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StrayCat Flower Farm: Fresh Cut Flowers and Expert Design

By Marina I. Jokic

StrayCat Flower Farm in Burlington, Vermont grows its own flowers: annuals, perennials, bulbs, and shrubs among others, and also offers personalized designer services for weddings. Owner Diana Doll shares what inspires her designs and how she works with customers to best accommodate their ideas and needs into the floral creations.

In an interview, Diana Doll tells us that it was her love for collecting berries, pods, and cones and making wreaths that led her to this business. "We had so much fun gathering materials and giving wreaths as gifts." Moreover, Doll notes, gathering the necessary elements for her arrangements wasn't always easy: "It's physically demanding and happens in all weather conditions. It's important to have good gear and ridiculously optimistic 'eyes on the prize'!" StrayCat Flower Farm was established in the late 1980's, and has successfully focused on both growing and arranging flowers, which is a draw for many.

Weddings often involve elaborate planning, and one of the crucial components of any such affair is florals. Doll knows that each customer has a unique vision whose realization requires attention to detail, great listening skills and a nuanced understanding of flower varieties. "It's important to find a florist that inspires your confidence, someone you can share ideas with and get feedback from," Doll adds.

For StrayCat, it's imperative to strike a good balance between customers' intentions and professional designers' input. Flower arrangements are critical for setting the tone at a wedding- they are the first thing guests notice as they come in. What is particularly convenient in commissioning StrayCat Farms for an event is that they provide both services from one location- freshly cut flowers and design. "We have clear step-by-step information, free consultations, and regular attention to communications, so our brides know we're available to make their experience with us as easy as possible," Doll says.

Owner of the farm Diana Doll is currently the Northeast Regional Director of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, a national organization of over 800 farmer-florists, who convene several times a year to attend workshops on the latest developments in seeds and soil as well as design and delivery. StrayCat Farms aims to be on the cutting edge of the flower business, and also frequents the Burlington Farmers' Market where people can place DIY bulk orders and pick them up at the farm.

If, for some reason, you don't find the particular variety you are looking for, Doll notes, "We also buy in from the local wholesaler any material our customers request that we don't grow ourselves." Customers have varied tastes, and Doll caters to them by diversifying StrayCat's floral portfolio depending on what grows well on their land, giving it a very local feel. Her personal favorite is the versatile and hardy Vermont perennial clematis, which can be adapted to a myriad arrangements.

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About The Author

Marina Jokic holds a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in Russian and East...

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