Blythewood cut-flower farm on AG + Art tour

Purple Tuteur farm is named for the unique trellises (tuteurs) in the garden.

BLYTHEWOOD – Influenced by her grandmother, who grew roses, Linda Bradley has had a life-long love of flowers.

“As I grew,” Bradley said, “so did my interest in growing flowers. I enjoyed working in our home garden with my father. In college, I studied botany and horticulture, among other things.”

In the mid-2000s, Bradley began improving the soil in her backyard gardens and planting perennials.

By 2016, after becoming credentialed as a Master Gardner and retiring from a lifetime of work in IT, Bradley said she continued to expand her knowledge and relished being part of a community of avid growers.

“This was also the year when my mother passed away, and I began this journey in earnest,” Bradley said.

So it was only natural that she would launch a new career in cut-flower farming. Bradley’s flower farm, Purple Tuteur, is located on Langford Road in Blythewood.

This weekend, Bradley’s farm will be one of four Blythewood farms showcased in the inaugural Richland County Ag + Art Tour.

“Honoring the memory of my family through this mission gives me great joy,” Bradley said. “I remain connected to them while making others smile through the beauty of fresh flowers,” Bradley said.

Farm owner Linda Bradley gathers flowers.

The farm’s name, Purple Tuteur, is derived from a sort of garden trellis, or tuteur. Two imposing tuteurs, stand about eight feet tall in Bradley’s front garden.

Traditionally, tuteurs are used to elevate and support plants in the garden and are usually made of a few sticks and some twine tossed together to corral wayward tomato plants, or they can be permanent and ornamental structures.

“The free standing trellises add structure and interest and are used to save room in the garden,” Bradley said. “By serving as a frame for plants to grow up instead of sprawling on the ground, more can be grown in the same space.”

Bradley’s tuteurs, made of rebar, were created and installed by gardener Jenks Farmer, a popular gardening contributor to Southern Living Magazine and other publications.

One of Bradley’s tuteurs is painted purple and the other one has been allowed to rust naturally like abandoned farm machinery in the field.

While many cut-flowers available in the United States are imported by airplane from South American countries with dubious policies on chemicals and labor, flowers harvested and delivered to the customer without ever seeing the inside of an airplane or a tractor-trailer are fresher and last longer in the vase, according to Bradley.

She has different markets for her flowers. She sells bouquets at the Lake Carolina Farmers Market every week and alternates between Blythewood Farmers Market and Sandhills Farmers Markets, attending two markets each week.  She also delivers fresh bouquets to her customers’ homes and businesses through a subscription bouquet service.  In addition, she sells flowers to local florists and event planners.

“Local flowers are truly fresh, often cut the same day that you see them,” Bradley said. “Fresh flowers last longer, smell better and they contribute to our local economy.”

Eventually, Bradley said she would like to host workshops on gardening topics at the farm.  For a complete list of flowers she grows and the seasons they are available, visit her website at www.purpletuteur.com.

To visit Purple Tuteur Farm, on Langford Road, join the Richland County Ag and Art Tour this coming weekend, June 29 and 30.  It is a free event that allows you to tour local farms while also enjoying local artisans.

At Purple Tuteur, wander the gardens while seeking solutions to your gardening woes from Master Gardeners there.  Several artisans will be painting, making jewelry and throwing pottery at the farm.

While in Blythewood, visit Doko Farm on Cedar Creek Road and see their heritage pigs, turkeys, lambs, and goats and take home some pasture-raised meat.  Artisans, including a woodworker, painter and a bluegrass band will be performing.

Head a little farther north from Doko Farm and visit Fabel Farms on Hinnants Store Road to get some vegetables, honey, and wool products and see more artisans.

Finally, head south to visit Carolina Bay Farms in Hopkins and City Roots Farm in Columbia.  The farm tour will run on both Saturday, June 29, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday, June 30, from 1-5 p.m.

For more details, including the addresses of the farm, what each farm offers and times for guided tours, visit https://agandarttour.com/richland/