US (IA): Beautifully Bloomed florist in Cedar Rapids planting seeds for next year’s weddings

Kathryn Miller had a rare weekend off two weeks ago. “Then I don’t get a weekend off until November,” she said. Miller expected to work most weekends this summer, but making up for 2020’s disruption of large social gatherings has her Beautifully Bloomed even busier than planned.

“This year is really busy, in a good way,” she said. “Hopefully next year will be even busier. “I’ve run into situations where my 2019-2020 brides are eating the same dates as my 2021 brides. So we’re a little bit busier than I’d want to be, in a comfortable spot.”

Miller maintains a space in northwest Cedar Rapids to meet with clients, but the backyard of her home in Central City is where she grows most of the flowers she crafts into bouquets and larger arrangements for weddings and receptions.

This season’s crop includes a quarter-acre of annuals such as anemone, ranunculus and snapdragons, and a fifth of an acre of roses and peonies. “We have 100 peonies right now, but by next year we’ll have 400,” she said. “We have about 50 roses. I’m hoping to get up to about 100 rose bushes.

“Our garden is expanding as our clientele is, which is awesome. People are starting to say, ‘Oh, that’s a great idea.’” Miller meets with her clients early in the wedding-planning stage to determine what flowers she’ll need to grow the following year.

“My goal is to be able to meet with the bride, and be able to grow specifically what they need the following year,” she said. “I meet with most of my couples in the fall for the following year, and I buy all the seeds, start them, so it’s perfect for the wedding. That’s my goal, to have all my plants already booked and ready to grow.”

Wedding couples like the idea of locally sourced, organically grown flowers. “People are wanting a loose, natural, garden, romantic style,” she said. “A lot of the traditional styles are tight, which is beautiful but it doesn’t reflect what flowers look like in nature. "Having something more natural, more organic, is a trend I’ve been noticing.”

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