Roxborough's Meghan Kalinowski created Pauline Nader’s Flower Farm and Bee Sanctuary as a safe haven for bees and butterflies. Luckily, the rest of us benefit too!
Meghan grows flowers and other native plants in a generous Ridge Avenue yard and several farm plots at the Schuylkill Center Community Gardens. She sells her flowers at the Gorgas Park Farmers' Market on Fridays, or by special order via Facebook and email.
Meghan is originally from Scottsdale, Arizona, where she began her career as a realtor. When her family had moved East – her mother to Ohio, her sister to Virginia – she started thinking back to her trips to Philadelphia as a child to visit her great-grandparents. “The trolleys, the fireflies, all of that stuff was so completely different,” she said. “The trees and the green, and how you could walk down the street and get a water ice. People had stores in the front of their home! It was not the experience of growing up in Scottsdale. I loved it.”
On a visit to Philadelphia in spring of 2012, Meghan found herself driving into Roxborough and thought, "Oh my god, this is where I want to be.”
WOn a visit to Philadelphia in spring of 2012, Meghan found herself driving into Roxborough and thought, "Oh my god, this is where I want to be.” She rented a place sight unseen, packed up her dogs, and three months later she was here.
The first year, Meghan worked remotely, and then founded a business that provided technical support to local real estate companies. A few years later, she got married and bought a house in Roxborough. As she began raising a son with special needs, she realized she needed a more flexible schedule to take care of him.
Originally, Meghan just grew sunflowers along the front of her yard for privacy. “I loved it so much I thought, ‘Hey, I could stay at home, take care of my child, and sell my sunflowers’.” It also occurred to her that she might some day hand the business down to her son.
Meghan officially started selling last year. “It was perfect timing.” She stopped herself and laughed, realizing how that might sound. It was hard to get seeds but, otherwise, it was a good business to launch at this time.
Meghan’s yard contains 1,000 square feet for cultivating. She rents another 2,000 square feet at the Schuykill Center Community Gardens. She grows her sunflowers in five plots, with another three for other plants.
Pauline Nader’s Flower Farm is now a regular at the Gorgas Park Farmers' Market on Friday afternoons. Meghan sells big bunches of sunflowers throughout the summer and daffodils, wildflowers, zinnias, and other varieties depending on the season.
Pauline Nader’s Flower Farm is a regular at the Gorgas Park Farmers' Market, where Meghan sells big bunches of sunflowers throughout the summer and daffodils, wildflowers, zinnias, and other varieties depending on the season.
Meghan closes her farm between November and March. In early spring, she sells daffodils while getting ready for sunflowers when the weather is warmer. “There’s a very small window for you to be successful,” she says. “A lot of sunflowers are daylight dependent, so they won’t grow and bloom on short days.”
As bee sanctuary as well as flower farm, Meghan makes an effort to cultivate flowers attractive to bees and free of any bee-endangering pesticides. “My focus, aside from the sunflowers, is to grow as many native perennials as possible to help support the pollinators. ” She notes that there has been a decline in insect populations in general, and her farm also sustains this essential part of the food chain.
Follow Meghan Kalinowski and order flowers by visiting facebook.com/paulinenaders, or purchase a bouquet at her Gorgas Park Farmers' Market stand , where you'll find her every Friday from 3 to 6 pm.
"We regularly vase test our flowers for longevity. We have found recently that the sunflowers with the deeper pigments/reds don't last as long in the vase. We don't want anyone to be disappointed with their purchase. We want you to know it's not our product or quality control, just the nature of those particular flowers.
They are so pretty, we're still going to grow them."