Tell us about yourself.
I have been living in Hastings County for 6 years now with my partner and two kids. I grew up in the Georgian Bay area and then made my way to Toronto and Montreal, then back to Toronto. I am a floral designer and have been for 14 years now. I started in a retail environment in Toronto and eventually made my way over to the wedding and event portion of florals. I have always loved to grow things. When I was little, my family moved around often and a few of our apartments had garden space, starting when I was 9, I became enamoured with gardening. When I moved away for school and I had my own place, my apartment slowly started to fill with plants and it hasn’t stopped. I currently have about 150 house plants! So as you might have guessed, I started to merge designing with growing and I now grow a good portion of the flowers I use in my design work. We live on a 20-acre property in the Ivanhoe area and we have converted little patches all over the property to garden space. We grow flowers, herbs, veggies, and trees- all varieties of everything! I also spend a lot of time working in other mediums- painting, sewing pottery, writing and we homeschool. It’s a busy home!
What made you move to Hastings County?
I fell in love with a house! It was a private sale on Kijiji. I had never been to this area before, we didn’t know anyone in this area either. We drove up the long driveway to the house and as soon as I walked through the door I had made my choice. The property was already full of so many amazing things growing, and the house was my dream home- complete with a space for my flower studio, a greenhouse off the kitchen to grow things, and a space for my pottery studio. Albeit, it is an older home and it needed a lot of work- but even that has brought us so much. We have learnt a lot in the renovation process and met so many people from our community. We love living here.
Tell us about the steps you had to take to start your life in Hastings County?
Well, we needed jobs! I reached out to venues in the Hastings County and Prince Edward County area and became a preferred vendor at them which helped spread the word about my studio. I bought plants and flowers from local nurseries, and flower farms and got to know the owners who also shared my info with clients. I was also on social media at the time which helped a lot. And on the personal level- we needed community. My daughter was younger and an only child at the time so finding friends for her was important. We got really lucky when we realized our neighbours, Lauren and Nate (who also lived in the same area in Toronto as us prior to moving here) had 5 kids, homeschooled, and ran a homestead. They have become family to us. Lauren and I have spent a lot of time homeschooling the kids together and slowly our little group has expanded to a very large group of about 30 kids! We signed up for a local CSA and met more of our community through that, many who have become dear friends. We are a part of the Stirling Farmers Market as well which has been really great for meeting people too.
What is your favourite thing about Hastings County so far?
I really love the diversity of the land. There is such an interesting mix of forests, fields, swamps, meadows, rocks, and water. I am in constant awe of how beautiful this area is in every direction. Even on our property alone, there is such a range of this and so many varieties of plants and trees. I am endlessly learning here. I also find it so inspiring, whether I’m using items I’ve harvested in my designs or looking at a September morning field and creating an entire wedding palette of the colours I can see.
Tell us about your business.
I run a wedding and event floral studio from our home and grow a large portion of the flowers I use in my designs. During the growing season, I also offer retail flowers and I sell bouquets and cut stems every Friday at the Stirling Farmers Market. I also have a small line of natural care products that I have created using the herbs and flowers I grow. I soak the dried plant material in oil for 8-12 weeks (maceration) and strain the material so what I am left with is an oil that has all of the healing properties of the plant without having to add any chemicals or preservatives. In the future, I hope to sell some of my pottery and art as well. During my “slower” season in the winter, I work on new products for the market and build up my stock for the market season. Currently, I am working on some linocuts that I will be printing onto linen for dish towels- alongside my other products and flowers of course!
How can people connect with you?
My website is a good place to connect- www.begoniamoon.com
I made the decision about 4 years ago to leave the social media world. As much as it was great for my business, I found it to be too toxic for me. It was taking more than it was giving. I still have an Instagram, it links to my website. I update it once a year. The best way to contact me is by email or stopping by the market from June to October to say hi!