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Flower farm result of hard work

Flower picking at Fence Post Florals in rural Pontiac / Jenny Wenger photo.

PONTIAC – A pair of local farmers in Livingston County are harvesting something different than corn and soybeans.

Jenny Wenger and Kayla Schaffer grow flowers for their business known as Fence Post Florals, located west of McDowell in rural Pontiac. They grow annuals and perennials which are largely sold wholesale in the floral industry. The flowers are also sold locally as mixed bouquets and through special orders.

Fence Post Florals has quite a variety with 150 different types of flowers available.

“We have the basics but we also have a lot of things people maybe haven’t heard of before,” said Schaffer.

The season starts with plenty of planning and the logistics of creating beds to have continuous flowers growing from spring to fall.

“There is just a lot of behind-the-scenes planning,” Wenger admits.

Like any farming operation, the business must make sure the seeds are in stock, how many seeds are available and how many need to be planted.

“We have to hill the rows in the spring then we grow a lot in landscape fabrics,” explained Wenger.

Those plants not used with landscape fabrics for weed control are mulched. Netting is used to support the plants. This entails installing posts to protect against the wind. Weeding the flower areas can also be a major chore.

“Right now, we are even still planting sunflowers on a weekly basis or bi-weekly basis,” added Wenger.

July is typically consumed with picking and harvesting the flowers. Hand picking each stem individually takes time.

Fence Post Florals runs a wholesale route through the Bloomington and Peoria areas, stopping at around 15 to 20 shops. They also offer a subscription program locally with pickup locations in Pontiac, Fairbury, Gridley and Eureka. Weekend bouquets are available Fridays starting at noon at WC Market located inside Fairbury Furniture in downtown Fairbury.

Special orders can also be filled for customers and classes are even offered on the farm occasionally where visitors can pick their own flowers and arrange them.

It all goes back to when Schaffer heard about flower farming from a friend in Kansas who had done this for a couple of years. This caught her attention since she has always enjoyed gardening.

“I mentioned it to my friend Jenny and she loves to give out flower bouquets to people too so we decided to try it out and after a year, we decided it worked pretty well,” Schaffer recalled.

Fence Post Florals can be found on both Facebook and Instagram and also has a website which lists special programs the farm hosts.


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