Saturday, August 22, 2015

Flowers with a Message

They say that each flower represented a word and meaning in Victorian flower language. Sadly, other than knowing that red roses mean love, I don't speak that language. I did recently "meet" some flowers with a message about simplicity and sustainability that I am happy to share with you!

My friend was formerly with an event firm and still has many contacts in the industry. She heard about the flower farm from a young floral artist known for her whimsical and wild style. All I knew was that this florist had gone to NY for additional training and that she was involved in an event at a local-ish farm. Armed with a ticket to the event and no additional information, we headed out (thanks to Mr.31-derful and Dr.My-Friend's-husband for skipping their normal golf routine so we could spend a whopping six hours away on a Sunday). The hour drive with my friend sans kids was worth the price of admission, but when we pulled up the long, rocky driveway to Flower Hill Farm, we knew we were in for a treat!

We were greeted by two big dogs and a bunch of smiling faces. Even before we were ushered in the farm house, I ran into a friend from my congregation. She is an artist and caterer by trade who was there to turn "whatever was in the garden" into a vegetarian lunch. Once inside the cozy farmhouse, we were offered Fruit Water and Raspberry Zinger tea served in mason jars with name-tags tied on in baker's twine (they had me at baker's twine). Everywhere you looked were floral vignettes (including the one above next to some magazines featuring the florists work). Even the food from the garden in its untouched state was beautiful:

As I looked around, I was very surprised by the crowd. They were not young hipster florists as I suspected. In fact, there were more old hippies than young hipsters-- a mix of master gardeners and people that I recognized to be social activists from my community (half the "audience" are members of our congregation). As my eyes adjusted to all the familiar faces, we were ushered out onto a wisteria-covered pergola. There we learned that the farmer was a yoga instructor turned master gardener who had spearheaded an urban garden initiative in Ferguson, Missouri for many years (yes that Ferguson). Her dream was always to have her own flower farm and produce locally grown flowers for sustainable florists. We also heard from two florists who left traditional shops and are committed to sustainable, local farming methods of their flowers. They had already picked many flowers for us (as we learned you must do that before the sun rises). I could have dove right into those flowers to soak them up!

One exception to the pick-at-dawn rule are zinnias and so we headed out to the fields to pick zins!
My photos don't do it justice, it was simply breathtaking to see rows and rows of flowers (not to mention their personal food garden, garlic fields, bees, and even the most breathtaking weeds).

We began picking--learning how to tap a zinnia ever so lightly. If it bends, it is too soon--but if it stands up like a pencil it is ready:

On the way back, we saw their greenhouse, where they are "burning" the plastic planters to be used for next year. I guess you let them get really hot to clean them to be re-used (I wish I had taken notes). We also saw the garlic house, where they are preparing bunches of garlic for local restaurants.

Back on the pergola, we saw two demonstrations on 1) how to style flowers in the wild and whimsical style that is dominating the wedding scene right now and 2) how to make a proper french hand-tied bouquet--if you do it right it will stand on its own).

Next it was back inside to see what my friend did with all those gorgeous veggies:

We had the most delightful lunch and conversation and then headed back out to play with the flowers. We each made a a "wild" arrangement and one small hand-tied bouquet. I am pretty good with oasis and a tight floral arrangement at home (they think oasis is bad for the environment and taught us a chicken-wire alternative). Here are my flowers once we got home.

They would have been better with oasis and more tightly arranged, but these babies were wild-Missouri-grown and they told me they needed to be free. Hey, maybe i do speak flowers after all!
Linking up with:
21 Rosemary Lane

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