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Bronwyn Escola: Lisianthus, Bells of Ireland and Ranunculus, Oh, My!

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Not far off of North Ripon Road sits a small stand with an elegantly lettered sign announcing arrival at one of San Joaquin County’s unique and flourishing businesses that has become a regular destination for many.

Meet Bronwyn Escola
Flowers, gardens, leaves, seeds and petals have been a part of Wild Blooms Farm owner Bronwyn Escola’s life for as long as she can remember. As a child in New Zealand, she shared a love of blooms and gardening with her family and fondly remembers how her Mum always had a beautiful garden and fresh flowers on the dinner table. Her childhood love of flora was fueled by a dear family friend who was a landscape architect for Auckland Regional Parks in New Zealand, and Bronwyn fondly recalled following him around, soaking up knowledge like a thirsty seedling. Through these friends and family connections, a passion for gardening blossomed, a passion that is still strong to this day.

The Birth of a Business
While working as a flight attendant, Bronwyn met and married her husband, Laif. Shortly after the wedding, she left New Zealand to move to his hometown of Ripon, California, in 2001. Together the couple welcomed their two daughters into the world and settled into enjoying life in the Central Valley region.

During her early years in America, Bronwyn wondered why the flowers at the grocery store were not unique and never seemed to last long. Soon she learned that most fresh flowers in the area were not very fresh at all and that 70 percent of U.S. flowers were imported from Ecuador or other countries. It was a fact that puzzled her, since more than 90 percent of the flower market in New Zealand is grown within that country. “It made me realize there was a real need for truly fresh, unique and high-quality blooms in the Ripon area and beyond,” she added.

Feeling the need to garden and grow on a larger scale than just their backyard plot, Bronwyn started cultivating a three-acre plot of heirloom tomatoes, zinnias and dahlias on her in-laws’ property in 2010. Thanks to her natural green thumb, the garden was soon bursting with more yield than her family could enjoy. Armed with a bounty of veggies and fragrant flowers, the Escola family hatched a new plan.

“We decided it would be fun to share our overabundance of flowers and produce with our neighbors and local community,” Bronwyn recalled. “My two daughters set up a small table in front of our property, lemonade stand-style, and made the first sale almost immediately.”

Word quickly spread that this farm stand was a special place to get fresh vegetables and gorgeous flowers. In 2011, the family’s hobby blossomed into a family-owned, sustainable flower farm known as Wild Blooms Farm. “In 2016, we shifted our focus to solely producing flowers,” Bronwyn noted. “Our growing season begins in February and runs through October and we are open Tuesday through Saturday during those months. Special orders for buckets of blooms are also available for people looking to create the perfect addition to a party, shower or wedding. Our buckets consist of around 60 stems of hand-picked blooms that we harvest fresh daily. The outpouring of support from the community has been a blessing. Creating connections and seeing the pure joy that flowers bring to a person’s day keep our farm full of passion and positive energy.”

A Bounty of Beauty
Wild Bloom’s fertile soils are diligently worked, tilled and watered by Bronwyn and her gardenmates, Jena Wesselink and Diane Miller, to produce beautiful fields of flowers that the farm is known for. During the spring season, exquisite blooms such as ranunculus, tulips, anemones, snapdragons and larkspur can be found growing in abundance. Summer blooms include zinnias, celosia and dahlias; many more fragrant varieties at their peak during the fall months include heirloom chrysanthemums and sunflowers. Supporting current wedding and floral design trends, Bronwyn’s garden includes elegant accent choices such as fruitless raspberry bush stems and decorative grasses.

“We harvest only the best of what is blooming, and I have high standards for each flower,” Bronwyn noted. “Jena and Diane laugh at my pickiness when they think a bloom is perfect and I argue that it’s not good enough! I pride myself on also providing exceptional customer service and I truly enjoy meeting the people who stop by the farm. The fond memories I have of picking fresh flowers for the dining room table as a girl in New Zealand have thankfully stayed with me into adulthood. This tradition and appreciation for the beauty of blooms are joys that I am thrilled to be able to pass on to others.”