In the early 1990s, Kirsten Bosnak was editor of a magazine called Supermarket Floral, traveling to far-oﬀ places like Holland and Colombia where cut ﬂowers were grown for export to the U.S. She later worked in Europe for two years before returning to Lawrence, Kan., in 1996 to work as an editor at the University of Kansas. Little did Kirsten know that 25 years later she would return to ﬂowers, albeit in a decidedly local way, with the launch of Blue Morning Glory, a boutique ﬂoral design studio and farm.
While it may seem like she has started a second life chapter by pivoting to ﬂowers, Kirsten thinks diﬀerently. “My work with ﬂowers as a business is not a change but rather a surrender to lifelong loves and practices,” she writes on her website (bluemorningglory.com).
Kirsten continues to work as communications manager for an environmental research center at KU while building Blue Morning Glory into a wedding and event-focused studio and farm. In addition to ceremonies, she designs for events at the local art museum.
Lawrence is a Midwestern university town located about halfway between Kansas City and Topeka, two metro markets ﬁlled with couples who often return to Lawrence to be wed. They are drawn to Kirsten, her seasonal ﬂowers and her ﬂoral aesthetic, described as both wild and elegant. Designing for clients using botanical ingredients she grows ﬁlls a special niche and appeals to several types of customers. “There are people who really want a ﬂorist who is growing local, sustainable ﬂowers. Another group includes people who really want something unique; they’re artistic and they want ﬂowers that don’t look canned, that say something about who they are.”
Kirsten inched closer to ﬂower farming and ﬂoristry in 2015, after helping design ﬂowers with Erin Loganbill, her Kansas City-based twin sister who owns Yellow House Flowers. “I had this sudden epiphany. I just kind of woke up and connected with the knowledge of something that I had ignored for a long, long time,” she recalls feeling the ﬁrst time she assisted Erin with a wedding. “I found myself thinking, ‘What am I doing here? I love this!’”
Eventually, Kirsten realized that her MFA in creative writing and work as an editor could co-exist with a boutique ﬂoral enterprise. “This business requires so much more than putting ﬂowers in a vase,” she points out. “It is a business. It’s counseling. It’s storytelling. It’s having the courage to be honest about what you love. It’s marketing with a soul. So I can use all of the reading and writing and study and put that into practice with images and words about my ﬂowers.”
Also in 2015, she and her husband, Bob Gent, bought 16 acres of land located about 10 miles northwest of Lawrence, complete with water, a pole shed and an old tractor. Kirsten commuted there to farm, growing a wide variety of ﬂowers as well as herbs, berries and native perennial wildﬂowers, while she and Bob oversaw construction of a new farmhouse. They moved from the city to the farm earlier this year. Having acreage for ﬁelds of ﬂowers is a leap beyond Kirsten’s former ﬂower patch – a 50-foot by 75-foot parcel in a Lawrence community garden.
“Bob and I both had the farm dream since we were teenagers,” she says. “I actually go back ﬁve generations in Kansas, and I’m pretty entrenched in the prairie ecosystem.”
Kirsten often collaborates with her sister, an arrangement they both value. “We are emailing and texting each other every day,” she says. “If one of us books a client, the other one is involved somehow. We really want to support one another, so we run plans and proposals by each other and test ideas on each other.” The women’s design businesses are interwoven, allowing them to frequently act as a team while remaining focused on their distinct client bases and styles.
Kirsten’s daydreaming about living a sustainable rural life has come to fruition. She recalls writing several notes to herself about 12 years ago, jotting down these words: I don’t want to be a grant writer. I want to be a farmer and a poet. I want to have my own business, and I wish I could work with my sister.
Writing phrases on paper has become self-fulﬁlling prophecy. “I have a compulsion. I can’t live without ﬂowers,” she says, adding, “I’m about 90 percent closer to my dream than when I ﬁrst wrote on that scrap of paper.”
Being proﬁled now, in Florists’ Review, brings Kirsten’s story full circle in a serendipitous way. In 2000, Florists’ Review magazine acquired the trade magazine she once edited and renamed it Super Floral.
Blue Morning Glory