Around 25 minutes outside of Lubbock is Sky Gardens, a family-owned flower farm run by South Plains native and LCU graduate Skyler Richardson.
Sky Garden’s Family Legacy:
Sky Gardens is rooted in the soil of a family legacy that spans over seven decades. The land, where the flower farm now stands, was initially purchased by Skyler’s great-grandparents, Hollis and Dorothy Borland, back in the 1950s. Their vision led them to continually acquire surrounding parcels of land. This dedication to the land extended to Skyler’s grandparents, Larry and Louella Borland, affectionately known as Poppy and Grannie. For around 50 years, they lived and farmed cotton on this cherished family land until eventually moving to Lubbock in the ’90s and retiring from cotton farming in 2023.
The Inception of Sky Gardens:
The beginning of Sky Gardens can be traced back to Skyler’s childhood. Growing up amidst her grandparents and great-grandparents, she was immersed in the world of agriculture. She spent her formative years riding tractors and assisting her grandfather in cotton farming. The turning point arrived when her great-grandmother, Dorothy Borland, acquired a greenhouse during a trip to South Texas. It was in this greenhouse that Skyler and Dorothy cultivated tomatoes, forging a bond that would shape Skyler’s future endeavors. Dorothy eventually acquired a little John Deere tractor, though seemingly whimsical at the time, that tractor would eventually play a crucial role in building and maintaining Sky Gardens Flower Farm.
As Skyler matured, the greenhouse weathered and eventually succumbed to the elements. However, it left a mark on Skyler, even after her great-grandmother’s passing in 2015.
Skyler went on to graduate from Ropes High School and later from Lubbock Christian University, earning a degree in criminal justice and history. Her career path remained uncertain, oscillating between the prospects of becoming a lawyer or a doctor. In 2020, her plans to take the LSAT were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing her to reevaluate her aspirations. During this period, Skyler was working at a flower shop where she witnessed the challenges of transporting and preserving flowers. These experiences ignited the spark for Sky Gardens, as Skylar recognized the need for locally grown flowers in the South Plains.
Undeterred by initial skepticism and a culture steeped in cotton farming, Skyler embarked on her journey into flower cultivation. Sky Gardens made its modest beginnings in 2021, with the unwavering support of her family. By the end of 2022, the farm had expanded its operations significantly, marked by the construction of two high tunnels and a growing sense of enthusiasm.
Cultivating Flowers in West, Texas.
The ever-changing and unpredictable weather patterns of West Texas necessitate resourceful approaches to flower cultivation. Drawing from her family’s experience in the cotton industry, Skyler prefers to sow seeds directly into the ground. Her rationale is straightforward: “If cotton farmers can plant seeds directly into the ground with success, that is going to be the best method for growing flowers.” While transplants are occasionally used, the majority of the flowers at the farm originate from seeds, bulbs or tubers planted directly into the soil.
To ensure optimal hydration, the flower farm is equipped with drip irrigation systems, guaranteeing that each plant receives the precise amount of water, without waste.
A Family Affair:
Skyler says that Sky Gardens’ success wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering support of her family. Her grandparents, parents and even her 13-year-old sister, Chloe Richardson, who has ventured into a bunny business, have all become integral participants.
Visitors to Sky Gardens can enjoy an array of flowers. The farm is filled with annual flowers such as zinnias, amaranths, marigolds, lotus, cosmos and basil, which flourish through the summer and into the fall. Perennial plants, including dahlias, rose bushes and soon-to-be-introduced peonies, offer an extended bloom cycle with less intensive care.
Skyler uses the high tunnels to provide a protective environment for more delicate blooms like anemones and ranunculus, particularly during the spring.
About the Farm:
At Sky Gardens, people can pick flowers and fill a jar for $35. With the new addition of the Highland cows and the bunny barn, visitors can truly be immersed in a West Texas farm.
Just like a traditional florist, Skyler creates arrangements for a wide array of events. She also sells corms and offers flower subscriptions, ensuring that the beauty of Sky Gardens can be enjoyed on a regular basis.
Throughout the fall, Skyler also conducts pumpkin arranging classes where participants carve out pumpkins to create exquisite flower arrangements. In the spring, her planting classes provide insights into the art of growing flowers in the high plains.
Professional photos at the farm can be arranged for a fee of $75 per hour, with Skyler’s sister, Bethany Richardson, offering professional sessions or you can bring your own photographer. For those looking to capture memories on their own, free iPhone photography is also welcomed.
Sky Gardens is open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 5-8 p.m. and all day on Saturdays.
A Place of Meaning:
When asked about her decision to establish a flower farm in the South Plains, Skyler says, “My family has been here forever and the farm I grew up on and love is here. I do not want to move away from that. Also, the people here in Lubbock are something special. Everything is so great here and I know God is big enough to handle it out here in Lubbock, Texas.”
To learn more about local businesses in the South Plains, follow @lubbockeda on all platforms, and check out our blog page here.
HHC Living | Elevating Luxury Living & Hospitality in Lubbock, TexasRead more: HHC Living | Elevating Luxury Living & Hospitality in Lubbock, Texas
Zap + Soul Collective: Crafting a Unique Jewelry Experience in Lubbock, TexasRead more: Zap + Soul Collective: Crafting a Unique Jewelry Experience in Lubbock, Texas