Bushwick’s Local Flower Farm and Florist True Leaves

True Leaves
True Leaves’ Bushwick garden.

True Leaves Floral is a beautiful concept from Jessica Balnaves & Ryann Mead. Jess and Ryann grow gorgeous flowers in Jess’s Bushwick backyard, and create unique flower arrangements with their home grown flowers.

Woman-owned and operated, they have been selling the arrangements to local restaurants (on the tables at Sea Wolf), shops (The Rack Shack displays them), the Saturday Bushwick Farmers’ Market, the Bushwick Food Coop, and they also make custom orders. At the farmers’ market they sell plants, including their $10 “Can o’ Chamomile,” catnip, salvia, fig trees, violas, basil, and marigold plants. They’re also happy to give advice to plant buyers, so you can follow up with them if you don’t have a green thumb.

via True Leaves Instagram
via True Leaves Instagram

Their garden is bursting with medicinal calendula, chamomile, clover, vanilla marigold, flax flower, nasturtium, including cilantro flower, oregano flowers, basil flowers, snapdragons, bachelor’s buttons, dahlias, carrot flowers, and too many other flowers to name. Everything is grown to source the flowers themselves; they don’t grow for the purpose of eating, though some of it is definitely edible! The plants started from seeds in “makeshift greenhouses” in Jess and Ryann’s apartments—think seedlings growing all over their kitchens and living rooms.

IMG_20160629_084445599_HDRLast summer, Jess and Ryann began talking about the idea of True Leaves. They had both been farmers at different times in their lives, but had never grown flowers. When it was time for Jess to move a few months later, she only looked at places with backyards. Jess’s yard in Bushwick is perfectly suited for gardening; they crafted one 24-foot raised bed, four eight foot beds, and have various containers full of flowers at differing stages of growth.

Funded by a Kickstarter campaign in just four days, they were able to make their dream a reality. 2016 is an experimental year—they’re trying to figure out what works for people, what grows well, and what people like best. With more than 50 different varieties of flowers, there’s a lot of trial and error. Plants are grown in succession, so that there are always flowers blooming at different stages: a row of sunflowers rises from shortest to tallest, or youngest to oldest.

IMG_20160629_091351972The garden is truly an ecosystem: you’ll find ladybugs humming all over. Sourced from Crest Hardware, the ladybugs took care of the “aphid situation” in the garden. Jess and Ryann always inspect the flowers after cutting, to ensure the ladybugs don’t become unplanned residents of someone’s apartment.

Next up—they are looking for more space to expand their business, and more funding to do so. They’re hoping to build rickshaws for their bikes for home deliveries (which are delivered by subway now).

The website will be launching very soon, but for now, stay in touch with them on Facebook, follow them on Instagram (really beautiful flower pics!), or get on their email list.

About Cherie Y

Cherie Yanek moved to Greenpoint in 2000, and left for a two year hiatus to get her MFA at Naropa in landlocked Boulder. She is a writer, librarian, and ultramarathoner, and is the race director of the Burning Man Ultramarathon. For more about her running, writing, and musings, visit www.worldofcherie.blogspot.com

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