For 16 seasons, Anne Bertinuson has been growing specialty cut flowers, flowering plants and herbs on Rosebud Estates, a farm she rents on Route 80 in Monrovia. “I specialize in lilies and grow them from April to November,” she said when we met one scorching Sunday afternoon at the Urbana Library Farmers’ Market where she offers her gorgeous blooms for sale. The lilies are Asiatic, which have a light scent and are usually white and pink, grow faster and bloom first. Orientals have a sweet smell, come in different colors and bloom naturally in the ground. Some are grown in crates from bulbs that have been chilled to mimic winter conditions and require eight to 12 weeks to bloom. So, you can almost have lilies all year round.
In 2002 after Bertinuson left a job, she responded to an ad for work on a flower farm in Montgomery County. She thought that flower gardening would be interesting, and she had formal training in botany and horticulture.
“I knew a lot about gardening as I’ve done it since I was a child,” she said. “We grew a lot of our own food growing up.”
She learned the ropes from a flower grower and eventually branched out to rent her own space. Plenty of people can make a living on a quarter acre of flowers,” she said.
Bertinuson became involved in flower and gardening associations to learn more about the growing—weather conditions, statistics, parts of each flower and how to make bouquets that will last more than a week. Originally from Connecticut, Bertinuson and has lived in Maryland for 23 years and Frederick County for 20.
She admits that it is an exhausting amount of work to plant and tend the farm on one’s own. She has a small greenhouse and recently started construction on a hoop house that is covered in plastic but not heated. Lilies are sensitive to rain and moisture, and their environment must be controlled so they don’t develop fungus.
Planting begins in January and she is still putting things in the ground in November. Come spring, 150 peony plants go in, and hydrangeas follow from June to September. In-between she spins, knits and weaves.
Bertinuson gardens organically and currently sells at farmers markets in Urbana and Riverdale Park and by special order. Creation of arrangements and bouquets for weddings and other special events is coordinated depending upon customer requests. “For a lot of cut flowers, they need to be making pollen first so that when they are cut, they do not wilt. It’s a huge challenge to be doing cut flower markets in the 90-degree heat on asphalt!”
This year she has increased her work and has more inventory. Any bouquets, plants or herbs remaining at the end of market day are given to other vendors and donated to the Greater Urbana Food Bank. Many Americans feel guilty about buying flowers for themselves, Bertinuson said, but she believes you don’t need a special occasion to have flowers around, particularly those grown locally and under careful guidance. Locally grown flowers last up to three times longer than those bought in shops, many of which are brought in from other countries.
Stop by and see Bertinuson at the Urbana Library Farmers’ Market on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and treat yourself to some fragrantly exotic lilies. Visit and contact her through her website at www.rosebudestates.com and on Facebook.