Astone’s Protea

 

Michael (pictured) and Bettina Astone have been growing a large variety of proteas and other exotic plants from South Africa and Australia at their Aptos farm since 1981. Michael explains that they are a “dry farmed” flower producer; their plants are only watered the first two summers after planting. Like the flowers’ countries of origin, they’re planted on sandy soil hillsides that drain water. No fertilizer or mulch is used.


The Astones bring their exotic flowers to the Menlo Park farmers market nine months of the year, absent only during the summer months. At this time of year, the sell seasonal wreaths and centerpieces as well as bouquets. They have a loyal following. “Our customers know they can’t buy the flowers anywhere else,” said Michael.