California's beautiful floral and nursery crops are some of the state's
most profitable agricultural products. And in the San Diego region, fields
of flowers and abundant nursery stock make those commodities the top crops
in the county.
But at one floral farm in Valley Center, the flowers don't necessarily
grow neatly in rows. Instead, this place inspires a variation on the old
nursery rhyme question, "Mary, Mary quite contrary, where does your
The answer: just about anyplace it wants to, on steep, rugged hillsides,
and in every nook and cranny of usable space. But in the case of this
farm, the gardener isn't named Mary. It's Joe Walker, who along with his
wife, Julie, operates Obra Verde Growers.
"Well the ground that we have is not your typical flat farming land,
and so it's about all that is available to us because a lot of the flat
ground has been used for either housing projects or other types of activities,"
said Joe. "So we have chosen the foothills like this. You got to
utilize basically every part of it you can."
And use it they do, growing every imaginable type of filler flower.
"Filler flowers are flowers that are considered the smaller accents
that you will see in a bouquet where you will have your main flower, such
as your roses or carnations. And you'll have your greens which would be
your myrtle or your ferns or something like that, and then your accent
flowers will be your filler flowers and those are the smaller flowers,
the kind of the wispy ones," said Joe.
While grown in California, many of their filler flowers are native to
Australia. Obra Verde has a unique partnership with the Australian government
and the University of Western Australia to offer the latest in fillers
"We are constantly bringing in new varieties that have improved vase-life,
color, uniqueness to be used in bouquets and so it's thrilling because
we are always getting new things," said Joe. "We are the exclusive
distributors of those varieties."
With over 100 varieties of filler flowers and foliage available, Obra
Verde harvests year-round in the lush foothills of Southern California.
Many of the flowers are packed and shipped to wholesale flower companies
in the Eastern and Midwestern United States. Some stay in the Golden State.
In fact, there's a very good possibility that the most recent floral arrangement
you purchased at a retail outlet contained something grown by Obra Verde.
Proof that these filler flowers are filling California with beauty.
For more information on Obra Verde Growers, visit www.obraverde-flowers.com.