‘Sonnenblume’ is the German word for sunflower.
Sonnenblume is also the name of my flower farm and floral design studio, located in the heart of Minnesota.
It was started, and continues to operate with the core goal of providing flowers to people–real flowers, that come in colors that make your heart ache, in a myriad of different varieties, oftentimes arranged together in ways that can take your breath away.
My German ancestors on both sides of the family were farmers, generations upon generations of them. I fully believe that skills and passion can and are passed down through one’s blood, and through the name of my business I hope to connect myself to that lineage of people who tended the earth and made their life from it.
The core values at Sonnenblume are quality of flowers and quality of artisanship.
The Farm: Quality Flowers
Sonnenblume Flower Farm is located in Brained, Minnesota, as part of our family’s hobby farm. We live off of a dirt road a few miles out of town, surrounded on all sides by thick Minnesota woodlands. The philosophy here is that flowers are one of the most beautiful parts of Creation, and as parts of Creation they should be nurtured and grown in harmony with the natural world around them. For that reason, Sonnenblume flowers are grown without the use of any artificialities (chemical fertilizers, anything ending in -icides, etc.) and in complete harmony with the seasons. I like to emphasize that they are real flowers… growing out of rich compost, out in the open between the woods and the pig pasture. They get rained on, they wave in the summer breeze, and you should see the bees and butterflies around here.
In this country, and my little area of it especially, there’s plenty of big companies supplying exactly standard flowers shipped from heaven-knows-where. I think that standard fare can only get you so far, however. There’s something very good about having access to a wide variety of different flowers with different stem lengths and different stages of bloom and different levels of wild (sometimes the best flowers are ditch flowers). Real flowers, like the ones grown here and on wonderful flower farms like mine all over the world, are always more healthy and beautiful than anything shipped for days in a box. I want real flowers in the hands of as many people as possible.
The Design: Quality Artisanship
Sonnenblume Design Studio is located in a little corner that I carved out for myself out of the unfinished basement. It’s not a particularly glamorous setup, but it’s nice and cool down there, which keeps the flowers happy, and I have all of the amenities I could ever want. It’s really quite romantic in its own right, it just takes a little squinting to see it. Big thanks to my family for tolerating making paths through buckets of flowers to get to the cellar.
While I have no formal floral design training, I’ve drawn from my experience working for a wedding designer, multitudes of books and articles, help from generous flower friends, and a bit too much Instagram scrolling to develop my own personal design style. Beyond my obsession with flowers in general, I absolutely love colors. That’s why I’m doubling the number of flowers I’m growing (again)… I want to collect colors, and see how many different ways I can put them together.
I do believe floral design to be a form of art, utilizing the flower’s and greenery’s natural colors, shapes, and textures to create an arrangement that is enough to evoke a movement of the heart. Floral design is an art form that’s different from others, because each arrangement is a work of art, made up of flowers, which themselves are each little works of art. And each arrangement is ephemeral; “lasting only a short time,” which is a sad thing–until you realize that it just makes room for a new arrangement, full of new colors and shapes and textures.
About Mary Schaefbauer
Don’t try to pronounce it.
I’ve always had a love affair with flowers, my earliest memories are playing with blooms from my mother’s flower garden. I’ve had a number of “my very own” flower gardens throughout my childhood, and now, at 17 years old, I’m blessed to have a really big one, and an amazing clientele to go with it.
I’ve always been a little precocious… I started my first creative business at 12, and I haven’t quite taken a break from my entrepreneurial spirit since then. I’m working on my AAS degree in Business Management through the PSEO program at our local community college, so there’s a bit of juggling of work and school and high school-age shenanigans going on. Thankfully, I have some amazing, enthusiastic friends; both my age and older/wiser/more experienced, and a community of people who value things that are local, and real. I am eternally grateful for them.
I am also blessed with a community and clientele that takes me seriously, even though I’m still pretty little. I try my best to share the things I’m passionate about with everyone around me, which is the real basis for this flowery endeavor. While I may not always know what I’m doing, what I do know is what I love–flowers, and the experience of pure joy and connection to Creation that flowers can give someone–and as long as I’m sharing that with others, I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.
See? It’s really quite picturesque.