A five year dream that was brought to fruition in 2019, FloraBee Flowers is a locally owned business that provides flowers for every occasion and is intentional in every aspect – from the seeds we plant to the bouquets you hold. We believe that flowers nurture our soul and provide a constant source of wonder and enchantment.
Grown in Lakewood, Colorado, FloraBee Flowers have found their place in significant moments across the Front Range. When you purchase flowers from FloraBee, you support local farmers that ensure their practices give back to both the earth and the community.
Meet the Farmers
I was born and raised in Denver, CO. I attended Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs, CO where I studied outdoor leadership. I am a passionate snowboarder and Steamboat provided stunning mountains and one of my favorite ski towns. After college I worked for four ski resorts over five years and had some of the best times of my life snowboarding and living the pow-chasing, ski bum life. In 2013, I began to rethink my habits and lifestyle choices; I started living a life without alcohol, where I found a new sense of purpose and wanted to return to the basics in life. Growing food brings together my love of nature with helping others in the local community. Over the past five years I have learned skills to fuel my passion and expand my farming knowledge, and I am ready to put all of my experience to the ultimate use. We run and maintain a business that is ethical, inclusive and charitable. I am elated to bring to you beautiful, enduring, environmentally conscious blooms for all beings to enjoy. I am excited to begin this new chapter in my life and to have the opportunity to begin a new business venture with my lifetime partner, Katie.
I started my farming career nearly 10 years ago at Innisfree Village in Virginia which instilled a passion for taking care of the earth and the people who inhabit it. After 2 years I made the decision to return to Colorado and dedicate my passion to my home state. Working as the assistant farm manager for the Colorado Rocky Mountain School built my confidence in running a small scale, high production operation. I then moved on to manage Sprout City Farms and was able to execute my own strategies with success and continue to work with and learn from amazing people. Through all of these experiences, my focus was growing food and people in the community, but I always grew flowers alongside vegetables to encourage a healthy farm system and for the sheer enjoyment that flowers give us. Flowers bring so much joy and wonder to the world, I knew that it would be focus of our business.
In addition to Flora Bee Farms, I continue to work in my community with food access and education through a local nonprofit. It is also important to us to give back from Flora Bee, which we do through a donation garden on site.
I am grateful to all the farmers who I have gotten to work with over the years and who freely shared their time, skills, words of advice, and encouragement throughout my farming journey. I couldn’t be happier to be diving into this new adventure with the best partner I could ask for in business and in life!
We focus on growing methods that increase the biodiversity on the farm both below and above ground and that use resources efficiently. Encouraging a wide array of plants, soil microorganisms, insects, spiders, and birds help keep pests and diseases at bay by building natural defenses and balance into our little ecosystem, as opposed to using harmful solutions. The soil is our foundation and we take a lot of care to nurture all the forms of life that live in it. We do this by implementing several natural practices:
We amend the soil with compost and feed it with compost tea that we brew ourselves.
We utilize cover crops and mulch to provide organic matter and protection.
Every year we make sure that we rotate our crops to keep pests and diseases from building up in the soil. We take a lot of factors into account when we choose our crops. One of them being their suitability to grow here, in Lakewood,CO, on our specific piece of land so that we know we are growing plants that can be vigorous and productive.
While our goal is to harvest most of the flowers in the field, we also make sure to leave some to feed pollinators and birds. At the end of each year we leave plants in the ground and wait until spring to cut back any perennials so we can provide habitat all year long.
All of these strategies build great soil, grow healthy plants, and create a healthy and diverse ecosystem so that we can have perfect blooms without the use of any pesticides or herbicides. We love sticking our heads into a patch of flowers and we want our community to be able to fully enjoy our flowers as well! We love learning new things to implement on the farm and are always striving to be better. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us to hear more about our growing practices or if you have questions!
A Little History….
This is a photo of my great grandfather’s flower shop in Omaha, NE. This is the original photo and it is even still in the original frame. If you turned the frame over you would find my grandmother’s handwriting documenting who it is in the photo, with my great grandparents on the left hand side. This is a photo of a window display that won them an award for the best shop window. My great grandfather, Frank Swanson, grew up on a farm but suffered an accident with a tractor that left him with a permanently damaged foot which would have long lasting impacts on his life. A lot of the details of my great grandfather’s life are no longer known, but I was lucky enough to hear some of the stories about my great grandparents and the flower shop from my grandmother and I’ve also learned some details through Frank’s World War I and World War II draft cards.
I’m not sure exactly what years the flower shop was open, but Swanson Florist is listed as Frank’s occupation on both of his draft cards, along with his mangled foot, which kept him from being drafted to either war. My grandmother told me that during the Great Depression their house was often a gathering place for friends and family to break bread together. The flower shops always stayed open and people continued to buy flowers for all of life’s big moments like weddings, births, and deaths which afforded my great grandparents more luxuries than most during those years, like being able to keep food on the table.
Eventually, Frank got gangrene in his injured foot and had to close the shop. At the time, my grandmother had been in college and wanted to continue on to medical school to be a doctor. With the shop closing she moved back home to Omaha and went on to be a beloved educator and principal.