Building a Flower Farm: The beginnings of Common Cheer

Written by Kayla

Oh hi, it's me - Kayla.

I’ve always loved the outdoors.

 

Growing up picking wild blueberries in the bush and gardening with my Grandma really fostered my enjoyment of nature and all it has to offer. Some of my favourite memories as a kid are digging garden fresh potatoes and picking peas in the pod at my Grandparents farm, which is now the home of my flower farm, Common Cheer. My Grandparents were humble farmers; while they experimented with a few different things, they settled on raising cattle.

The time spent on my Grandparents farm was quite influential; as a kid, I remember saying “I want to be a pea, potato, and cow farmer when I grow up.” Insert 6 year old me singing … ♫ These are a few of my favourite things.

Kayla feeding her cow
Making friends with this girl in what is now our flower field.
A few things have changed since then, but I still feel most at home and connected to life when I’m outside. I still love garden fresh spuds and peas – they beat the well travelled veggies from the store any day! And although I don’t have the urge to be a “cow farmer” like I did when I was 6 years old, I really love having the renters cows here to spend the summer grazing the grass around our flower field.
Somewhere along my journey, I’d come to realize what 6 year old me already knew so confidently – outside is the place for me… it’s where I am most like myself. Spending time outside, soaking up the natural light, watching creatures, admiring all the little plants, taking a deep breath of fresh air, being in the trees… It can be really grounding, calming, and inspiring. There’s nothing like being immersed in nature to re-balance your perspective and help you focus on what matters.
Hiking across suspension bridge to Mount Robson
A gorgeous day hiking across the suspension bridge up to Mount Robson for Andrews birthday a few years back.
In the 10 years Andrew and I have been together, we’ve made a point to go on at least one multi-day hike or canoe trip each summer. It’s always the most memorable part of our summer. Somehow 3 days in the mountains or on a river always feels blissfully longer than it is. We both love getting away and feeling small in the middle of the wilderness… It’s pretty powerful therapy.

Once my Grandparents had both passed on, the fate of the farm that made me the nature lover I am today was uncertain. Maybe it would be rented out – but to who? And if so, would we still be able to visit The Farm? The thought of not being able to freely go to The Farm was pretty heartbreaking and gut wrenching. (Tears are literally pouring down my face as I write this… it’s truly a special place.)

 

So, Andrew and I got thinking. And talking. And evaluating what’s important to us in this life. The Farm is a magical place hugging the wilderness. It’s surrounded by richly scented mossy forests filled with all kinds of creatures and plants. The creek behind it, and the little lakes around it make great canoeing spots. Instead of leaving the city for 3 blissful days in nature each summer… we could… move to The Farm and spend everyday in a place with the characteristics of our favourite getaways. I’d spent the previous 10 years contemplating a different career that combined horticulture and making people happy. Before my Grandma passed away, she would often say “I’ve lived a good life.” I wondered if I would say the same at 89 years old, if I continued contemplating a life/career change but never acted on it.

The mossy forest around The Farm... so magical.
We listed our beloved home in the city for sale, and in some sort of magical fate, it sold in 15 days (despite the beginnings of a global pandemic) and we made the move to The Farm in June 2020. It was our 6th move in 10 years, and marked the first year that we didn’t go on a multi-day adventure in the mountains or on a river.


We’ve traded in our 3 day trips for a much bigger, longer adventure here at The Farm / Common Cheer. Summer 2020 was spent converting a portion of the cow pasture into our flower field. My Dad got Grandpa’s old dozer running and made a perfect growing area for our flowers from a lumpy, grassy pasture with an 8ft deep pile of well-aged manure at the centre of it. My first major harvest from the flower field was a whole pick-up truck worth of bailer twine!

With the inheritance money my Grandma left to me, we built a huge double layer, inflated hoop house to grow flowers in – it will protect our flowers from damaging hail, winds, and early frosts – our short but sweet growing season will now be a little bit longer. I ordered thousands of flower bulbs and roots that fall and planted them into the new flower field that was previously home to the cows my Grandparents raised for over 60 years. The soil is so beautiful and rich – Spring 2021 should be quite gorgeous around here.
The first morning after we got the poly on the hoop house - it took a team of us 5 hours just to put the plastic on!

Building a flower farm is not easy or fast. It takes considerable amounts of sweat, courage and unwavering determination. I want to highlight this for a moment. Many people say “you’re living the dream!” And yes! I am living my dream… it’s physically demanding with long hours spent outside, and equally long hours spent inside planning, ordering, researching, and sourcing materials. It’s exactly what I had in mind and there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing with my life. This is my passion.


For me, this was more than just another move. This is the most intention-filled action of my adult life. My intention is to grow something beautiful here at The Farm, and spread the Common Cheer of flowers & nature to the community and beyond. I see flowers as a gateway to so many sweet moments shared with others. Common Cheer is meant to bring people together, and my hope is that what we create here will have ripple effects that adjust your perspective, and remind you to slow down and appreciate this big wonderful world.

The joy and cheer flowers give is something we all have in common.

 

So here is Common Cheer, a flower farm thoughtfully grown with intention.

3.8 6 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
4 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kristie
Kristie
5 months ago

This is beautiful and inspiring, Kayla and Andrew! Great work! Can’t wait to check out the farm!

Jessica
Jessica
5 months ago

Such a great read!!!! I wish you tremendous success! Can not wait to visit common cheer this spring/summer!

Shawna Vollema
Shawna Vollema
7 days ago

Got my Narcissus bouquet delivered today. Beautiful!!!