A grower’s farm journey through Mother’s Day

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Michael Anthony McKay, president of Helen’s Greenhouse & Flower Farm in Riverhead, stood surrounded by flowers and future flowers — plants that would bloom, if not on cue, then certainly close. He stared at flowers suspended in the sky (in hanging baskets) and thousands of cuttings in trays that would bloom and burst into color. This is what Mother’s Day looks like a month or two in advance.

“This leads up to Mother’s Day,” McKay said, surveying a green sea of trays filled with tiny plants timed to bloom before the holiday. “It’s almost a whole year cycle.” Although Mother’s Day may be only one day, it, like most holidays, may seem to begin earlier as the weather warms sooner. For the McKays, the holiday lasts nearly all year.

The McKays and other flower farmers grow in greenhouses all year long to help supply the region’s perennial appetite for colorful flora on Mother’s Day and beyond.

While flowers bring beauty year-round, Mother’s Day is Christmas, New Year’s and July Fourth rolled into one for this industry. 1-800-Flowers says Mother’s Day is its biggest holiday. People are also spending more on Mother’s Day than before — translating into a bigger appetite and a kind of bloom boom.

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