Christy Heckathorn

Christy Heckathorn walks through her new garden north of Elk Point.

The path from arranging flowers for special occasions to growing those flowers herself was not a giant leap for Christy Heckathorn. It was a series of small steps over the course of nearly a year, each one leading to the next.

Now Heckathorn has a micro-nursery that can supply nearly all the needs for her business, Fleurish Flower Farm + Design, and brings joy to everyone who stops by to see what she’s up to. Her garden is just off SD Hwy 50, in front of Heck Seeds, her husband, Chad’s business. It comprises six plots, each 50x44 feet. The beds are meticulously planned, with the precise spacing each type of flower needs. Heckathorn installed soaker hoses and plastic mulch; beds are separated by generous paths, leaving plenty of room to work.

Heckathorn has lots of experience arranging flowers, having worked with Barb Wurtz for five years at Pioneer Drug. But she knew nothing about growing and caring for those flowers, many of them shapes and colors not commonly seen in these parts. She credits Floret, a family-run flower and seed farm in Mount Vernon, WA with teaching her the basics of gardening, as well as specifics to growing beautiful flowers.

She first started thinking about growing her own flowers last winter. There were some flowers and specific colors she couldn’t get from her wholesaler. She had read the first of Floret’s books on flower arranging and learned there are some flowers that just don’t like to be transported. They last longer and the colors stay more vibrant it they are picked onsite. There are also so many more colors available, especially the blush and pastels preferred by today’s brides. Heckathorn felt it was something she could work into.

“My kids are getting older and I felt like I have the time to pursue something else,” she said. “I just had to take a leap.”

It was actually more a dive than a leap, as she got deeper and deeper into the mechanics of flower gardening.

See full story in this week’s Leader-Courier.