with hopes of having early blooms next season.
“I have been really pleased,” Maston said. “I didn’t know if I could grow them or sell them, and I have done both. This has been my year to learn. I have made lots of mistakes, but from every mistake, I have learned something.”
Maston admits one of the more challenging varieties of flowers has been the Lisianthus. She was told it would be the most difficult flower to grow, but she was up for the challenge.
“I took a sample of them into a florist in Spencer and said this is what I’m doing. They picked it up and held it in their hands like a baby and said, ‘This is better quality than what I’m getting from my suppliers,’” Maston said. “It was such a good feeling.”
According to Maston, what people do not realize, is about 80 percent of the flowers that are bought and used by florists in the United States, are imported from other countries.
The website brandongaille.com, which provides small business and marketing advice, reports Ecuador and Columbia as the top two countries that export their cut flowers to the United States each year. For domestic flowers, California is the top provider.
With flower sales increasing throughout the United States and the demand for local growers becoming higher, Maston hopes that she will be able to continue her flower farm for many years to come.
“I’ve always heard that bread feeds the body,” Maston said. “But flowers feed the soul.”
To view some of the floral arrangements she has made and flowers she grows, visit her Facebook page under Sweet Violet Farm & Creamery.