Central Texas flower farm withered by extreme weather conditions, unable to supply flowers to nearby florists

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 7:10 AM CDT
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MOODY, Texas (KWTX) - Flowers from Central Texas flower farms may be hard to find in florist shops or at farmers markets this summer because of constant extreme heat, drought conditions and water restrictions.

During normal summer weather conditions, Orchard Hollow, a flower and herb farm in Moody, would be full of flowers, but, this year, the garden is full of withered sunflowers, large cracks from dry dirt and other flowers that are holding on for life.

Growing up gardening in Central Texas, Amelia Nolan, an owner of Orchard Hollow, says she plants flowers that thrive in hot, dry summers in Central Texas. She plants Zinnias, Celosia, Gomphrena, Amaranth and sunflowers, starting in the spring, but, because extreme heat started as early as May, she says those flowers struggled this year.

“Most of our heat tolerant flowers, they’re surviving the heat, but they’re not giving out consistent blooms,” Nolan said. “They’re alive, and part of the reason for that is we went through and cut most everything down very low and added extra mulch around the base of the plants to keep the plant alive.”

Usually, Nolan sells her blooms to nearby florists, at farmers markets and at pop up vendor fairs. She also hosts “You-pick,” which is an event that allows people to pick fresh blooms from the garden.

“This year, our triple-digit weather, it felt like it’s set us back in May, and, typically, by late summer, we’re hitting those triple digits,” she said. “It came early this year, and I know we’re really far behind on rainfall. So even the really heat-hardy, drought-hardy varieties that we plant, they’re struggling.”

Because Nolan’s flowers are struggling, she does not have flowers to sell to florists.

“I know that talking to some of the florists, I think, across the board, business has been slow this summer for a lot of businesses anyways, and so I think they’re feeling some of the strain because we’re not able to provide them with flowers this summer,” she said.

She said nearby florists buy her flowers because they are fresher, easier to transport and less expensive than imported flowers. Orchard Hollow was able to supply flowers from April to June.

This means Nolan also cannot sell flowers at farmers markets this summer. Orchard Hollow recently revamped a new flower truck to transport the flowers and bring with them to markets.

“His name is Claude,” she said. “He’s a 1952 Chevy, and our plan is to bring him out for pop ups and make him available for rentals. We were going to roll him out this summer, but, because of the heat and the drought, we haven’t had the flowers that we needed to actually stock him.”

The chance for rain and cooler temperatures in the near future are slim in Central Texas, but Nolan does not have any plans to give up on her flowers.

“We probably will take a loss, but we’re just going to keep going,” she said. “I mean, I love flowers. They’re a tangible symbol of love that you can physically give to somebody. And so I feel really lucky that I get to be one of the people who grows them...Even if this year isn’t our year and we have to start over and take that loss, we’re going to keep trying.”

Nolan said, if the farm gets significant rain in the next month or two, there is a chance that the plants will be able to bloom in the fall.

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