Locust Creek Flower Farm: A Blooming Success - Illinois Farm Bureau Partners Locust Creek Flower Farm: A Blooming Success - Illinois Farm Bureau Partners

Locust Creek Flower Farm: A Blooming Success

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Photo credit: Jeff Adkins

When Stacey Shanks was in high school, she worked at a flower shop and spent many afternoons designing floral bouquets. Little did she know back then that her part-time job would later turn into a full-fledged floral career.

Now a wife and mom to three energetic boys – Deacon (11), Calum (9) and Judson (7) – Shanks, a Christian County Farm Bureau member, owns Locust Creek Flower Farm near Millersville. She grows more than 50 kinds of flowers and sells them wholesale to grocery stores and flower shops like the one she worked at as a teenager. Shanks got the idea of starting a flower farm after growing and arranging flowers for a friend’s wedding in 2014.

“It was such a fun experience because I got to grow different kinds of flowers than I was used to seeing at the flower shop, and I made some really beautiful arrangements for my friend’s wedding reception,” says Shanks, who spent 15 years as an interior designer before becoming a flower farmer. “That was my first time growing my own flowers to use in floral design.”

Growing a Flower Farm

Stacey and Andrew Shanks, with their sons, Deacon, Calum, and Judson. Photo credit: Jeff Adkins

In the fall of 2014, Shanks and her husband, Andrew, moved to a small farm north of Pana and south of Taylorville, just a few miles down the road from the farm where she grew up.

“My dad is a corn and soybean farmer, and we also had hogs growing up,” she says. “When this house came up for sale, we jumped at the chance to live here because my parents and grandparents all live within a 5-mile radius.”

Shanks launched Locust Creek Flower Farm in 2016 and began growing flowers on about 1 acre of their 5-acre property.

“You can do a lot in a small space with flowers because there is a lot of turnover with the changing seasons,” she says. “For example, in the fall we plant snapdragons and a whole variety that will be our spring flowers, and then we move to sunflowers, zinnias, poppies, marigolds, dahlias, mums and ornamental kale. In December, we have evergreens and holly – it’s a constant rotation.”

Photo credit: Jeff Adkins

Locust Creek Flower Farm still provides flowers for weddings, and shoppers can find Locust Creek flowers for sale in local floral shops along with Kroger and Hy-Vee stores from May through October. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Locust Creek began offering on-the-farm porch pickup for tulips, daffodils and flowering woody stems. They continued porch pickup for Thanksgiving and Christmas bouquets to help customers decorate their homes for the holidays.

The whole Shanks family has gotten involved in the flower farm. Although Andrew works full time off the farm, he drives the tractor and runs the tiller on his days off. The couple’s three boys help with bucket washing, filling seed trays, watering, repairing drip tape in their irrigation system and keeping the compost buckets emptied.

“My husband did not grow up on a farm, but thankfully he’s willing to go along with my crazy ideas,” Shanks says with a laugh. “My father-in-law is my delivery guy, my mom helps with bouquets and my grandma (who is 95) puts our logo on our flower craft paper sleeves. She stamps them and sorts them into bundles of 25. If you’re related to us, chances are you will do something for the farm.”

Planting Seeds of Knowledge

Shanks shares her flower-arranging skills by offering classes a few times throughout the year, including a popular fall flower-arranging class held at Indian Knoll Pumpkins, usually held the third weekend in September.

Photo credit: Jeff Adkins

“We started that fall class our first year, and it gets bigger each year,” Shanks says. “We use Indian Knoll’s pumpkins as the container, scoop them out and people arrange their flowers in them. We also do swag classes for the holidays and centerpiece classes.”

Because the U.S. imports nearly 80% of the flowers sold here, Shanks feels it’s important for her customers to know where their flowers come from.

If You Go

Locust Creek Flower Farm

1911 E. 700 North Rd., Pana, IL 62557

Where to buy: Flower shops and grocery stores in Taylorville, Rochester, Mt. Zion, Morrisville, Effingham, Shelbyville and Springfield

Phone: (217) 825-3584

Website: locustcreekflowerfarm.com

“If you know your farmer, you know you’re buying local, fresh-cut flowers,” she says. “We hear all the time about the importance of supporting local producers, and when you buy our flowers at florists or grocers, you support two businesses – not just one.”

Kroger and Hy-Vee stores have signs posted near the Locust Creek bouquets to let customers know they are locally grown. At flower shops, Shanks says all you have to do is ask for local flowers. Locust Creek delivers wholesale flowers from Effingham all the way to Peoria.

©Journal Communications/Jeff Adkins

“What I love about the flowers is they are so beautiful, so different and so colorful,” Shanks says. “It’s amazing that I can plant something everyone can enjoy next spring – it gives me hope. I love that my flowers are there for special occasions in life like weddings, anniversaries and even funerals to celebrate someone’s life. Flowers show people you care – they say so much with one little bouquet.”

3 Tips for Beautiful Bouquets

Want to try your hand at flower arranging? Stacey Shanks of Locust Creek Flower Farm offers these three tips:

  1. Large and Low: Keep large focal flowers, such as sunflowers or dahlias, lower in your bouquet.
  2. Small and Tall: Smaller flowers, such as gomphrena or ageratum, should be higher than your large focal flower.
  3. Include a Thriller and a Spiller: You want something tall in your arrangement, such as grasses, plume celosia or bells of Ireland, balanced with something spilling over the side of your container. This could be amaranths, foliage or the odd twisted stem.

1 Comment

  1. Angie says:

    What a great article about a local friend and farm! Thank you for the coverage.

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