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Mountain Home Magazine

A Beautiful Arrangement

Jun 01, 2024 09:00AM ● By Lilace Mellin Guignard

Dana Beck has created a gorgeous and sustainable life in Bungy, one that gives her kids a childhood of flowers. On a warm day in late April, Dana takes a break from starting seeds in her workshop at the Little Petal Co. to sit on the porch looking across Bungy Road. Off in the distance she can see her parents’ house where she grew up. Lila, nine, and Jack, five, search last year’s flower fields for a bobolink nest before their dad tills soil up with the tractor. She’ll tell you this is the kind of life she and Eric, her husband, wanted.

Dana is from Bungy and Eric is from nearby Mainesburg. After dating in high school, they went their separate ways, with Eric working outside the state and Dana studying to be a dental hygienist. They’d see each other when he came home on visits, then in 2009 he called from Elko, Nevada, asking her to move out there with him. They married in 2013, and started their family. When Lila was three, they returned to Tioga County and in 2017 bought a cabin in the woods in Middlebury where Dana took the kids foraging for herbs and wildflowers. She planted a small sunny patch with zinnias and was hooked. The couple wanted more land and a life outdoors. “I like to be outside,” she says. “It gives me peace and sanity.”

The Middlebury cabin sold in 2021, and they rented in Wellsboro while looking for their next place. Then word got to her that an elderly neighbor she’d grown up with, George Feathers, had passed away, and that his wife, Dorothy, wanted to sell the place to someone in their community. The property lies along Elk Run, where Dana played as a kid. George hadn’t done any landscaping, and, other than a field he leased for corn, there was flat lawn surrounding the house, garage, and workshop. Dana says, “It just clicked when I saw the field” of old cornstalks, and her dream of cut flower farming was born. “I knew it would be good soil because of the creek. River bottom soil.”

They weren’t set to close on the property until June of 2022, which would be too late to plant. But in May of that year, Dana had filled their Wellsboro apartment with cups of seedlings, and Dorothy let them prepare the land even though the deal wasn’t finalized. “We had all the beds done and garden planted before we closed on our house,” Dana says. “She was so sweet.”

Dana wasn’t sure if this was going to be more than a hobby. She planted cosmos, sunflowers, zinnias (of course), and 100 dahlias. When ordering the dahlias from small growers, Dana realized how in demand they were and realized there was a market. Dahlia tubers multiply, producing three to ten tubers each year, so Dana’s initial investment would pay off in more than blooms. That first August, Dana sold bouquets at her folks’ place, Route Six Country Shoppes in Mansfield. She also provided bride and bridesmaid bouquets for her first wedding.

Dana describes her aesthetic as cottage style. “I love light, warm colors. I’m not into red flowers, I'm drawn to the peachy tones, creamy yellows, ivory, blushes.” And so are others, it seems, enough that the second year she officially began the Little Petal Co. and added the custom-built flower shed on their property by the road. Her dahlias expanded from 100 to 800 tubers with over fifty varieties. Bouquets were sold at West End Artisan Shop in Wellsboro, where owner Taylor Nickerson says, “The flowers are artistically arranged to spark instant joy. They were a crowd pleaser and always sold out. I hope to have them again this season!”

But mostly Dana sells from her flower farm, staying close and homeschooling her kids. This way they can spend time with Lila and Jack during the day and keep the kids more involved with the chores tied to the land. Once she’s bursting with blooms (July this year, she hopes) the flower shed is stocked with $20 bouquets for pick-up from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, until the first October frost. (Please be ready with cash or Venmo at the stand.) During the week, Dana takes care of custom orders, but Thursday is cutting day. Dana harvests and soaks stems overnight to rehydrate. Friday morning is spent putting bouquets together, and that evening she cuts the Saturday flowers. Do-it-yourselfers are invited for U-pick on Saturday as well—bring your kids! For $25 you’ll get a Mason jar to fill. Private U-pick parties can be booked during the golden hour (shortly before sunset), for which Dana sets up a table and plays relaxing music. Groups are welcome to bring wine and snacks. Though they’ve had one wedding at the farm, they are not a venue. Photographers do rent the field for engagement photos, though, as well as senior pics and family photos.

Being back in Bungy has the benefit of being around family. Dana’s mother-in-law, Debbie, helps weed and harvest, all done by hand. More expansion is planned for 2024. The 800 dahlias Dana planted multiplied to 4,500, many of which she sold to small flower farms and some to local gardeners. She’s put in 100 peonies. “They only bloom for two weeks, but,” explains Dana, “if you pick them when the bud is a little round marshmallow, they will last two weeks in a bouquet.” She’s trying out some English lavender varieties that do well in colder zones, and adding a rose garden. “Roses will not be part of U-Pick,” she says. Future plans involve offering workshops and events.

Visit them on Facebook and Instagram, at, or drive out to 298 Bungy Road, Mansfield, once the flower shed is open. This year her bouquets will also be sold at Mama Made at 117 N. Main Street in Coudersport. It’s never too late for a childhood of flowers.

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