When I met Kirby Bachman four years ago at the St. Matthews Farmers’ Market, I thought, “how cool, this lady raises and sells flowers”. As the weeks went by, I watched her bringing bucket loads of flowers. Dozens of bucket loads. Every week. With each customer, she and her assistant, David, gathered, arranged, wrapped and sold hundreds of blossoms. Large and small, bright and subtle, the blooms were each carefully laid on the work table, a wet towel around the stems, a packet of flower food tucked into each bundle, then each bundle wrapped with love for the ride home.
Kirby and David have a smile for each of their patrons. The lines at Kirby’s booth sometimes snake out into the middle of the market pathways. People wait in line, chatting with other customers, perhaps grabbing a few more blossoms for their bouquets as they wait for their turn to be gathered, arranged, wrapped and smiled upon by Kirby. My booth was across the main width of the market, but I always had a secure line of vision to Kirby’s booth. Busy. She is always busy. Gathering, arranging, wrapping and smiling – and inspiring.
The patrons at the market would walk by my booth, their flowers nodding and wagging along. The more flowers I saw, the more flowers I wanted.
Now, I love flowers. If you know me well, you’ll know that ‘love’ doesn’t really capture the breadth of my feelings for flowers. Addicted might better describe my relationship with blossoms. My neighbors might just call it crazy. My family just shakes their collective heads.
I have been flower gardening for over 23 years. Years of browsing through garden magazines or books, I frequently came upon the term ‘cutting garden’. To have a cutting garden where you’d walk out to gather an armful of zinnias or snapdragons or daisies to grace the dining room table or take to a neighbor or friend, well, that would be a luxury. I’m known to have cut a few flowers for inside the house, but was always fearful of taking too many blooms from any one plant. Stealing the show from the garden to bring them inside – I just never did that too much. Until I met Kirby.
Kirby inspired me to plant that cutting garden. Three years ago, I planted a patch of zinnias and cosmos. A big patch. About 8×12 ft of zinnias and cosmos. Lots. That summer, I took flowers to my neighbors, my mom, to friends on their birthdays, and picked bunches of flowers for anyone who might have visited me. What a glorious summer that was! The pleasure that I derived from practicing arranging flowers and seeing the appreciation on the faces of my friends was so moving.
Things in my garden are constantly in a state of flux, and the next two years’ crops of flowers paled in comparison to that first. That is about to change. I have installed another bed this year. It’s only about 2×12 ft, but it’s planted with zinnias, sunflowers and belles of Ireland. It should be a good year. I know that anything that is lacking in my own backyard can be augmented by a trip to Kirby’s booth each Saturday morning. My yard may be filled with yellow and red, and I’ll ask Kirby for something blue or purple to complement my own gathering. White is always soothing in a bouquet and Kirby will fill in the missing links in my arrangements.
Kirby isn’t the only flower show at the market, and others specialize in hydrangeas and beautiful ready made bouquets that are the perfect answer to someone needing flowers in a hurry. Kristine McNiel and Beth Brandenburg are at the ready to bring you flowers too. And Les Snider has gorgeous sunflowers – even early ones this year.
Come out to the market this Saturday, there is so much to see!