Backcountry Gardens the cut flower farm was founded in 2019 by the Barnett family.
We are a very small family run business. Lisa Barnett (Lisa Bee), along with husband Doug and son DougE, both former Marines, have lived on the grounds since 2011. The farm is located in the quaint community of Ramona, California, east of San Diego. The property has unique terrain including white sage chapparal, a shaded oak woodland, and granite boulders with a seasonal creek all which supporting a diverse range of wildlife. We consider ourselves caretakers of the land. As long as we inhabit the property, we will strive to preserve the natural ecosystem and allow the native plants and animals to live with minimal human impact.
"We love this community and feel fortunate to call this place home!"
Cutting our Teeth on Succulents & Tomatoes
"I've been obsessed with plants and gardening for as long as I can remember", confesses Bee. "I think I've had just about every succulent sold in the local area at one time or another. Our small garden in San Diego was covered from end to end.
We started growing tomatoes from seed in the mid-90's. After moving to Ramona where we had more room to garden, we once expanded our tomato crop to include 33 different varieties. That year, we did a tomato variety taste test and now we make sure to always grow the winners! "
Our most expansive tomato crop included 33 varieties. That year, we did a tomato variety taste test and now we make sure to always grow the winners! "
At one of our frequent trips to a local nursery, we stumbled on a plant called Leucadenron 'Jester' with its stunning multi-colored leaves. The nursery didn't even sell it so I have no idea why it was even there! Perhaps it was fate, because that led to research into the family of plants called Protea. Protea make stunning and unique floral arrangements which led to the idea of growing Protea for arrangements and bouquets. The industry calls these "cut flowers".
Leucadendron 'Jester' was the plant that started us down the path of growing cut flowers.
Playing in the dirt . . .
In 2019, Lisa decided to leave corporate life after a long career in Information Technology. Lisa recalls many wonderful coworkers and rewarding work, but the idea of playing in the dirt full time was too tempting to pass.
"We immediately joined the Association of Specialty Cut Flowers (ASCFG) and attended our first conference. The environment was friendly and supportive. We were exposed to the vast and exciting world of growing annuals and perennials as cut flowers. It's a wonderful organization that all flower farmers should consider joining.
Fortunately at that time, some wonderful online classes were becoming available from veteran cut flower professionals like Lisa Mason Ziegler at The Gardener's Workshop. My hat goes off to those farmers who provide us with food each day. No matter how many years I do this, I will always consider myself a farmer in training" says Bee.
The flower farming experience has been very rewarding and a welcome change from corporate life.
Farm Works . . .
Lisa Bee handles crop planning, harvesting, design and marketing. Doug engineers irrigation and structures, does graphic design and is the master of purchasing (spending money). DougE handles operations, process flow and has the ever-important role of critter control.
Lisa adds "There's never a dull moment at the farm. Flower farming has a steep learning curve with many opportunities for learning. Crop planning includes choosing the right varieties and timing for the climate and for the market. Germination, irrigation, providing the right nutrients as well as when and how to harvest and process flowers varies for each type of flower.
Our mild winters allow us to work year round. That's a good thing . . . I think!? We have no need for snow protection, but we do need to shade some of our key flowers and protection from the local furry locals that like to snack on our flowers."
Please note that we are not open to the public, but do plan to host Open Farm Days during the peak veggie and flower season. Thanks for your understanding. Connect with us below for dates and times.