About The Farmer

I remember as a kid, my mother digging around in the garden, planting dahlias and fussing over her tomatoes, all the while working full time, rearing two children, and completing her medical school education for the second time in a new language, since we had recently immigrated to the United States as refugees, with no English and barely a penny to our name. She sure could’ve used the help in the garden but I had zero interest. To my mother’s great credit, she never insisted I garden with her, but I believe she planted the seed in me at that time.

When my husband and I bought our house, it had five beautiful river birch trees in the backyard that were sick, and we had to cut them down. The open space left by their absence quickly filled with weeds, and I realized I needed to plant something in their place to get a handle on the situation, but I was still resistant, this time feeling inadequate, anxious, and completely ignorant of how gardening works. That same year I had the good fortune of spending the summer in Seattle, breathing in all the flowers from Pike Place Market, and visiting with a dear friend, who kept an incredible garden. She shared fresh food with me and I got to take in the beauty of her little corner of the world. I came home inspired, to say the least, so I mustered up some courage and planted a sunflower. As I waited and then watched it sprout, I experienced the miracle of life brought forth from a seed, and there was no going back.

Another flower friend recently said he thinks people find gardening so rewarding because as we steward ecosystems, we do a little piece of God’s work – we feel the infinite joy and beauty of participating in the ordering of nature. Chaos fades away and everything falls into place. It’s a grounding practice, and given my propensity to float in the ether, I’ve found flower farming has given me stability, purpose, and deep satisfaction.

The space vacated by those five trees plus an additional large section of our property is now filled with flowers and a little bit of food for my little family. My children love to pull the peas straight from the vine and my husband appreciates the beauty of the zinnias, especially. My mother looks at me these days and can’t believe her eyes. Now, I bring her baskets of tomatoes, armfuls of dahlias, and do the digging and planting for her that’s become too hard on her body. Some seeds sprout in 5-7 days, some in one month, and some, it seems, take 30 years. I’m grateful for them all.

~Sofi, March, 2023