Dorene Titus, the owner and visionary behind A Bloom and a Prayer, located in Sioux City, Iowa, got the gardening bug about 18 years ago when a long time friend asked if she could help plant stuff Memorial Day weekend. The experience changed her life. She noticed when she was in the garden she would instantly feel centered, joyful and happy. She remembers thinking she wanted to feel that way all the time. She quit a stressful  job, pursued becoming a Master Gardener and took a job caring for plants at the local garden center.  And she never looked back.

Dorene started her journey in flower farming in Michigan in 2018. After completing online flower farming school, she started growing and selling cut flowers by the stem, wrapped market bouquets and flower arrangements from a metal building she converted into a Garden Studio. She sold to florists. Got hired for her first full service wedding, provided on-going make and take projects during open studio hours, provided field trip opportunities for local private school children, and attended farmers markets. All this was in addition to learning what flowers to grow, how to grow them, when to harvest them, how to succession plant to have flowers continually in bloom, natural pest management, natural weed management, and so much more. Unfortunately most things learned were learned the hard way.

The first winter, about $800 in dahlia tubers were stored in an outside storage building.  Though protected, most did not survive. That was both a personal and financial loss. Learning how to overwinter dahlia tubers became a trial and error process each year until finally being perfected this year. 

But back to the flower farming journey ...

Thanksgiving weekend 2019, due to a personal crisis, Dorene temporarily subleased an apartment in Lincoln, Nebraska. Once settled, she bartered to use a piece of local farmland in the Spring of 2020. The owner of the farm purchased her cut flowers and offered them to her own customers at farmers markets and as an add on to weekly produce CSA offerings. In exchange Dorene helped harvest produce. It was a win-win situation.

In the Fall of 2020 Dorene decided to move back to her hometown of Sioux City to be near family, and sold her flower farm property in Michigan. And she prayed, and waited, and trusted God for an opportunity to purchase farmland again closer to “home.” Until then, she grew flowers in her Sioux City backyard, attended an area Farmers Market and sold flower arrangements on Facebook Marketplace.

Finally, farmland became available, only one mile from her house. It was truly a blessing and a miracle. But the real work was only beginning. It was bare farmland, so initially the first year in 2022 was spent clearing and leveling the land, getting a well drilled, getting electricity, working on soil health and preparing garden beds. 

In 2023 the season opened in July and it was a busy summer and fall, with two weddings, custom flower arrangements, flower subscription deliveries, several on-site events, sales at vendor fairs and pop-up events, and sales to a local florist. 

Essential infrastructure, such as a walk-in floral cooler, is still needed. Soil health still needs work. It’s a diamond-in-the-rough flower farm and a work in progress.

Moving forward to 2024, Dorene expanded the everlasting flower bed area to be able to offer dry-able bouquets, along with dried flower arrangements, floral crowns, wreaths and D.I.Y. Projects in the fall and winter months.

This will be the first full growing season at the new flower farm location in Sioux City, but 7 years of flower farming efforts in the making for Dorene.

The majority of flower sales in 2024 will be through the purchases of pre-ordered flowers, as well as scheduled on-site events. Extra flowers available will be dried or offered AlaCart online.

All available flowers and flower purchases will be showcased and channeled through this online website for better efficiency and time management.

For more information, check out A Bloom and a Prayer on Facebook and Instagram. 

In 2024, let’s grow, “bloom” and experience hope and beauty through flowers!