Garden Rose Farming Masterclass

Garden Rose Farming Masterclass

Grace Rose Farm is overjoyed to announce our first garden rose farming masterclass in May 2019, a three day, all-inclusive retreat for aspiring and experienced rose farmers!

We are offering a full scholarship to our masterclass for one attendee! To be considered, please tell us the following in an email: about yourself, why you want to attend our masterclass, your farm plans, and any other information you'd like to share with us. Application deadline is 7pm PT on January 4, 2019. We can't wait to read your submissions and welcome the recipient at our farm in May! 

Over the past three years I've been told time and again how beautiful my life looks and how fortunate I am to grow garden roses. It's a life I never imagined and I'm overwhelmingly grateful to the floral community for embracing our farm and letting me pursue my passion! I’ve loved roses all my life and relate to them on a spiritual level that’s difficult to explain, but if you also love roses, you probably know the feeling. They're timeless, graceful, inherently luxurious and nostalgic. No other flower is more universally loved or historical, and I still can't believe I live amongst thousands of them.

When I decided to leave my career in new media and pursue growing roses full time, I thought my 20 years of gardening experience would make farming roses easy. Consequently, I made countless frustrating mistakes early on that jeopardized my new business and the longevity of the plants in which I had just invested. I quickly learned rose gardening is not farming whatsoever and flawless wedding roses don’t just happen. There were times I nearly quit or succumbed to taking the easy way out. Fortunately, I was able to envision what our farm would look like in the future and course corrected along the way as I better understood my roses' needs, my growing environment and the challenges of growing outdoors on a large scale.

Our Garden Rose Farming Masterclass is the product of countless inquiries we’ve received from those who have an interest in farming roses. We’ve been asked a multitude of complex questions that require an understanding of geography-specific opportunities and limitations - insight we can provide to individuals upon learning their unique goals and what stage they are in with their farm. There is considerable capital required to grow roses, even on a small scale, however roses are a worthy investment that provide in abundance for many years when farmed sustainably and proactively. We will share our farming know-how, both the highs and the lows.

Our masterclass will be held Sunday, May 19 through Wednesday, May 22 at our rose farm in Santa Ynez, California. Our roses will be in their first flush and our season will be in full swing! Attendees will see and be part of our daily production, work alongside our employees and learn everything they’ve ever wanted to know about growing roses. While farming roses outdoors for cut flower production is most ideal for areas with long warm climates, we believe there is opportunity in most climates to farm roses for profit and supply local demand for these highly sought-after blooms. Our three-day course is designed for and will be personalized for those in zones 6a through 10b.

Our goal is to help attendees understand how farming garden roses can be profitable and provide them with tools to get started or transform their existing business. This year we harvested, processed and shipped/delivered 25,000-30,000 stems each week May through November. We will teach attendees exactly how we streamlined our operations and met our goals each week. We know farming at our scale isn’t feasible (or desirable!) for many, nor should anyone just jump into large scale growing, so we will also show attendees how to make a profit on a minimal investment, just as we did when we started in our backyard on a half acre. Some of the topics we will cover in depth are:

  • plant sourcing + variety selection
  • site planning
  • planting
  • irrigation
  • startup + continual costs
  • organic growing + fertigation
  • organic pest + disease management
  • bloom cycling
  • labor
  • harvesting, processing + cold storage
  • winterizing
  • pricing
  • marketing + branding
  • 'community over competition' while leading the way
  • scaling to meet demand
  • establishing + nurturing relationships with clients
  • client expectation + education
  • retail + wholesale distribution

The most substantial thing I aim to teach attendees is how to be a proactive grower. Roses must be farmed proactively to be profitable. Growers need to know what to anticipate month by month so their crop blooms uninterrupted. A missed bloom cycle due to thrips, short stems that aren’t harvestable, a spider mite infestation, over/under fertilizing and a host of other challenges brought on by nature will impact the grower’s finances and reputation amongst florists, not to mention put the health of their plants in jeopardy. My personal goal is for each attendee to leave our masterclass with the confidence of knowing what to give their roses week by week, season by season so their business thrives. Roses have a reputation for being high maintenance plants, however that’s only because most people grow them reactively instead of proactively. When roses’ needs are met and they’re not stressed, they give back so much more than they require of us!

Over the course of three seasons, we’ve scaled our business exponentially each year, while also investing more time in our client relationships and raising the demand for our product significantly. One of the things closest to our hearts is our commitment to sourcing and growing the most beautiful rose varieties for our clients. We feel it is our responsibility as lovers of the rose not to just accept what the commercial rose growers are offering simply because they’re easily accessible. Commercial growers aren't necessarily aware of what florists and their clients want since their primary market is retail garden centers and landscape. We will share with you how we're taking the demand for cut roses in a new, much-needed direction by growing rare and antique roses for the cut flower at our farm. Garden roses are a necessity for floral designers and are used in nearly every wedding. For garden roses to stay in high demand and at a premium stem price, we as growers, must be at the forefront of creating that demand by growing new and unique roses on trend with current floral design. Our attendees will have the opportunity to see and learn about the rose varieties we’re introducing to the cut flower market and be the first to reserve plants for the 2020 growing season. You’ll see where and how your plants are grown and be able to tell your floral design clients about the rose varieties you’ll be cutting for their brides! In an industry that lacks transparency as to where and how floral product is grown overseas, we are proudly committed to being leaders in domestic flower farming and supplying other farmers with sustainably grown plants.

While we hope to cover everything our attendees need to know about growing roses, we know it's not possible to foresee all the challenges a grower may face, so we're extending our attendee’s investment by providing 1:1 consultation for one year following the masterclass. Both Ryan and I will be available for questions and to help problem solve obstacles you face in planning and operating your farm. For those farming with their significant other, we will show you how we find balance and divide business responsibilities and maintain harmony while working together, even in the midst of our hectic season.

We invite registered attendees to send us questions and topics they wish for us to cover. We will aim to address all of our prepared session material as well as attendees' questions during the masterclass.

We hope you will join us in May when our roses are putting on their magical spring show! There is no more beautiful sight and scent than garden roses in their first bloom of the season. We can’t wait to meet and spend time with those who share our love of roses. We’ve made many lasting and wonderful friendships with our clients and look forward to the same with you! 

When we sought out land to relocate our rose farm, one of the things most important to us besides the area being ideal for growing roses, was choosing an area people love to visit. A charming town, beautiful weather, farm to table restaurants, and scenic country drives made us fall in love with the Santa Ynez Valley. We are located in idyllic Santa Barbara wine country where our roses grow amongst rolling hills with centuries old oaks, thousands of acres of vineyards, equestrian ranches and expansive mountain vistas. With year round mild temperatures and afternoon ocean breezes, we're fortunate to have a long growing season roses love. Our weather is perfect for taking in the beautiful scenes of our farm and surrounding community and our clear, crisp nights make for magnificent star gazing. We cannot believe we live here and grow our roses in such a serene, majestic place!

What's Included
Your investment includes all educational sessions, upscale bed and breakfast private room accommodations, meals, snacks, wine tastings and transportation upon arrival to the farm. Attendees will receive a welcome gift, clippers, gardening apron, and personalized course materials as well as 1:1 consultation via phone/email for one year following the masterclass. Attendees will be given priority ordering of roses from The Nursery at Grace Rose Farm for the 2020 growing season. Airfare and travel to and from Grace Rose Farm are not included in the cost of the masterclass and are not included as part of the scholarship.

Accommodations will be provided by the The Ballard Inn, which is a favorite bed and breakfast of ours. Long before we lived in the Santa Ynez Valley, we visited the area and stayed at the Ballard Inn frequently. We even rented the entire inn for our family and friends when we were married nearby! Their suites are charming and afternoon hors d’oeuvres on the front porch are memorable.

    We've selected the finest restaurants in the Santa Ynez Valley specializing in farm to table cuisine and we will be dining in their private dining areas. Each of these restaurants can accommodate dietary restrictions. Catered breakfasts and lunch will be served at farmhouse tables under our willow trees at the farm.

    Those wishing to bring their spouse/partner may do so for an additional $800. Guests may join us at all social times, tours, meals, and tastings which are included in the $800 fee. Educational sessions are for attendees only. Please select "Bring a Guest" in the registration options below.

    Upon registering for the masterclass, we will begin personalizing your experience. Instruction and materials will be written with your growing zone’s opportunities and limitations in mind. For this reason, refunds are not available should you need to cancel, however we will apply your deposit to a future masterclass.

    Sunday, May 19
    12:00-4:00 - Attendees arrive at Grace Rose Farm. Meet Ryan and Gracie over hors d’oeuvres
    6:00 - Welcome dinner at The Gathering Table at The Ballard Inn

    Monday, May 20
    7:00-8:00 - Catered breakfast
    8:00-9:30 - Rose field + farm tour
    9:30-11:30 - Morning session
    11:30-1:00 - Lunch in Danish town, Solvang
    1:00-3:00 - Afternoon session
    3:30-5:30 - Group vineyard tour or visit a local lavender farm for those not interested in winemaking
    6:30 - Dinner at SY Kitchen followed by fireside chat at the farm

    Tuesday, May 21
    7:00-8:00 - Catered breakfast
    8:00-9:30 - Rose harvest
    9:30-11:30 - Morning session
    11:30-12:30 - Gourmet picnic lunch at the farm
    12:30-3:00 - Afternoon session
    3:30-5:30 - Wine tasting/shopping in Los Olivos
    5:30-7:30 - Alfresco dinner at Fess Parker Wine Country Inn
    8:00 - Outdoor movie night, star gazing and desserts on the lawn

    Wednesday, May 22
    7:00-8:00 - Catered breakfast
    8:00-11:30 - Participate in processing and packaging production with our staff
    11:30-2:00 - Catered lunch over closing session and reflections
    2:00-5:00 - Attendees depart

    Detailed session descriptions will be provided to registered attendees one month prior to the masterclass.

    For those who would like to attend the masterclass with a friend and share a room, please send us an email prior to registering so we may adjust your pricing.

    Our spring masterclass is sold out. If you’d like to attend, please email us.

    Garden Rose Farming Masterclass

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