The Backyard Flower Lab experiments with spreading joy to others using the fruits and flowers of the garden.
Produce was picked and delivered from The Backyard Flower Lab by volunteers to local agencies helping others.
Flowers were cut, arranged, and delivered by volunteers at The Backyard Flower Lab and donated to local agencies serving others.
Hubbard Woods School student field trips continue in the garden and orchard. Kids are studying seed dispersal, nature, beauty, plant structure, and learning about food banks while picking apples to donate. "That was the best part of my day," a smiling child exclaimed as she walked back down the road to school with her class. (she really said that--I was there.)
Are you willing to drive and deliver food and flowers to Chicago, Evanston, Waukegan, Winnetka, Highland Park and other nearby locations?
Would you like to join a group of fun-loving people who don't mind getting their hands dirty and enjoy arranging flowers for strangers while forging friendships over service?
Do you like walks in the garden, or sarcasm? Do you have a lot or zero experience and just want to be involved? Contact me through email or social media. We are always looking for helping hands
Hubbard Woods School classroom walking field trips to study flowers and fruits and nature and wonder and bugs and sunshine and....
Contact us to help with the harvest of fruit, cutting or delivery of flowers and produce, or just for a casual tour.
Send us a line if you know of people or organizations in the community that would benefit from the spreading of joy through flowers or homegrown produce.
Volunteer to deliver flowers or fruits to organizations or individuals; contact us through the email below or through social media.
Let us know if you have skills and energy you'd like to lend.
Floral sleeves would be appreciated, medium size is perfect. We use these for our deliveries to the food pantries.
I’m an introvert and former science professor who recently discovered the abundance and joy of growing flowers and food. I’m blessed with a four-acre backyard in the suburbs of Chicago, including a wildflower meadow, a large orchard, and a productive flower and vegetable garden. Depending on who is asking, I might even have a beehive or two. I also have a part-time gardener and orchardist (husband) who laid the groundwork for this (literally) over many years.
If you’ve run into me recently, I’ve been a mess. My hands have been coated in soil that doesn’t scrub off, even with a “good honest try” and some “elbow grease.” Most days, my mother would be shocked at the dirt under my fingernails, especially on a Sunday. I’m farmer-tanned and sweaty, wearing gardening clothes in every situation, especially when not socially appropriate.
And I’m joyful.
Flower growing has been regenerative for my spirit. I drift to sleep at night thinking about my morning garden work, and if I’m restless, I walk through the garden rows in my mind. My coffee is taken in a mug among the rows of flowers that need staking or tomatoes that need picking.
Sprouting of The Backyard Flower Lab
This year I have grown more flowers than any one person or family of six needs, and I want nothing more than to share this abundance. But really, who “needs” flowers? It’s a question that’s been on my mind a lot as I deadhead, collect seeds, and marvel at the miracles of nature and the matter that grows from such a tiny seed in my garage to the ten-foot-tall sunflowers with dried heads that the doves and finches are now enjoying in my absence. Maybe everyone needs flowers. The literal fruits of the garden may be shared easily, so why not the flowers? To share joy through flowers and homegrown food, I’m formalizing my project through the startup of The Backyard Flower Lab.
In my new “Lab,” I’m running “experiments” in growing, nurturing, sharing, color, beauty, food donating, seed collecting, apple ripeness, peach picking and preserving, tour-giving, and joy-sharing. As the apple and peach harvest season approaches, I may need extra hands for picking and delivering the fruit to those in need. As flower season is still mostly in full bloom, I’m open to ideas of any organizations that would accept large buckets of dahlias, zinnias, marigolds, hydrangeas, etc., or helping hands to arrange these and donate them as smaller bouquets. Reach out if you want to help, have ideas, or if you want or need a tour. The Backyard Flower Lab is a work in progress and will be, for a while-- a beautiful, messy work in progress.
Much Love and Gratitude,
April Collins Potterfield, Ph.D.
Head Flower Farmer, The Backyard Flower Lab