ContributedAllison McDonough, founder of Flower Hound Farm in Gilbertsville, works in her gardens earlier this month. After moving from Long Island to Gilbertsville last August, Allison McDonough is blooming.
The 38-year-old launched Flower Hound Farm after purchasing upstate land to cultivate her flower-growing passion.
“Flowers bring me an insane amount of happiness, and I wanted other people to feel that, as well,” she said. “I was growing for fun downstate and it just kind of took off. My friends wanted to buy flowers from me, so I thought, ‘Maybe I could start a business from this.’”
Though her initial growing season was intended to be tentative, McDonough said, the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus forced her to get growing.
“I was just going to get my feet wet (this season), because I was going from a different zone in Long Island to zone 5 up here,” she said. “I wasn’t sure how it would go, then COVID changed everything, my husband got laid off and I realized I had to try to make a living out of this.
“I started with tulip sales for Mother’s Day, with no contact and me going to people’s houses in a mask,” she said, “and it just snowballed from there.”
Today, McDonough offers a tiered subscription bouquet service and vends regularly at the Gilbertsville Farmers’ Market.
“I do the farmers’ market … on Saturdays and I do subscription drop-offs to clients on Tuesdays,” she said. “(For subscriptions), I offer different options and different price points, so everyone can have some flowers.”
Bouquet subscriptions are available in 12-, eight- and four-week options, McDonough said, and flowers will be delivered, arranged, in mason jars, through mid-September.
And, McDonough said, she’s not just gathering garden variety blooms.
“The tulips I grow are not the basic tulips you’d find growing in someone’s yard; they’re fancy parrot tulips and all sorts of different varieties,” she said. “I do really fancy stuff.
“My larkspur went over really big,” she said. “I started that in the fall, and it grew through winter and got these really long stems. Everything is from seed and I start everything in my basement under grow lights. My seasonal wrap-up for subscribers is the week of Sept. 15, then I will plant some things for the following spring and put the farm to bed … then I’m out there in March, even if there’s snow on the ground, working and getting ready.”
McDonough said her love of growing flowers took root early.“I took an aptitude test when I was 9,” she said, “and it told me I should be a florist. I thought, ‘That’s boring, I don’t want to do that’ but then my parents passed away when I was in high school and I realized it was a therapeutic thing: when I was out there working in the dirt, I was working through my problems with flowers.”McDonough said her adopted community is helping Flower Hound thrive.“Everybody here is super friendly and they want to see small businesses like this succeed,” she said. “(People) have been […]
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