Hometown Living At Its Best 59
RIGHT, TOP Mike's mother Renée lives nearby and is always
are often purchased by individuals, but WilMor Farms also sells
the “artist,” she can easily identify which child made each one.
“I have a regular customer who buys a bouquet every week
at the market and without fail, she will pick a bouquet Josie
Around 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, Rita is out in the barn
wrapping each bouquet in brown wrapping paper. As soon as
the flowers are loaded onto the vehicles in buckets, Rita heads
to the Statesboro market, and Mike takes his mother Renée to
the market in Augusta. After he helps get her set up, he heads
on to Columbia, South Carolina, for the Soda City Market. The
four children are divided between them to help sell the flowers
they have planted, cut, and arranged.
“We sell $20 bouquets, $10 bouquets and $5 bouquets, and
we always have some $1 flowers for the children,” said Rita.
“We always want to have something for everyone.” A small bag
of water is tied to the stems after a bouquet is purchased to
help ensure it stays fresh on the way home. Of course, these
flowers have been freshly cut and will have a long table life.
“The best part is the people we meet at the markets,”
said Rita. “We have a good many customers with whom we’ve
developed relationships over these past three years. One
particular woman in Augusta who lost her twelve-year-old
daughter whose name was Frances comes every Saturday to
buy two bouquets: a large one for her home and a smaller one
for her daughter’s grave. “She tells me, ‘Every time I look at
those flowers, I think, Frances has those flowers, too.’”
Around the end of September, WilMor Farms planted
their crop of “cool flowers” that included larkspur, dianthus,
snapdragons, bachelor’s buttons, ammi mist, statice, orlaya,
agrostemma, campanula, yarrow, scabiosa, strawflower, dill,
bupleurum, dusty miller, and poppies. “Even though they may
seem dormant, they are busy growing a rich root system all
winter long below the surface. And with the first good day of
sunshine in the spring, they will just take off,” said Rita.
During the changing of seasons, WilMor Farms will
continue to sell flowers at the Statesboro market, which runs
through Thanksgiving, and return to the Augusta market
perhaps a few more times in the fall. Beginning in February,
florist sales will resume.
As busy as things can be at WilMor Farms, flowers are only
one part of the Williams family life. Somehow in the midst of
all the seeding and planting and cutting, these kids stay busy
with school and sports. Mary Gen is on a swimming team in
Statesboro and regularly competes in swimming competitions;
Morgan works at Kelly Farms in Pulaski two days a week and
rides English style; Mason plays soccer and spends every spare
minute hunting and fishing; Josie likes to run and compete in
races. But no matter where these kids go in life, there’s one
thing for certain: They will know how to get out there and do
whatever they want with their lives.
With the end of summer, Rita was also preparing to resume
the children’s school lessons. Work in the garden will be
minimal until next spring. On the day of my visit to WilMor