Backyard flower business blossoms during COVID-19

Reporting and writing by Melanie Mohler

Just like many others, Megan and Codi Berkenstock’s lives did not go quite as planned this past year. The two were to be married in April 2020, but plans changed due to the pandemic. They decided to downsize their wedding, with only close family and friends, and were married two months later in June.

“We always talked about starting our own business and played around with the idea, and we’re still pretty young… [but] we really weren’t planning on starting anything quite yet,” Megan says. However, their smaller wedding left them with extra funds, and the two decided to start a small flower farm in their backyard. 

Thus, Woodland Acre Flowers became an official business in May 2020.

Why a flower farm? “I’m an artist, so I always knew kind of in the back of my mind I want to do something with art,” Megan explains. “And then I actually ended up working at a flower farm in Hartville [for two seasons], so I learned the ins and outs of flower farming, all of the hard work that goes into it, and I just kind of fell in love with that rewarding lifestyle.” Megan and Codi also have enjoyed gardening together for several years.

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Their home in Springfield Township, with just shy of an acre of land, is the headquarters of Woodland Acre Flowers. The flowers, from dahlias to sunflowers to dianthus, are grown on site from seeds. The seeds begin in trays in their basement under a grow light, then move to a greenhouse next to their garage once they reach a certain point. Finally, the flowers are transplanted into a 30-foot by 75-foot growing plot located in the backyard. 

Codi and Megan work together to maintain the plots and handle the other “grunt work” involved, while Megan manages the floral design side of the business. Once the flowers begin to bloom, most evenings are spent outside harvesting the flowers.

Their harvest is plentiful thanks to the type of flowers they grow, which will continuously bloom throughout the season. Last year they sold some of their flowers to Dougherty Flowers, Inc. in Louisville, and they are willing to sell to other local florists. “We try not to have any waste,” Megan says. She has turned leftover flowers into bouquets for her siblings, neighbors and even a local nursing home. “It kills me to throw flowers away,” Megan says.

Woodland Acre Flowers’ first season was quite successful. Start up costs were small, special orders came in weekly, and Megan oversaw the floral design for three weddings. Megan’s biggest challenge was not having enough space when putting together arrangements. 

“Last year, my studio was my kitchen,” she says. Things were piled everywhere when she did the flowers for her friend’s wedding in September and their two coolers were not enough. She hopes to build a walk-in cooler by the end of this season for even more space for the cut flowers.

This year, Megan and Codi are adding two additional smaller plots in order to double, if not triple, their flower yield. One of these plots will be dedicated to spring flowers, including ranunculus, one of the new flowers they will be growing this year. 

They also plan to try local delivery and a flower share program. The flower share program is a six-week “subscription” offered for either summer or fall flowers. Megan will provide customers with a vase with their first bouquet. Then each week, for six weeks, the vases will be refreshed with a new arrangement of seasonal blooms.

Currently, Megan already has three weddings booked for this year and the flower share spaces are filling up fast. They will begin selling flowers in late April or early May until the season ends in October. Both local delivery and pickup at their farm are available Friday through Sunday.

For now, Woodland Acre Flowers is a side business for the couple. Codi works full-time as a warehouse supervisor for Alco-Chem, Inc. in Canton, while Megan works part-time at Jones Group Interiors and is a freelance crafter for JoAnn Fabrics. Megan hopes to grow the business so that she can run the business full-time within the next few years.

“I just always want to make sure that it’s something that we always love to do,” she says.

You can find more information about Woodland Acre Flowers on their website, as well as on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Photos: Used with permission from Megan Berkenstock. 

Melanie Mohler is a West Hill resident with a love for baking, cross stitch, and local history.

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