Valley Bounty: Rooted Flowers
Rooted Flowers: A Secret Garden Close to Home
Rooted Flowers in Agawam is a local flower farm fueled by a passion for harmony between nature, land, and family. Since 2019, owner-operator Becky Sadlowski and her family have rejuvenated the property into a blossoming cut flower nursery from fallow farmland.
The vibrant land is a testimony to the renewal of nature, perseverance, and committed vision. Hedgerows border the property and the house with a mixture of native plants and perennials as testing beds for new varieties and evergreens for flower designs, while offering pollinator habitat. On this visit, bees leap among thyme blossoms, “Everything we plant, we have to be able to use,” says Sadlowski.
Despite the cottagecore dream setting, Rooted Flowers is a working flower farm. Sadlowski is committed to a holistic approach that anticipates changeable and disruptive weather patterns. She explains, “Our farm’s inception was rooted in a vision to be resilient and adaptable, especially considering the challenging growing conditions New England often presents.”
While our region suffered heavy losses in food production due to freezes and flooding this year, the weather also impacted flower growers. Sadlowski explains, “The challenges of this year’s flooding took a toll on our crops. We suffered the loss of all our field dahlias, a cornerstone of our offerings. We’ve been fortunate to have some mitigation in place with rows protected in tunnels and a dedicated greenhouse, which shielded part of our crops. Based on this year’s experiences, our future growing plans will lean more heavily into such protective measures to buffer against unpredictable weather events.”
Sadlowski learns by watching both land and crops. This has been an unusually wet year, but the region also faced drought conditions in recent years. She notes, “In previous seasons, we grappled with water shortages to the extent of relying on our household supply to irrigate our crops. To address this, we installed a well last year, ensuring that our plants remained hydrated even in drier conditions. While we can’t control Mother Nature, our approach is rooted in adaptation and learning. We’re committed to evolving with each season, leveraging our experiences to ensure the sustainability and resilience of our farm amidst New England weather.”
Flower growers support plant health to result in rich colors, fragrance, and strong plant structure for use in later designs. Sadlowski sees her farm in an overall “garden” style, “This comes from watching things come together naturally. It starts with the growth habitat. Varieties have to perform well, and that ultimately informs use in flower design.”
Sadlowski sees her farm as a unified, living system. She explains, “Our overarching philosophy is holistic. We believe that by nurturing and maintaining the health of our farming system as a whole, everything else, from plant vitality to final yield, will thrive. I began the journey towards organic certification but found inconsistencies in its practice among some peers. It led me to the realization that the best path for us was not just meeting a standard but exceeding it. While we adhere to many organic principles, our primary focus remains on fostering a thriving, sustainable, and genuine farm ecosystem.”
As any gardener knows, the quality of soil can dramatically impact the quantity and quality of flowers. Sadlowski continues, “Integral to our cultivation strategy is our collaboration with a specialized agronomist. This expert assists us in determining which natural, certified organic ingredients are best suited to enrich our soil, optimizing plant health and yield. We believe in feeding the soil, and it will feed us.”
The offerings at Rooted Flowers celebrate cut flowers, including flower arrangements available at the farm stand, lavish wedding flowers, and heartfelt funeral arrangements. Sadlowski notes, “Our farm transcends traditional flower cultivation. While we passionately grow and sell flowers, we’ve also ventured into diverse avenues to offer a holistic floral experience. Over the years, we’ve provided flowers for weddings and special events, ensuring memorable moments are adorned with nature’s finest blooms.” Flower arrangements for special events can be ordered at www.rootedflowersshop.com.
With a true understanding of the needs of avid cut flower gardeners, Rooted Flowers offers tubers and corms for sale in their online store, www.rootedflowers.com. Rooted Flowers’ Annual Fall Bulb sale opens on October 15th at 10am, with both shipping and farm pick-up options available.
Sadlowski expands on sourcing tubers, “Our farm actively engages in seed saving and the digging and dividing of dahlia tubers. While many of our specialty flower bulbs are sourced from trusted growers, we’re gradually shifting towards using more of our own stock. The recent challenges in Holland–a major bulb supplier that faced harvest issues due to weather disturbances–emphasize the importance of this transition. Although we aspire to be more self-reliant, current infrastructure limits the full realization of this vision with all parts. Nevertheless, we’re committed to adapting and evolving to ensure consistent, quality offerings, and that’s where we lean into our creativity.”
The farm stand is situated at 501 Shoemaker Lane, Agawam, MA 01001, where handcrafted wraps and jar arrangements await visitors. The stand has been seasonal, with Sadlowski innovating to stretch the season and provide fresh, local flowers year-round. This self-service stand runs on the honor system, accepting cash, Venmo, and PayPal.
With her son nestled in his baby carrier, Sadlowski shares her parting thoughts, “The heart of my farm and its joy lies in the profound sense of connectedness it nurtures … Working hand in hand with my family, tending to the land, and watching as the seeds of our efforts bloom, I’m reminded of the intricate web of relationships that bind us all. As the farm has grown, it’s clear that our approach to floristry isn’t just about flowers. It’s about weaving a tapestry of memories, moments, feelings, and people.”
Lisa Goodrich is communications coordinator for Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, (CISA). Learn more about local farms, harvest favorites, and seasonal fun in our online guide at buylocalfood.org.
Photos courtesy of Rooted Flowers by Monika Normand Creative.