March 13, 2019
October 6, 2017
CANADIAN FLORIST MAGAZINE
Jan /Feb 2019
Sarah Nixon on THE TORONTO FLOWER MARKET
Known as “Toronto’s Urban Flower Farmer,” floral designer Sarah Nixon has been growing and designing flowers since 2002. My Luscious Backyard is an unconventional microfarm established as a patchwork quilt of residential front and back yards in Toronto’s Parkdale and Roncesvalles neighbourhoods.
“I grow a ton of flowers in a very small space,” Sarah says. “These specialty cut flowers are organically grown (although uncertified) and range from beloved favorites like peonies and Dahlias to unusual varieties rarely seen at a standard florist.”
During the summer months, she’s an in-demand wedding designer and maintains a regular CSA floral subscription service, in addition to farming on lots across the city. Sarah participated as an early Toronto Flower Market vendor, and she returned for 2018.
“The first couple of years that I participated, I was bringing bouquets that I’d grown myself,” Sarah explains. “Last year, I brought seedlings that I’d grown, along with my Dahlia tubers. I had a great response and sold more than 500 flower seedlings, unusual flowers that shoppers wouldn’t be able to find in nurseries.”
Natasa’s use of Instagram to generate pre-Market excitement for the flowers, seeds and plants that consumers will find there helps flower farmers and florists alike. “Even before I showed up last year, I had more clients because of that,” Sarah says.
While Sarah is often credited as being one of the pioneers of Toronto’s local floral Renaissance, she is quick to praise Natasa for her work popularizing Ontario’s vibrant floral agriculture landscape among Torontonians. “It has been fantastic. Every year, more and more people hear about the Toronto Flower Market and mark it on their calendars.”
While the Market “is a rite of passage for local growers,” Sarah says it has helped more than smaller and newer floral businesses.
“There are some big commercial enterprises and greenhouses who participate. Before Natasa started the Market, it was really hard for people who weren’t florists to get their hands on these local flowers, except for maybe at a farmers’ market. What she has created is a bridge between consumers and growers.”
Urban Flower Farming:
Christin Geall June 30, 2017
Sarah Nixon’s business, My Luscious Backyard, relies on urban gardens in the neighborhood to supply local flowers to the community.
House & Home Magazine
Build The Perfect Bouquet With Tips From A Flower Guru
First published: May 09, 2016
Follow up to an interview with Matt Galloway on CBC's Metro Morning
Business is blooming for flower farmer Sarah Nixon, thanks to her innovative way of acquiring plots to grow her colourful crops in downtown Toronto.
For more than a decade Nixon has been harvesting and selling more than 100 varieties of flowers in and around the city.
When she started her business, Nixon grew the flowers in her own yard, selling them at local farmers markets.
But demand for her flowers took off and Nixon was quickly in need of what may be Toronto's most precious resource: space.
'I wanted to grow flowers on a larger scale, while at the same time living in downtown Toronto,' Nixon said.
Her solution was to use other people's yards. She asked around, advertised on Craigslist, and found volunteers.
It's not hard to see why. Nixon shows up with bulbs, seeds and tubers, starts the garden and keeps it going throughout the season. All you have to do is supply the water.
'It's a win win,' Nixon said. 'They get to have a flower garden without doing any work or investing any money and I get the growing space I need.'
Nixon says her gardens stand out and get plenty of compliments. Most of her partners ask that she plant in their front yards.
When it comes time to harvest flowers to sell, Nixon says the gardens still look great because she plants so many varieties and there's always something blooming.
'Often I'll harvest what's ready to be picked and later that day another flower will be blooming.'
Nixon has weekly subscribers who buy her flowers. She also sells to florists and designs wedding arrangements.
'There's a lot of demand for the unique types of flowers I grow. People are becoming more aware of supporting local agriculture, not just with food but flowers, as well.'
And Nixon is, once again, looking for more space. If you have a piece of your yard you'd like converted into one of her flower gardens–and you live in Parkdale or Roncesvalles –you can contact Sarah Nixon here.
Global News, August 27, 2010