Growing Flowers and Herbs in Nova Scotia II
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Cheryl Stone
Posted on: January 2, 2004

Thanks for your informative letter, and I appreciate your time. I do realize that finding the market comes first, and with me living in a rural area, that’s not always easy. However, I do live in a sort of touristy town, with many artists, potters, and crafts people that make a living on their wares. There is also a winery opening up this summer that will draw more people to the area. I’m just not very good at risk taking, and want to do my homework before I plant the first seed! One question you didn’t answer that I would like to know, is what types of herbs are grown for crafts, such as wreaths? I don’t need a long list, just a few examples. I’m mainly talking dried wreaths, not fresh. I have looked at your extensive list of books in the catalog, and I certainly know where I’ll be buying when I’m ready to purchase. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge, and if I’m in your area, would love to see your store, and farm. You certainly have built a impressive business.

I didn’t mention specific herbs because that really depends on which direction you end up going. The herbs you grow for the bulk botanicals market would be different from the herbs you would grow for the herbal crafts production. I am not sure how useful a few examples would be because you really have to do your research first. If you are going to do herbal crafts, then you need to get the materials lists for the various products you want to make. Books are the obvious place to start. In the case of wreaths, we have a book on making herbal wreaths, but there are others also -- if I were you, I would get them all before planting a single seed. Having said that, some of the herbs that are commonly used in herbal wreaths are Silver King wormwood, bay laurel (although this can’t be grown profitably in your area), and everlasting flowers such as strawflower, baby’s breath, and various statices. Even more delicate herbs such as sage, thyme, savory and thyme can be used. The nearby winery may be able to supply you with branches that you can use as the base for the wreaths. There are lots of possibilities, all of which will come clearer once you have studied the "how-to" books.

About risk taking: unfortunately herbs are a risky business, more so than many other areas of agriculture. If you are risk-adverse, then you have two choices: 1) start small so that you don’t lose the farm if things don’t work out well, or 2) grow other crops that have a more ready market such as vegetables or grains.

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