The Peony Fields-Can You See Them?

Posted by Erin Howe on

In 2015, when I put my first flower seeds and peony roots in the ground, I agonized over what to call my fledgling business. A name means so much, it's what people associate with your business, it's how they remember you. And I wanted my name to be beautiful and thoughtful and evocative and maybe clever. Should it pay homage to my town or my state? Should it carry my own name? How to stand out? How to fit in? What a lot of freight for a few words to carry!

I didn't know, then, what direction my flower business would take. I wanted the focus to be on the flowers, not the farm, so the last word I chose was "Flowers" and not "Farm". The farm is on Red Maple Road, and that seemed lyrical and lovely and generic enough to apply to whatever flowers I could grow. Finally I had a name.

And I did apply that name, for the next 8 years. I applied it on stickers to every brown-paper wrapped bouquet I took to grocery stores or handed out across my flower stand. I applied it to every open hand I could, by way of my business card. I applied it on emails to a growing list of acquaintances. And I applied it here on my website.

The red maple leaf, floating downward so as not to look too Canadian, adorned everything I did for all that time.

But, as you know if you've been hanging out here with me any amount of time, my focus shifted from flowers in general to peonies specifically. And it shifted from being solely about the flowers to also being about the farm. I found myself trying, over and over, to explain what I'm building here, and the name Red Maple Flowers, as much as I love it, just wasn't saying it.

What I want you to see when you say the name of my business, is, well, the peony fields. Thousands of peony plants, in fields with grassy paths between. A working farm, yes, but also a place where you can come and see what's going on. Where you can pick some flowers, attend an event or a class, or have photographs taken. A place where you can take a little breath filled with nature and beauty.

There are several other flower farms of my acquaintance that start with the word "Red". Not that I mind getting mistaken for any of them, in fact I'm often flattered, but you can see the use of having one's own unique name. It's been fun, Other Red Farms, but we'll have to find other reasons to meet now.

Also, red just isn't a peony color. I know (of course) that there are red peonies. Henry Bockstoce, Red Charm, Christmas Velvet, Command Performance, I could go on. But when you think of peonies, what color do you see? I thought so. Pink. Going forward as a peony farm means embracing pink and letting red go.

All of this adds up to a badly needed renaming and remodeling. "The Peony Fields" has the advantage of not carrying an inherent color at all, not being anyone else's name, and hopefully helping you see what I'm creating for you here.

As much as I've loved you, Red Maple Flowers, it's time.

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