Last evening at the Petals & Pie Workshop, here in the barnyard, Karen Trubitt of True Love Farm told the story of a bride, her parents, and her wedding designer/coordinator. The parents and bride had sought her out at a Farm Market one day and discussed the use of local flowers in their wedding bouquets, encouraging their hired coordinator to meet Karen. The coordinator popped by for a hello, but didn’t linger, moved along to other stalls. Later when Karen was visited again by the bride & parents, they told her that the coordinator didn’t think they’d be able to source what they were looking for locally, in particular sweet pea greenery, which they would have to order from Japan. Karen, putting her hands on a bundle of soft green tendrils and holding them for display, asked, “Such as these?”
A very long time ago I was a florist. I’ve never lost interest in horticulture, in arranging bouquets and designing natural decor, but working with perishable items was time-sensitive work that I found difficult to manage when my babies were small. From early ages, though, my kiddos learned to name their wildflowers, pick posies and arrange shrines of collected rocks, moss, pebbles and wood bark, and make daisy chains when we’d picnic at the pond. Sitting in the meadow in June with my littles, warmth from a sizzling sun, crickets and grasshoppers buzzing in the weeds, fetching dogs, Mickey Mouse rods with bobbers indicating a bite, stuffed animals dragged by the ear…we didn’t have convenient, inexpensive photo processing so I only have a few pictures from those days. I don’t really need them, though, because I can pull them up in my memory in a second.
Inspired to support and bring awareness to local sourcing whenever and wherever, I knew that the “Petals & Pies” Workshop was a perfect expression of an appreciation for floral industry & the Farmer Florist movement. In teaching sustainability, it seems there is a way to make a difference on every level of living. In my early florist school career, we were given a big old bucket of carnations, grown on another continent and shipped by 3 different methods so that we could fashion them into every style of design that could be taught. Last evening we passed out materials that can be locally grown, as well as foraged items from roadsides and friends’ gardens. Lynn Frost, of The Tuscan Sunflower, encouraged freedom to arrange bouquets in the inclination of the naturally grown flowers and greenery.
Karen & Lynn shared valuable information about organic farming methods, sourcing, expenses and challenges of growing local floraculture as well as sharing their experiences and trials. One of the challenges, in fact, of putting on last evening’s workshop was that when we planned the date for the workshop, it was in anticipation that one did not know what would be in bloom in this week! It makes planning challenging, but being open and flexible to whatever nature brings encourages freedom.
These were the things that right with last evening: Good weather(though a little cool as the sun went down, thanks SJ for the load of extra sweaters you brought us), really delicious pie(thanks, Char & SJ, for the help in making and baking while I was 1-armed this week, thanks Megan, for grocery shopping for us), a nice turnout(though I’m sorry more hadn’t come, we had a really perfect number of attendees – thanks, Social Media, for free publicity, thanks friends for sharing), gorgeous materials(thanks Kat Smith of Stones’ Throw Farm for letting me raid your gardens, thanks Frost Hill Peony for letting me purchase extra peonies from your amazing farm, thanks True Love Farm for your sweet peas, apple branches, celosia, zinnias, cosmos greens, snapdragons, stock, basil, more and thanks Tuscan Sunflower for every-everything else!), silly cats for comic relief(thanks Smallie for busting through the bouncers and joining the party, thanks Wasabi for yowling and howling at Smallie during the event), occasional baas from the sheep(thanks Mister K, thanks Mocha, thanks babies), professional, informed and prepared instruction(thanks Lynn & Karen, for all of your time and effort, for sharing), charming setting(thanks Char & SJ for helping me SO much, all of the time), and lastly, an open minded, open hearted group of attendees that were brave to sign up for something that sounded intriguing, something that seemed like a good idea!
If you would like to read more about what others have written on Farmer Florists,”American Grown” has oodles of wonderful resources regarding localizing the flower industry. You can fill up your inspiration-tank by reading their “Field To Vase” reports here and also, Rodale’s Organic Life has a nice article here.
Celebrate the solstice and pick a jug of daisies, if you like. Next Friday we’ll be hosting “Poetry & Pies” with local author Megan Mayhew Bergman leading us in a poetry workshop. Check out the information here and sign up!