BUCKHANNON – A Buckhannon resident has carefully cultivated and tended to one of her favorite hobbies, and that hobby has now sprouted into a side business for her – quite literally.
Three Little Buds owner Joanna Webb, who is a chemistry professor at West Virginia Wesleyan College, talked to My Buckhannon from her beautiful gardens, located around her home in downtown Buckhannon.
Webb said this is her fourth official growing season, but she has been growing flowers for a long, long time. She said her husband jokingly told her she could not grow any more flowers until she took part of her bounty to a local florist to see if they would be interesting in purchasing some of her blossoms.
“I had always kicked around the idea of selling flowers to local florists,” Webb said. “So, I took some of my dahlias to Anita’s Flowers of Buckhannon, and they told me they would love to buy local flowers.”
She said she learned on the fly about growing flowers and started growing ones she found most beautiful.
“I like the market bouquet-style of flowers,” Webb said. “With COVID coming in when most of the flowers were blooming, most of the florists were closed, and I had all of these flowers, so I offered subscriptions for monthly or twice a month bouquets, and I was overwhelmed.”
Webb said her business is evolving and expanding, and so is her growing area.
“Three Little Buds is named after my kiddos, who are two, five and seven,” Webb said. “I just love growing things and want to grow flowers for my community.”
Webb said she feels the flowers she grows lend themselves to wedding work, noting Anita’s Flowers is a perfect fit because they often provide bouquets and other floral décor for weddings.
“Last year, I took flowers to Tammy’s Bridal and Floral in Elkins and JoJo’s in Elkins, but this year I have been too busy in Buckhannon to even think about taking flowers to Elkins,” she said. “That is a good problem.”
Some of the flowers Webb grows – she said she starts cultivating her crop in the spring – are those typically not found in a supermarket bouquet and include specialty tulips, anemones and Ranunculus.
“I get into flowers like Snapdragons, feverfew, Sweet William, specialty varieties of black-eyed Susans, Rudbeckia, yarrow, Statice, Veronica, Calendula, basils as fillers, Zinnias, Cosmos, sunflowers and more,” she said. “I am trying to get flowers for all seasons to make bouquets with.”
She said she chose these because flowers in supermarket bouquets are shipped in from other countries and travel far distances, meaning they don’t always have much of pleasing scent.
“I am trying to grow unique heirloom varieties that people will love,” Webb said. “Another advantage is that they are cut the day you get them, so they last much longer than those you would purchase in a supermarket, which are cut a long time prior to being shipped.
Aside from selling to Anita’s Flowers, Webb said she sells groups of flowers similar to those people purchase in grocery stores, wrapped in brown paper.
“Some people just need a treat: They need to treat a loved one or need a pick-me-up,” Webb said.
She said when she was younger, her grandmother and aunt always had gardens, which was an inspiration for her to grow her beautiful blossoms.
“I don’t particularly remember it being flowers,” she said. “They just liked to grow things and when my husband and I moved back to Buckhannon in 2012, we planted a garden. When I planted flowers, they just brought me so much joy, and I loved cutting them and giving them to my mom and sharing them with people.”
Webb said she feels there is a movement centered on purchasing local products these days – for example, with farm-to-table foods.
“There is a local flowers movement going across the country,” she said. “There is a farm called Floret Flowers out of Washington, and the founder is the poster child for specialty-cut flowers. She is getting a show on Magnolia Network through Chip and Joanna Gaines this fall. It’s kind of now a big thing to not only support local foods, but to support locally grown flowers.”
When starting her business, Webb said growing and selling her flowers locally just spoke to her.
“I want to be able to supply people with local flowers,” she said. “They are so beautiful, and they smell so good. I thought there was an advantage there versus a supermarket bouquet. I didn’t realize before getting into this just how many people love having flowers in their homes and how it brightens their day.”
Webb said she is blown away by the support of the Buckhannon community.
“It’s kind of been encouraging during hot summer days when I am out here covered in bug bites, knowing that people love it and enjoy it and that it is valuable to them,” she said. “It is awesome and is the boost to keep going and it has been awesome this year.”
Webb said additional information is available on Instagram and Facebook by searching ‘Three Little Buds,’ and her website is www.threelittlebudsflowers.com.