Tragedy... and Butterfly Dreams Revival

Tragedy... and Butterfly Dreams Revival

If you’ve not read Part One, you can find it here. 


Tragedy strikes, eclipsing the dream...

In February 2021, our family faced a crisis as my husband's kidneys failed, and the terrifying possibility of losing him became all too real. Juggling the roles of part-time teacher, caretaker for our daughter with disabilities, and now a part-time caretaker for my ailing husband, I found myself at a crossroads. With the prospect of becoming a widow in my mid-50s, financial concerns loomed, prompting me to explore new possibilities for supporting our family.

An ambulance takes my husband away during a snowstorm.


Amid these challenges, a revelation struck one day as I sat in our breakfast nook, gazing out at our 6 acres of fertile land through the bay window. This vast expanse of potential began to take shape as the answer to my prayers for providing for our family.  We live in the middle of some of the most fertile land in the world.  Our little county of merely 406 square miles is almost entirely devoted to growing corn and soybeans.  I knew our land could provide enough for my family.

During 2021 and 2022, I began researching various cash crop ideas, seeking a venture that aligned with my pollinator passion and the land's capabilities.  Since I was already growing native wildflowers in my dream Meadow, it was an easy step to think about other flowers.  

Ever eager to learn more, I joined several flower-oriented Facebook groups to soak up as much information as possible, initially envisioning a vast array of annuals and perennials. Soon, my head was swirling with millions of ideas!

Do all the stuff meme that says "Me, looking at seed catalogs... Plant ALL the flowers!"

However, a candid self-assessment (and a serious autoimmune diagnosis) led to a strategic mind shift to perennials, those wonderful “plant once, enjoy almost forever” lovelies of the plant world. These perennials aligned with my vision of a sustainable and manageable flower farm, avoiding the exhaustion of constant replanting.  Although I dearly love annuals, I had to be very realistic about what I could and couldn’t do.

It was a hard decision!  I asked several friends for advice, but my sister gave me the best advice:  “Rest, then listen to your heart.  What flowers make your heart sing?”  Instantly, I had my answer.  

Pink-purple gradient thought bubble. "Rest, then listen to your heart.  What flowers make your heart sing?"


1.  Butterflies, flying flowers.  And their native wildflowers are a must, of course.

2.  Next, lavender.  I have adored lavender since I was a small girl and could read the color names on the crayons.  When I found out it was a flower, I was in love!

3.  About that time, I read a book by a woman who experienced firsthand the overwhelm of growing so many different flowers.  She went through the same thought process and landed on peonies.  Well!  I love peonies too!  So why not?

4.  Then I began thinking about how to lengthen the blooming times in the Meadow.  I was considering making it a U-Pick sort of operation, so I would need something in bloom all the time.  Slowly, a plan developed that would give near-constant blooms while preserving what strength I had.  The concept of antique roses and other heritage perennials, resilient and unaltered for centuries, struck a chord, embodying a commitment to natural and sustainable gardening. Significant challenges (such as lack of funding, the lack of essential equipment, and the painfully obvious fact that my strength was limited) were ever present, but the dream of Mariposa Meadow began to take root.


Testing my ideas, proving the concepts

I decided to try my hand at planting my first native wildflowers, and to my surprise, they sprouted and grew!  I grew over 500 Indiana native wildflowers and sold almost all of them by the end of the summer.  I was also able to donate more than $300 worth of native wildflowers and milkweeds to a couple of different civic groups.  Those are pretty convincing proofs of concept.  At craft bazaars in the fall, I tried my hand at selling products made from lavender and herbs (like what the Meadow gift shop might carry), and that, too, was very successful!

 Screenshot from Mary Tyler Moore show with MTM tossing her tam in the air to the lyrics, "You're going to make it after all."

This wild roller coaster continues to be a testament to God's faithfulness, resilience, determination, and the belief that, despite the obstacles, the dream of a flower farm is achievable. Join me in part three as we navigate the challenges of 2023 and work toward making Mariposa Meadow a flourishing reality.  And I’ve got some really good news to share!!!  I think we're going to make it after all!

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