Juli Atkinson loves growing flowers and arranging them, skills that take advantage of her green thumb and talent for design. Like Ray, she is a doer and entrepreneur. As a special-ed teacher’s aide, she found herself wondering how she could earn extra money during the summer. When she saw all the bare land on the property, she thought, “I can grow flowers!”
GOING TO MARKET: But she didn’t just plant a flat of pansies or petunias. First, Ray helped her put up a small 10-by-12-foot greenhouse, then a 16-by-45-foot one. She sold cut flowers at a farmers market in a nearby town, and then started a local farmers market.
A LITTLE HELP: Juli also wrote a government grant for a 33-by-72-foot greenhouse and got it. “I found out about a grant for growing annual vegetables and flowers through the Association of Cut Flowers. I contacted the USDA, and the program was just starting in Oregon. I was one of the first people to get a grant. For three years I had to grow what the grant dictated, but now I can grow perennials and annuals. I wanted to expand.”
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And she has. She now has her own shop, La Fleur Bouquet in Rogue River, where she sells her unique arrangements and cut flowers throughout the region. (lafleurbouquet.com)
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This article was originally published in The NEW PIONEER™ Winter 2016 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.
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