Femme Pétale Flower Farm

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Planting by the Moon – Lunar Planting

When I first embarked on my farming journey, it felt like I was a professional seed killer. No matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to get it right. It was disheartening, to say the least. Then one day, I stumbled upon an article about lunar gardening. Curious but skeptical, I asked my organic consultant, Arina, about it. I expected laughter, but to my surprise, she affirmed that it was a tried and true method she used as well! Intrigued? You should be!

Planting by the phases of the moon might sound like an “airy-fairy” practice, but it’s actually grounded in science. And no, it doesn’t involve dragging your seeds outside in the dead of night with the moon as your only guide. Just as the moon influences ocean tides, it also affects soil moisture. Additionally, the moon impacts plant growth through geotropism – plants’ growth response to gravity. Roots grow downward (positive geotropism), while shoots and stems grow upward (negative geotropism).

At Femme Pétale, we sow our seeds primarily before the new moon. During the new moon, the gravitational pull draws water to the soil’s surface, causing seeds to swell and improving germination. We also believe this results in stronger plants. As the moonlight increases, it promotes stem and leaf growth.

Just before the full moon, we transplant seedlings, plant bulbs or tubers, move plants, or take cuttings. The full moon enhances moisture absorption, and as the light wanes, it encourages robust root development.

Why not give this method a try? Explore our seed sowing guide and see how lunar gardening can boost your planting success. We’d love to hear about your experiences!

Creativity Nipped in the Bud – Adene’s Farm Flowers Just Copies Instead

As artificial intelligence explodes into our daily lives, the overwhelming fear is that it will bring about the death of human creativity.  I don’t consider myself a cynic, but I argue that creativity has been on the decline for a while now, and long before AI had an influence.

I start my story in the middle. It was 10 September 2022 and springtime for a flower farmer is exciting.  However, that particular day had something else in store for me.  I received a text from a customer containing an image of flower seed packets displayed at OZ Market which were identical to my own Femme Pétale seed packet designs.  

It is at this point that I need to backtrack to half a year earlier where I’d just spent two months with an amazing designer, Jess from Watercolour Heart Illustration, creating the perfect packaging for the Femme Pétale seed packets.  Every detail was considered, with gorgeous flower designs painstakingly hand-painted for each flower seed packet. Immensely proud of the work, I posted the designs on Instagram on the 3rd April 2022.

Now, we return to that arbitrary Saturday morning on 10 September where it felt like my world caved in – the day I learned a fellow farmer would simply take something from another.  Until September 2022, Adene’s Flowers’ seed products were marketed in the below very plain and ordinary packaging –

Fast forward to that dreaded text, and now Adene’s Flowers’ packaging looks like this –

In summary –

76d26729-1cfc-4e1d-8a22-f0ddd04659fd
c01d9484-0fb6-4bdb-86fa-983e6071e7fa
655fcd61-2e8a-4926-96e3-5c5a0f17e162

 

Look familiar?  Well, you are not the only one to think that – my phone began pulsating, and continued for weeks, with messages from customers – some asking if we (Adene and Femme Pétale) were the same company and others outraged at the blatant plagiarism.  Comments began mounting up on Adene’s Flowers socials and were promptly deleted.

Adene’s Flowers’ packaging had moved to a square packet, with the same composition and positioning of the logo, all surrounded by the same artistic design of hand painted water colour flowers.  Now the more you stare at something, the more you start questioning yourself.  It is understandable to have flowers on a flower seed packet, isn’t it?  Moving from rectangular shaped to a square shaped packaging could just be a coincidence, perhaps?  Maybe hand painted flowers in water colours for flower seed packaging is not actually unique!

But the more I investigated, I learned that my packaging was very unique.  There were no other flower farmers out there with the same style and design.  Then came, what they refer to in the movies as the smoking gun…

It came to light that a month after Femme Pétale flower seed products were launched, Adene’s Flowers contacted her previous designer for a “secret project”, essentially involving the replicating of Femme Pétale’s packet designs for Adene’s Flowers’ new packaging. She subsequently declined the brief, but that did not stop Adene’s Flowers. 

Adene’s Flowers then posted on its Instagram profile that it wanted to “change our flower seed packet design with colourful designs” and that “we are looking for an artist who is keen to draw and colour/paint 35 different varieties of flowers”.  On the same day, Adene’s Flowers contacted Ms. Jess Meyer, the very artist that Femme Pétale commissioned to create original and unique painted flower artwork utilising watercolour paint for its Femme Pétale seed packet designs. Adene’s Flowers attempted to convince Ms Meyer to design an identical design, stating that “I saw your designs for femme petale – it’s absolutely incredible! I would love it if you can quote us on 35 different varieties with colourways – it will end up being 100 different designs”. Ms Meyer of course declined the brief on that basis it would compromise both her integrity and detract from the originality of Femme Pétale’s designs.

Left with no alternative, I sought out lawyers, who addressed my concerns to Adene’s Flowers.  A lengthy response from Adene’s Flowers’s lawyers was received, denying all wrongdoing but immediately tendering to amend its packaging as follows:

While I took some solace in the fact that the immediate offer to amend, was an acknowledgement of wrongdoing, the change was completely superficial and did not even end up being implemented.

We all know that that this has been done before (as the below examples remind us) and will be done again.

In the Checkers / PicknPay case, the courts found that PicknPay’s imitation range of products “could not have been conceptualized based purely on market trends, but appears to be a calculated imitation” and the fact that the Checker’s original range of products was specifically cited in the design brief when designing the packaging (remind you of anything?) “can only mean that [the Checker’s] packaging is perceived as enjoying an established existing reputation in the market and was used in designing the Pick n Pay get-up. As a consequence, [PicknPay’s] behaviour concerning the replication of [Checker’s] approach for products targeting the same target markets constitutes a misrepresentation that is likely to detrimentally affect [Checker’s] reputation and goodwill.”

So this is where we are in the world.  Where a competitor does not need to go through any of the sweat, blood and tears of designing its marketing material, and can simply wholesale copy someone else’s designs.  The problem with that reality is that at some point there will be no more designing and only copying left.  I suppose, that’s when the humans begin copying from AI!

My hope is that as creative and inspired brands such as myself, and the examples above, put our products out with integrity and originality, that those who simply slavishly copy and paste are held accountable, and those that find inspiration instead elevate their ideas even higher. 

A Beginner’s Guide To Growing Ranunculus

The papery layered rose of spring

Ranunculus flower is characterised by multiple layers of delicate, tissue-thin petals that create a lush, full, buttercup appearance. They come in a range of colours and petals are often glossy and have slight variations in texture, giving them a unique, eye-catching appearance.

Ranunculus blooms in the Spring and early Summer and is a popular choice for cut flower arranging and ornamental gardens.

Growing Guide:

  1. Corms are dry and unimpressive when you first see them. Place
    them in an aerated bag and soak for maximum 4 hours. They will
    plump up and not look so dry and brittle anymore.
  2. Before planting prepare your soil with compost and organic matter. Plant the corms 5 – 8cm deep with 23cm spacing, with the pointed ends facing up. Plant in full sun with well-draining soil.
  3. After planting, water the areas thoroughly to help settle the soil around the roots. Keep the soil evenly moist, but not waterlogged until the plants start to establish.

Care Guide

On average Ranunculus takes anywhere from 8-12 weeks to bloom after planting. Planting them in Autumn will ensure more prolific blooming. Be sure to plant them in full sun. Do not let plants get exposed to extremely cold temperatures. If you do not have enough space in your garden you can grow them in crates. 20 corms will fit into a deep crate.

Ranunculus have a splendid vase life. Cut at the coloured bud stage for a longer vase life. If blooms are open when cut they will still last up to a week but will be more fragile.

Click here to download our guide.

A Beginner’s Guide To Growing Anemone

The prolific cup-like showy flower

Anemone’s are the work horse of the Spring garden, producing plenty blooms  throughout spring. An incredibly popular flower for a long vase life and a versatile flower for designing and arranging.

Growing Guide

  1. Bulbs are dry and unimpressive when you first see them. Place them in an aerated bag and soak for maximum 4 hours. Longer and they will be more prone to rot.
  2. Before planting prepare your soil with compost and organic matter. Plant the bulbs 5 – 8cm deep with 23cm spacing, with the pointed end
    facing up.
  3. After planting, water the areas thoroughly to help settle the soil around the roots. Keep the soil evenly moist, but not waterlogged until the plants start to establish.

 

Care Guide

Anemone’s will flower just 3 months after planting. You can expect anything from 15-25 blooms per corm over the Spring. Do not let plants get exposed to extremely cold temperatures. If you do not have enough space in your garden you can grow them in crates. 20 bulbs will fit into a deep crate.

Harvest as soon as they open to get the best vase life. Cut the spent blooms
down to the base to encourage new blooms.

Click here to download our growing guide.

The Story Behind Femme Petale

My flower farming dream was almost killed as many times as I killed my seedlings. But let me take you to the beginning of this chapter; October 2019. I was designing my chandelier for the Joburg International Flower Show, and all the things I wanted to design with were not available, but this wasn’t the first time I had this problem, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last, this was, however, the final straw in a long yearning to be able to grow and harvest the flowers I want to work with!

But taking you even further back, I met Louis from the Wild Bunch Farm in 2018 and left Cape Town with a fire in my soul but no direction for this thought of doing the farming thing. Over our Christmas break in 2019, we decided to stay home to wind down from our crazy busy year (big mistake but who knew we would stay home for most of 2020 right?) This was when I researched and started reading up and forming my plan. I contacted Erin from Floret in March, as we went into lock down, but with our R|$ exchange and the uncertainty we faced it was put on ice then. Come October 2020, a full year later and I am blessed with a partial scholarship for Florets online course.

2021 was a bit of a blur. I started the course in January and was already ordering seeds from the Flower cartel to try before I got my hand in importing mass loads of seeds. March, I submitted my business plan to the bank and planted my first batch and April my second, June they were dead, along with my sense of humour.

Following that we were staying at my moms for 2 weeks in July, I salvaged the seeds that remained and potted then up and walked the dead veld where the dreams lay dormant out about 4 572 times a day. When the cold snap hit Gauteng as the coldest day of the year, it was the day I met with the bank online finally.

After a meeting with them where they informed me, they will not back me as I have not been in business for a full year, I cried, drank beer, and planted more seeds, with inspirational pod casts blaring in the background that had my mother and husband not knowing what else to do with me, but join in.

In that moment, the darkest (and coldest) moment where I felt defeated and full of despair (basically super sorry for myself), we as a family came up with a plan. From there, with the help of my mom, we ordered wood and plastic and drip irrigation, and this beast just had a mind of its own. I also connected with Susie from Flourish Urban farm at that time, and we discussed a flower collective; ordering, information sharing and collaboration. Finally, some like-minded, powerhouse, kind, and formidable women to share in the pains and power of this journey! I can honestly say that from there to now things happened so quickly and when doing my vision board for 2022 I realised that all the pictures in my 2021 vision board became a reality!

I have learnt so much and have again faced some tough times with my autumn and dried flower crops washing away in February’s floods, but with a smile on my face. Seeing the flowers, I always dreamt of designing with in my hands, seeing the joy these flowers bring to other people, has me more motivated than ever!! The demand outweighed the supply as it was just my test year, and that had me overjoyed that this leap is in fact something so needed!

We will be bringing you more quality and designer dream flowers this year and have you along for the ride. Teach, inspire, share, and spread joy. Flower festivals, workshops, events, and just more beauty. Thanks for following and being part of our journey!

Xx Teneale