Elly and Eryn VanderWeyden, with their U-Pick flowers. NATALIE STICKLES

Budding entrepreneurs open up on Holland Road

The VanderWeyden sisters have a love of flowers in their blood.

Their father’s family emigrated to Canada from Holland in the 1950s, and set up a greenhouse operation in Niagara Falls.

“We helped with the geraniums in the greenhouse a bit as kids,” said Elly, a Brock University student. Her younger sister Eryn attends E.L. Crossley.

“We had some time on our hands during the pandemic, and wanted to plant something that was fun and would make people happy,” said Elly.

They came up with the pick-your-own idea.

“The cherry trees on our six-acre property, Creekside Valley Farm on Hollow Road, weren’t producing anymore, and with the help of our dad, we cut down the whole orchard and excavated the roots in February,” said Elly. “In the middle of May, we planted about 800 snapdragon seedlings and then 2000 zinnia seedlings. Those are our main crop of flowers.”

They officially launched their U-Pick enterprise last weekend, and it will continue throughout August and September. Parking is limited to three vehicles at a time, and 45-minute time slots must be booked online. At present, no drop-ins are available.

“We hope to add additional time slots in the future, as we monitor our flower supply and field conditions,” said Elly. “People should check our Instagram page at creekside.valley.farm for updates and photos of our flowers.”

Snapdragons are of the plant genus Antirrhinum, and are so named because of the flowers’ fancied resemblance to the face of a dragon that opens and closes its mouth when laterally squeezed. The flower is native to the Mediterranean, and is deer- resistant, growing well in sunny, outlying areas with well-drained soil. Many snapdragons are fragrant, and their colour and shape make them popular for floral arrangements.

The zinnia is related to the sunflower within the daisy family (Asteraceae). They are native to scrub and grassland areas of the Southwestern United States, Mexico, and South America. Members of the genus are notable for their solitary long-stemmed flowers that come in a variety of bright colours. The genus is named in honour of German master botanist from the mid-1700s, Johann Gottfried Zinn.

Ten snapdragon and zinnia stems can be picked for $12.50, and 20 stems are $22. Pre-picked sunflowers, gladiolus, and dahlias are also available at a premium price. The supply of colours and varieties will vary according to demand.

Flower pickers can borrow a pair of snippers and a bucket, and are free to browse the field to see what is available. Cash, debit, credit, Google pay, and Apple pay are all accepted. The sisters advise pickers to bring a vase or bucket with water in order to prevent fresh-cut flowers from wilting on the hot car ride home.

Although both girls enjoy being floral entrepreneurs, Elly said that neither see horticulture as a career path at this point.

Orders can be booked online at https://www.creeksidevalleyfarm.net, or by calling Elly at 905-325-2760. Their email is [email protected]