Episode 3: The Art of Flower Farming


Lessons in Letting Go and Embracing Nature:

With Paul Matalucci of Apple Core Farm and Cut Flowers

In this episode of the Backyard Bouquet Podcast, host Jennifer Gulizia welcomes her friend Paul Matalucci of Apple Core Farm and Cut Flowers to share his inspiring journey into flower farming. Paul, a self-proclaimed “flower floozy,” has always had a deep love for flowers and a desire to grow them. After a successful career in corporate communications, Paul and his husband made the decision to pursue their dream of owning a flower farm in Hood River, Oregon.

“My favorite flower is the last one I looked at.”

-Paul Matalucci, Apple Core Farm and Cut Flowers
Paul’s Bearded Iris in full bloom at Apple Core Farm and Cut Flowers

Paul shares how he transitioned from gardening in a small backyard in San Francisco to managing a four-acre flower farm in Hood River. He discusses the challenges he faced in adapting to the larger space and the learning curve of flower farming. Despite the initial overwhelm, Paul found his passion in creating magical moments for people at the farm, particularly through bouquet-making workshops.

The conversation delves into the importance of choosing flower varieties that thrive in your local climate and the benefits of buying locally grown flowers. Paul emphasizes the joy and satisfaction of providing customers with freshly picked, high-quality blooms that can last for weeks compared to flowers that have been shipped long distances.

“The biggest thing is try to find out how much work there is to do before you dive in.”

-Paul Matalucci, Apple Core Farm and Cut Flowers

Listeners are encouraged to explore their own passion for flowers, whether through backyard gardening or considering flower farming as a potential career. Paul advises aspiring flower farmers to be aware of the physical labor involved and to start small, gradually expanding as they gain experience and knowledge.

“Flower farmers create joy and you can’t have too much of that.”

-Paul Matalucci, Apple Core Farm and Cut Flowers

Tune in for a heartfelt and insightful conversation about the joys and challenges of flower farming. We hope this episode inspires you to let your own backyard garden bloom and support your local flower farmers.

In this episode, you’ll hear about: 

  • 00:04:00 – Paul’s journey into flower farming and his background in gardening
  • 00:06:13 – Growing zone and greenhouse capabilities in Hood River
  • 00:08:35 – Paul’s favorite flower to grow and work with
  • 00:21:45 – Lessons learned from flower farming and the importance of experience
  • 00:25:09 – Starting small and the importance of realistic expectations
  • 00:27:04 – Finding a niche and focusing on what brings joy
  • 00:29:59 – Overcoming challenges and the importance of adaptability
  • 00:32:09 – The benefits of buying locally grown flowers for customers and the community
  • 00:38:09 – The importance of letting go and accepting the unpredictability of nature
  • 00:49:19 – Advice for those interested in starting a cut flower garden or flower farm
  • 00:52:58 – The joy and community impact of supporting local flower farmers

Click here to listen!

Paul’s Favorite Siberian Iris To Grow:

  • Blueberry Fair
  • Cape Code Boys
  • Paprikash
  • Sugar Rush
  • Swans in Flight

Paul’s Favorite Tall Bearded Iris To Grow:

  • Gitano
  • Gypsy Lord
  • Montmartre
  • Slovak Prince
  • Stairway to Heaven

Learn more about Paul Matalucci and Apple Core Farm and Cut Flowers

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Discover More Episodes Of The Backyard Bouquet Podcast:

Lori Bochner’s Journey from Home Gardener to Flower Farmer

Lori Bochner’s Journey from Home Gardener to Flower Farmer

In episode 11 of the Backyard Bouquet Podcast, Lori Bochner of Bochner Farms shares her transition from city life to flower farming in Iowa, turning 50 acres into a vibrant flower haven. The farm, notable for its healing cottage garden and Giving Color initiative, supports global nutrition efforts and brings joy through flowers.

Urban Flower Farmer Dee Hall on Cultivating Community

Urban Flower Farmer Dee Hall on Cultivating Community

Flower Farmer Dee Hall of Mermaid City Flowers in Norfolk, Virginia, cultivates sustainably grown, local cut flowers on urban lots totaling an acre. She shares her story on the Backyard Bouquet Podcast, discussing the environmental benefits of local farming, founding the Black Flower Farmers Collective, and promoting native perennials.

Growing Specialty Cut Flowers For Florists

Growing Specialty Cut Flowers For Florists

In Episode 9 of The Backyard Bouquet Podcast, flower farmer Heather Cain shares her journey and insights as the owner of Petal Pink Flowers in Eugene, Oregon. With a focus on specialty and locally-grown flowers, Heather tailors her blooms for local florists and offers subscription services and workshops. Heather’s story inspires gardeners and fellow farmers alike. Tune in for a deeper dive into the flower farming experience.

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