Love Buds owner Dustin Smith. Photos courtesy Dustin Smith.

10 questions with Love Buds owner Dustin Smith

The sweet aroma of a fresh-cut flower is enough to invigorate the senses, but a bouquet full of delicate blooms can instantaneously boost our mood and, of course, be incredibly pleasing to the eye. And if we had an abundant garden like the one belonging to Love Buds owner Dustin Smith, there’d never be a shortage of flowers charmingly displayed on our kitchen tables. Fortunately, we have Love Buds’ Mid City flower farm to yield a bounteous harvest every season, bringing life and color to our lives.

To dig a little deeper on how Love Buds has grown, we reached out to Dustin Smith. Read on to learn more.

1. How did Love Buds begin?

Love Buds began as a quarantine project in April. Extra time, an empty lot and a love for gardening led to the creation of this micro flower farm in Mid City. My partner Sydney and I weren’t sure what we would do with all the flowers, but the garden seemed to attract a lot of positive attention from the neighbors, so we felt like we were onto something good. We started popping up at restaurants around town, selling little bouquets of our fresh-cut flowers.

2. What led you to pursue a career in floristry?

I love all things gardening, but there’s something irresistibly cheery about a vase full of fresh, homegrown flowers.

3. What does a typical day look like for you and your team?

As of now, we still have nine-to-fives to pay the bills, which means waking up extra early to spend each morning doing gardening things like weeding, watering, seeding and transplanting. It’s on the weekends that we get to have real fun flower harvesting and arranging bouquets for pop-ups.

4. How does Love Buds stand out?

Our Love Buds are local, fresh, seasonal and naturally grown. We typically harvest our flowers the night before a pop-up, so when you buy a bouquet from us, you’re getting some seriously fresh flowers with a nice long vase life. We only have field-grown flowers, no greenhouses, which means you’re getting a seasonal arrangement that’s representative of what’s naturally in bloom.

5. What’s one thing you want people to know about Love Buds they might not be aware of?

Most people don’t know that we grow our flowers from seed right here in town. We use no-till, organic farming practices that strive for a positive environmental impact. We are equally concerned with the method of production as we are with selling a high-quality product.

6. What is your favorite part of the job?

I love working in the garden. There’s always something to do, something to learn how to do, something to learn how to do better. It’s a fun experiment that ends with beautiful flowers and happy customers.

7. Where can people find Love Buds’ flowers?

The best way to know where we’ll be next is to follow us on Facebook or Instagram (@lovebudsbydustin). We pop up at restaurants, coffee shops and markets all over Baton Rouge with wrapped bouquets and small vase arrangements. We’re also starting to provide tabletop arrangements for restaurants as a monthly service.

8. Do you have any recommendations for fall-inspired bouquets?

Aside from the ever-popular sunflower, fall is such a wonderful time for wildflowers, even right in the middle of Baton Rouge.  I recommend urban foraging in overgrown lots for things like goldenrod, wild asters and broomsedge. They’re considered to be weeds by many, but for me, their soft purples and golds combined with long vase life make them excellent additions to fall bouquets.

9. What are some of your best-selling products?

Sunflowers. We grew a wonderful assortment of sunflowers this year to test which varieties performed best. It looks like you really can’t go wrong. No matter the size or color of the sunflower, they always make a bouquet really pop. So next year, we’ll keep the wide assortment but just plant way more throughout the season.

10. What can customers expect to see this coming season?

We’re closing out the warm-season flowers now and preparing for cool-season flowers like snapdragons, Sweet Williams and calendula. We’ll try to offer flowers for as long into the cooler weather as we can. During the lull between growing seasons, we’ll spend our time planning how to grow the business, grow more flowers and come out as strong as possible in the spring.