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Flower Farm Journal

"More than anything, I must have flowers always, always" Claude Monet

The Farmer and the {Florist} Interview: Karin Woodward of Haute Horticulture

Karin Woodward of Haute HorticultureFor my latest Farmer and the {Florist} installation, I’m delighted to be joined by Karin Woodward of Haute Horticulture, a fantastic floral design and styling studio based in Memphis. I’ve followed Karin’s work on Instagram for a while now and had the honor of meeting her in person at one of my Farmer-Florist Intensives that I hosted this summer.

Erin: Thanks so much for taking time to chat with me today, Karin! First, tell me a little bit about your business. I’d especially like to know more about your styling work. I have been drooling over some of the photo spreads on Magnolia Rouge that feature your designs. Wow—what beauty!

Karin: When I started my business the majority of my work was weddings. I had done some really big ballroom, modern, and traditional style weddings that were published in magazines and power blogs like Style Me Pretty. As grandiose as they were, the flowers rarely reflected my style, but rather the style of the client or designer they wanted me to emulate. Up until then I honestly thought that was the only way that things were done in the floral design world.

Haute HorticultureOne day early in 2012 I purchased a variety of flowering plants from a nursery and cut/conditioned them as well as vines from my own yard. With the help of a photographer friend, I made a vignette with the flowers, accessories, food and coordinating fabrics. She later submitted some of the shots and it was immediately picked up. The feedback and requests generated from that day of creating began the chapter of editorial inspiration vignettes for which our Memphis group became known.

HauteHorticultureEditorialshootIt has been so fulfilling to work on features requested by magazines such as Southern Weddings and Magnolia Rouge, all while juggling our wedding businesses because honestly, that is what pays the bills. Now that I am starting a new chapter in flower farming, it is uncertain what future percentage of my work will be weddings, but I will always have the drive to design and remain a farmer-florist.

Erin:  I’ve enjoyed reading your thoughtful Instagram captions that reflect your growing interest for using local, seasonal flowers in your design work.  Can you talk more about that evolution?  What local sourcing are you doing currently?

Weddings by Haute HorticultureKarin:  I started noticing that the closer I am to seasonally accurate recipes and flower stories, the more it resonates with me and my audience and clients. My friends, colleagues and I regularly discuss the subject of nature and how much of it we crave as humans and especially as women. When using out of season flowers that are straight as an arrow, there is no real bond with the design. I liken this to eating small hard peaches in December. Seasonal flower arrangements are in tune with our internal sense of timing just as ripe summer peaches are.

Styling by Haute HorticultureIt is also no coincidence that there is a mounting appreciation for all things natural as we have hit our limit of sterile light, packaged food, duplicate art, and factory home products. To acquire wood and metal wares or naturally dyed fiber gives us a piece of earthen treasure to touch and hold. We are ready to reconnect with the land and each other. I am so happy that even if this revolution is a slow one, I can live it in my own home and city and share it with others. I’ve been using a good bit of material from my land already and the process is addicting.

Haute Horticulture styled tablescapeErin: Ahhh yes, I totally understand that feeling! Please tell me more about the land you recently acquired. Will you be growing flowers and foliage for your design business?

Karin: We recently purchased two acres to make a total of four and a half acres. We live on the property and plan on farming a large portion of it. Once there is a good crop of planned flowers, foliage, herbs, and ornamentals grown, I plan to sell them and use them in my designs. You have proven high volume and high quality flowers can be produced on just a few acres.

farmer + floristI have spent years as the designer who needs certain flowers in this area and cannot get them or I received products dried up after the long and expensive freight journey. I have taken note of the needs of my local market as well as the upcoming must-have flowers in the South. One of the extra benefits of growing such a wide variety of product on our land is that unlike the field monocropping practiced in my region, we will be building nutrients into the soil base with good compost and providing a pesticide-free haven for bees.

Erin: What flower varieties have captured your imagination lately that will be making their way into your garden?

Karin: If I love a plant or flower I’m likely not alone, so I research with confidence that what I choose to grow will be equally coveted by my fellow flower lovers. Seeing your Love in a Puff vine is a great example. Vines are such a great way to soften any arrangement and very difficult to ship intact.

Design by Haute HorticultureI look forward to growing more passion vine, which happens to be Tennessee’s state wildflower, hops, and unusual fruiting varieties that could be so much fun such as Melothria scabra Mexican Cucumber. I love delicate white cosmos and also want to try cotton–specifically green cotton. I’m excited about growing and experimenting with anything that will thrive in our southern clay, heat, and humidity!

Erin: So, I was stalking your blog and saw that you were one of the creative forces behind an iPhone app, Flowerwheel. Wow! You are a woman of so many talents! Can you tell me more about it, how you created it and how you use it with clients? How might farmer-florists find it useful?

Karin: Necessity being the mother of invention, I created Flowerwheel App with my programming-savvy husband in 2011. He did the detailed coding and I did everything else from the logo to the photos, format, research, and delivery of information. It took us 6 months to complete, launched in early 2012, and is a constant work in progress. In the past I was spending a majority of my client meetings educating them on what flowers in their favorite color were available on their wedding date. I had the standard deck of color coded flower cards most designers use, but needed a way for clients to know these choices before we met so we could talk more about the actual designs.

iphone app from Haute HorticultureThis was honestly created with brides and event clients in mind and then a funny thing happened, the floral design community embraced it more than I had planned. We began getting designers as customers and from many countries like China and Russia. Because of the user shift, there is a bit of tweaking now needed to keep up with the requests for botanical names of flowers as well as information of the actual growing season of the flowers as opposed to the market availability on which the app was originally based. We plan on adding all of these new features as well as even more flowers in the coming months. I will need to communicate with slow flower farms to gauge the true seasons of flowers in the northern hemisphere and eventually the southern hemisphere calendar, since we have had such requests from locations such as Australia and New Zealand.

Fruit and flowers styled by Haute HorticultureErin: Ok, confession time: I’m obsessed with your tablescapes that combine florals and edibles. They are fantastic! Any tips for creating them you’d care to share?

Karin: Edibles are so satisfying to use in every form. I don’t know if I can ever tire of incorporating such seasonal finds with projects. Fruits and vegetables give us subconscious color cues and I love the sensory overload of persimmons matching garden roses and coleus matching a cluster of pecans on the branch; all in the same vase.

Fruit and flowers styled by Haute HorticultureI am a texture addict and the adventure of finding new ones is all too alluring. After some civic pruning on a Chinese chestnut tree, the results of incorporating branches of prickly cupules was gorgeous but truly painful. Those little thorns are SHARP! I really don’t know if they are safe enough for any arrangement accessible to the public. So there we have the standard example of suffering for the sake of art!

My tip is to experiment, play, and practice with products and combinations. Experimentation will help you know the limits of the materials. If using or wiring in open faced fruit, sometimes browning or shriveling can be delayed by spraying it with floral preservative or in the case of apples, a salt water soak works well. Leave nothing off the table of possibilities unless you don’t love the results or they are proven to be too risky, such as unwelcome thorns or bad stains in formal client settings.

Erin: Finally, what are your plans and visions for the future?

Karin: The future starts with the launch of Seventh Hand Farm. Our farm is named after the phrase we coined whenever our family of six hard working hands is blessed with help from the “seventh hand” of a person or spiritual hand in the events that have led us to this place of happiness for which we are so grateful. I plan to blog freely about our journey as you have inspired me to do. I will also begin teaching floral design in a way that is both good for the seasonal movement and the soul—a “floral yoga” methodology that I designed while finishing a degree in art, psychology, and education.

Haute Horticulture studioI want to thank you for all of the honesty and inspiration you have given to people like myself who at times have read your blog backwards like chapters in a story of self-discovery and success, with modesty and purpose. You have been that seventh hand on more than one occasion.

Erin: Awwww, that is so sweet, Karin. Thanks so much for your kind words and for sharing your story. I cannot wait to see the beauty that will be coming from Seventh Hand Farm!

Connect with Karin :

Seventh Hand Farm
Haute Horticulture studio
Flower Style Love blog

Instagram
Pinterest
Facebook

photos by Annabella Charles 

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The Farmer and { The Florist } Interview: Kelly Perry of Philosophy Flowers

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Located in the quaint college town of Boone in North Carolina’s beautiful Appalachian mountain region is the dynamic floral design firm, Philosophy Flowers. The creative talent behind the bridal bouquets is Kelly Perry.

EB: You have a beautful blog that always has gorgeous photos (I so wish I had a seat at those stunning tables you created). On one of your recent posts, you talked about aspiring to be a lifelong learner. You’ve actually learned your craft from some of the best—including Ariella Chezar and Saipua and Nicolette Camille of The Little Flower School Brooklyn. How have their design styles influenced your work? And moreover, how is your work distinct?

KP: Yes! I’m so thankful for the time I’ve spent learning with these ladies! My life changed the day I met Nicolette. She and Nog awakened a deep love inside me for flowers with their book “Bringing Nature Home” and I’ve never recovered. The day I met Sarah was the day I realized that I was supposed to quit my job and do flowers. I’m so thankful for her push. And Ariella, her flowers are sprinkled throughout a book I’ve been keeping of Martha Stewart articles since middle school. I’ll never forget watching her arrange flowers for the first time on a YouTube video at my kitchen table. She is a thoughtful arranger. Every little flower was polished and carefully placed. It was poetic. And actually, more than a particular style or technique, what these women have taught me is to be thoughtful in my arranging — to live with both eyes open, drinking in every minute of everyday and appreciating the fragility and beauty flowers bring to the world. As for what makes my work distinct, well I’d have to say that’s me! When you follow after what you think is beautiful and use the materials that are around you at that moment your work becomes alive in a way that is all yours.

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EB: To what extent have you been able to infuse local, seasonal flowers into your designs? How much of your own product are you growing or using?

KP: I use local all the time, as much as possible! I collaborate with an amazing grower who loves flowers as much as I do and understands color, shape and seasonality. She has lots of land and knows when all the patches of wild things are growing — forget me nots, poppies, lily of the valley, sweet peas and solomon’s seal are some of my favorites. I’m so spoiled and thankful for her! As for product I grow personally, my husband Jesse and I have a small garden, and I filled it with foxglove. It’s my favorite flower! So once the foxgloves are done my garden is a little…bare! I’m working on developing true gardening skills. I have a few other things in the garden — clematis, wisteria, roses, peonies, hellebore, rhododendron and bleeding heart.

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EB: Ok, a quick game of flower association:

Favorite fall flower: I love the fruits! Persimmons and apples…it’s what I think really makes the arrangements special. The color variations in them is so beautiful and it just makes my heart sing!

Splurge-worthy flower: Distant Drum garden roses. I got teary the first time I saw them.

Most under-appreciated flower: The wedding world is full of garden roses and ranunculus (which are beautiful!), but what I love and feel called to find and show the world are the flowers growing in ditches and along streams. The flower world would be even more interesting if we all took more walks and noticed the things around us that are just growing wild, pure and unadulterated.

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EB: I saw that you hosted a three day floral design workshop in late May, which sounded phenomenal. One of the activities was the ability to “contribute to the design and implementation of a group editorial project.” I’m totally intrigued—can you tell me more about it? And can you share some photos?

KP: Yes! I thought it would be really fun to do a group project at the workshop. Something we could experience and contribute to together! I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! You can see the images and the story over on Once Wed and you can check out all the beautiful student work at Team Flower.

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EB: You also had a session on “Wardrobe Essentials for the Modern Florist.” My work “wardrobe” typically involves jeans and a stained apron, since I’m in the flower fields so much. But, I’m guessing that’s NOT the kind of wardrobe essentials you were discussing.

KP: Haha! Let’s be honest, my work wardrobe is the same! This is a messy profession! Actually, that is why I wanted to add this segment to the workshop. It is challenging to move from “messy” clothes to professional clothes, but you are selling a luxury product and you’ve got to dress the part! So we talked about how to troubleshoot this dilemma. For example, on event day wear black pants so if you spill water all over yourself it will blend in! Also, wear a dressy top underneath a chambray. The chambray is standard florist fare and looks appropriate for setup. It’s durable and can get messy. But when it’s wedding time you can remove the top layer and have a clean dressy top underneath and blend right in. All you need for your “quick wardrobe change” is a pair of shoes! Another essential is a pair of leather boots. They are perfect for prep and walking flower fields and transition easily into installation attire. Pair of clippers airborne? Candle wax spill? No worries, you’re feet are covered!

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EB: Your explanation of creative direction & styling services is one of the best I’ve read. The photos from your events are incredible and it is obvious you put a lot of attention into every last detail. Can you share photos and a few details from a particularly memorable event for which you provided the floral design and creative direction services?

KP: I had a client last year who initially approached me wanting flowers in mason jars, but I just had this gnawing feeling that mason jars weren’t “her.” So I asked some questions, listened and then suggested that she might be a little fancier than mason jars. She ended up giving me full control to pick any flowers and arrange her intimate family wedding however I wanted. What a dream, right?! I traveled all over gathering local product and flew in Peterkort Roses from Oregon. The bride loved it and she and her husband ended up being a cover couple for Inspire Magazine. It was fun!

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EB: I would imagine that wedding styles and trends are potentially different in a smaller town, than in Seattle or Brooklyn. What are some of the wedding floral trends you are seeing in your area?

KP: “Rustic” and “natural” are the two most common words brides come to me with, and that is fitting and logical because of the landscape here. What gets tricky is the interpretation of what those words mean. A lot of times girls think it means a wood slab with a mason jar and hydrangeas, and for some girls, yes, it fits. But, a lot of times it’s the trend talking and not really who they are. Who they are is so important! You can still be rustic and natural without a mason jar. Blending the essence of the individual with what’s blooming at that moment and in my heart is the most important thing.

So if you’re fighting trends and think, “well, that’s just how it is in (insert your town)” — I challenge you to use the clues your clients bring to you to dig deeper into who they are. Use what you learn to build better arrangements and push yourself to a new level of creativity and freedom — one that transcends trends! You’ll never get tired of your work if you operate this way because everyone is so different and interesting! I’m living proof that sometimes fancy royal feasts are disguised as mason jars.

EB: Any trend you’ve singlehandedly started—-or perhaps one you’d like to start?

KP: Haha! I’m not very good at being trendy. I’ve always been attracted to classic shapes and styling. My wardrobe looks just about the same now as it did when I was in middle school — black pointy flats, a blazer, silk and some sparkle. I want to be authentic. Maybe that’s my trend :) I want to sketch out all the fun dreams in my mind, weld, wire, tape and pin it together, and encourage the world with it.

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Thank you, Kelly, for sharing with us today. I learn so much from these interviews. Thank you!

You can find out more about Kelly and Philosophy Flowers on the web here:
Website: Philosophy Flowers
Instagram: KELLY_PERRY
Facebook: Facebook/Philosoflowers

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this moment

Floret workshop
{ this moment } A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. ~Amanda Soule

*inspired by Soule Mama’s beautiful Friday reflections

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The Farmer and the { Florist } Interview: Morgan Allender from Tenth Meadow

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One of the many things I love about the local flower movement is the global network of fellow farmer florists who have connected via social media. I delight in seeing what is in bloom around the world through Instagram photos and posts via The Seasonal Flower Alliance. There are many parallels between the increasing popularity of local, seasonal flowers here in the good ole’ U.S. of A. and what is happening in the U.K., Canada, Russia, New Zealand and far flung corners of the world.

Today, I am thrilled to highlight one of my favorite designers from “down under”– the immensely talented Morgan Allender from Tenth Meadow. Based in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, Morgan’s floral design business has seen extraordinary success. I’ve been following Tenth Meadow on Instagram for a while now and am always drooling over the dreamy floral designs that Morgan creates and the beautiful way in which she captures them in photos. An accomplished painter and visual artist, Morgan agreed to sit down and chat with me about her work and seasonal flowers.

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Erin: Thanks for taking time to chat with me today! First, tell me a little bit more about your company, Tenth Meadow. You are doing lots of design work for weddings and events, but you are also growing a lot of your own flowers, am I right?

Morgan: Hi Erin! Yes, like a lot of floral businesses, most of our work involves designing for weddings and events, and some floral details for photoshoots and stylists. We own a small farm about an hour out of the city. It’s a modest 5 acres which is divided into: a 1 acre garden around the house that functions as a traditional cutting garden, two fenced flower growing fields (about a half acre), and then a series of paddocks where our pet cows, Polly and Buttons live. We have plans to gradually add more growing areas each season. The cutting gardens have been established for 5 years and last year we fenced off the two additional fields to increase our plantings. I wouldn’t call myself a farmer florist at this stage, but I am definitely a gardener florist! Right now our aim is to supply our own business with a range of interesting and delicate materials that will supplement what we can buy in from other local growers and the flower markets. I started the business in a borrowed barn 10 mins down the road, then expanded to a large warehouse located right in the middle of the city. Right now we are in the process of moving our whole studio back up to a custom-fitted shed at the farm, so that we can be closer to our own flowers, and so that we can keep an eye on the plants during the growing season. I can’t wait for the luxury of gathering direct from the field, then walking straight into the studio.

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Erin: Your shop in Adelaide in Southern Australia was described by the site Five Thousand as,” a room in which to enter a parallel universe where it smells like the forest and feels like a forgotten room just off the city’s most bustling street. It’s a little spot where art and design smell and feel good…” That description makes me want to hop on a plane right now! That shop has since been converted into a studio and meeting space, is that right?

Morgan: We took the shop space on last June because I fell in love with the building; an old stone cottage tucked in quietly among the newer city buildings towering all around it. When we took it on it was wrecked and we spent quite a bit of time fixing it up but this was really part of its crumbling charm. At that stage it was the middle of Winter, business was quieter, but within 4 months our event bookings went through the roof, we became so so busy with that side of things, and to be honest it took us a bit by surprise. It was just the timing- I think our little business had grown up and started to really flourish but it meant I simply didn’t have the time to stand behind the shop counter 4 days a week and if I couldn’t be present in the shop, for me it kind of defeated the purpose of having it, having begun as a kind of personal dream. At that stage I made the decision to close it and use the space to meet with clients, and it’s really great to have a city base where this can happen now that the studio is moving up to the farm.

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Erin: I’m really interested in learning what the seasonal flower movement is like in other countries. It seems to be really picking up steam here in the U.S. In just the last two or three years, there has been an explosion of new small flower farms plus more and more designers are seeking out seasonal floral material. Is there strong support for local flowers in Australia? What trends are you seeing?

Morgan: I think the demand for local, seasonal flowers here is growing, although perhaps not yet on the scale that it is in the US or UK. Farmers Markets are really popular here and people are very aware of the benefits of choosing locally sourced foods over imports, and it makes sense that this philosophy should follow through to cut flowers. Flower stands at my local farmers market always sell out, particularly those selling Australian native varieties, and I think people are attracted to the freshness and probably the price-point. My experience is that the majority of people I talk to about flowers still have no idea that so many cut flowers are imported or grown using intensive measures, even those people who wouldn’t dream of eating sprayed vegetables; I don’t think this information is reaching them, it’s not that they don’t care.

Most of my clients are really enthusiastic about the concept of locally grown, pesticide free blooms when offered, and they always comment that they are so much more scented. The challenge in South Australia is climate; in comparison to New Zealand or Seattle or Suffolk it’s very hot and it’s very dry in Summer – growing fragile varieties or growing flowers out in the open in a natural way is not easy and so not always commercially viable for larger operators. Consequently we rely heavily on imports (which have travelled an awfully long way) or those perfect glasshouse blooms, to stock our local flower markets with the variety of flowers that we now all expect. There are some fantastic local growers and wholesalers doing an amazing job, but the variety of unusual bits and pieces is limited without growing your own, or clipping from other people’s gardens. Some florists I know commission local farmers/gardeners to grow particular things for them which is a great idea. There is definitely demand for more local growers of cottage-style flowers and shrubs: small-scale farmers with passion!

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Erin: On your blog you recently described the process of photographing flowers so beautifully. I want to repost it here because I think it is so perfect:

There lies the poetry about working seasonally I suppose, whether it is with food, flowers, gardening, painting, walking…one aspect quietly ends just as the next is unraveling before you. Fleeting moments, flash storms, falling petals. But capturing them in a photo is like taking a little piece of the season and placing it in your pocket, a little souvenir of time and place… for me these photos are also a kind of homage and thank you to all the flowers, now long-faded, that have lent their beauty along the way.”

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Erin: I absolutely love all your moody photos on Instagram and Flickr. How do you take them? Do you have a background or training in photography? I’m becoming a bit of a photography geek, so I’m curious what camera and lenses you use to capture your beautiful shots.

Morgan: I really love the process of documenting my work, but I’m no professional photographer; it’s something that I would like to be better at. I guess I have a “point and shoot” approach to the photos, rather than a technical one, and have taught myself through trial and error using natural light. It made me giggle when you asked about the camera and lenses I use, I had to go look at the camera because I didn’t know (I now know it’s a Canon EOS 1100D, a very basic model I am told). You can see that I’m not very tech-minded…It was the same with Instagram; I resisted joining for so long because I’m not entirely comfortable with some aspects of social media I guess. Lucy, my floral assistant, showed me how to use it and now I love its potential as another way of making beautiful images. Sometimes I think that I enjoy the process of recording the flowers even more than the actual arranging of them.

My background is in Visual Art – I majored in painting and then taught painting for a few years at one of the art colleges here. I think when I am making floral arrangements, and framing up photos I am approaching it in a similar way that I would make a painting; it’s still a combination of colour, shape and texture brought together to evoke a certain mood. Photographing flowers was actually the way that I first got started in floral design. I was putting together source material for my paintings, gathering flowers and leaves and taking pictures of them that I would them translate into painted image. Friends started making requests, followed by a few small weddings, and then the business grew from there. I still use this method when planning my paintings, and it’s now interesting that the flowers inform the paintings and visa-versa. I see them as two complementary halves of the one studio practice.

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Erin: You recently blogged that, “Winter is a good season for thinking, while Summer is all about doing.” What were some of the highlights of the most recent growing and wedding season?

Morgan: Last season saw the properly fenced growing areas go in (we get rabbits, hares and kangaroos nibbling on plants), and that was an exciting move forward for me. I am lucky in that my dad runs a large wholesale nursery and last year he put thousands of seeds through his machines and germinated them in his greenhouses for us, increasing the success rate overall. The plants arrived in a truck in 1-inch cells, ready to plant out. Having them all arrive at once like that was definitely a highlight! A lot of the climbing and rambling roses we have planted in recent years reached a size where we could hack large bits off them and they lend such a beautiful wildness to large urn arrangements.

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Morgan: Wedding-wise, the best thing for me was probably that the majority of clients just let me run with the designs, rather than prescribing specific details. It seems like such a simple thing, but it has taken time to get to this point, build up that trust, and I think lots of other florists will relate. With so much bridal inspiration online, it is easy for brides to plan everything right down to the tiniest detail and arrive at an initial consultation with an ipad full of borrowed images for the florist to recreate. I find it difficult and disheartening trying to emulate exactly what someone has dragged off a wedding blog, and now I won’t do it at all. It feels exciting and meaningful to be allowed to just get on with it and create something beautiful for a wedding, and us florists know that this freedom allows us to use the best of what the season has to offer. The magic is often in the unplanned, and bouquets always turn out better this way of course.

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Erin: What varieties of flowers are you thinking and dreaming about growing for next summer?

Morgan: My favourite flowers to grow are probably the umbellifers: Queen Anne’s Lace, yarrow, orlaya, etc, so floaty and delicate. Last season I grew these in random swathes among other plants because I like the romantic effect, but this year they are going in direct-sown rows for easier harvesting. I have to be sensible about what I choose to plant in terms of climate suitability, it just doesn’t make sense to plant things that need loads of water poured onto them to survive, especially as we rely on water tanks and a bore with no council water supply. Our soil is a heavy clay that is lovely and rich but sets like concrete by Summer (we are adding in more and more organic matter each year). After trialling all sorts of things, we’ve now decided to concentrate on hardy perennials, shrubs and climbers (especially roses), and a smaller selection of annuals and biennials. This is mainly to satisfy our need for all the wilder bendy scruffy leafy bits which give arrangements that special something. Hellebores grow really well here, yay!- they have remarkable drought-resistance once established. I am currently really enthusiastic about penstemons, and we’re planting lots as a kind of hot weather alternative to foxgloves.

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Erin: You wrote that you like flowers that don’t “clamor for attention, those that when you carefully hold them and turn them upwards toward your face, their beauty is revealed, and is breathtaking.” What are a few of your favorite varieties of these types of flowers? (I won’t dare ask you to pick just one. As a fellow flower fanatic, I can never pick just one!)

Morgan: Aquilegia, foxgloves (especially the leathery witchy-looking ones), clematis. Flowering shrubs such as abelia, weigela, philadelphus and viburnum. Forget-me-nots! We have these lovely native Australia plants called correa (do you have them there?) which have delicate little bell flowers and rough little leaves with a fuzzy coating, and I adore all the various types for foliage and flowers. Cowslips make me go a bit silly and I quite like wild briar roses, the ones that smell like apples when you crush the leaves. “Black Velvet” nasturtiums.

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Erin: What are some of the most popular wedding flower trends you’re seeing in Australia?

Morgan: At the moment everyone wants hanging floral installations and flower walls, probably more than half my clients this year have requested this in an initial meeting. From listening to people talk about how much they love the idea of suspended floral details I’ve noticed a pattern emerging in what they say; they want a lushness and a leafiness to lend a magical quality, and often they admit that an outdoor garden or forest wedding would be amazing but not possible for various reasons. I find this fascinating, and think about it a lot – my theory is that the trend for hanging florals is representative of something deeper: part of a widespread craving for a (re)connection with the natural world that we are seeing across different design and lifestyle streams (beekeeping, vege plots, natural fibres, houseplants, handcrafts, etc etc). People want to emulate the feeling of being immersed in nature, to feel the romantic childlike wonder of stepping under flowering branches and looking up into the faces of flowers, to be enveloped. It’s an emotionally-driven request I think, that goes beyond wanting something big or impressive.

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Erin: Last year you blogged that you were in love with wrist corsages again.  Is that still the case? You said, “on grandmothers especially, they seem fitting, and nostalgic; carrying memories of dances and country halls, homemade dresses, and sweethearts walking home on summer evenings” Your words conjure so many beautiful images made me want to fall in love with corsages too! What floral materials do you like to use when making them? Do you use the standard elastic bands, ribbon ties or those slap bands? Any tips or tricks to making them you’d care to share?

Morgan: Ha, I did say that didn’t I!? I think when I wrote that I was high on a really lovely wedding I had just done, with wrist corsages. Truth be told, I have a love/hate relationship with corsages : I do mean what I wrote, but at 5am on a wedding day they can also make me tear my hair out. Lucy has a sweet, patient disposition that is well suited to making these smaller fiddly details and this season it will be mainly her department. (I like to focus on bouquets and the big messy elements!). I favour a wilder foliage-based approach to corsages and buttonholes, with the flowers woven in. We generally build them to last! The only complaint that I have ever received was from a bride whose buttonholes wilted under the hot Summer sun; I mean it was literally 44C (110F) in the shade on that day and the flowers were doing their best I am sure! So now I am very careful to choose materials that are weather appropriate. I have tried all the methods of attaching them to the wrist and now I often ask the client what they would prefer: mums and grandmas often go for the slapband (we use a pale grey understated band), but I like the look of ribbon on bridesmaids. The beaded, bedazzled elastic bands are a bit glitzy for my taste, but each to their own…

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Erin: What is the most memorable floral installation you’ve created?

Morgan: It’s difficult to choose, but the first one that comes to mind was a wedding we did last Autumn. It was quite small and intimate in a beautiful room above street level. It was one of those wonderful weddings where we had complete creative freedom apart from a request for no table flowers. The room was all white – walls, tables, chairs, everything- with the most beautiful stonework also painted white. Against this minimal backdrop, we enveloped two architectural pillars in trailing vines and leaves studded with flowers, with branches arching up towards the ceiling in a romantic tangle. It was one of those jobs that just felt natural, the planets aligned and it was smooth and easy, and for the kindest family. It was interesting for me to see such billowing wildness against a really stark background and, being such a lover of old-world styling, something I wouldn’t normally do; it was almost like placing the flowers into the white box of an art gallery and I loved seeing them in that context.

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Erin: Finally, tell me about the name Tenth Meadow. I sense it may be symbolic or have a great story behind it. What can you share?

Morgan: When I started, I called myself The Bluebell Society and within a short time the cuteness of that name became irritating, even though I had chosen it myself. At the time that I was searching for a new name, I was reading Adam Nicolson’s “The Smell of Summer Grass”. I love him, he writes so beautifully and with feeling. In the endpapers of the hardcover edition is a lovely hand-drawn map of his farm at Perch Hill with the individual names of each field carefully noted; they have names like “Great Flemings” and I thought there was something really intriguing about these ancient names that have been passed down through the generations of land ownership. I guess I wanted to capture that feeling in some way, or subtly refer to it. The name is also literal – our farm is divided into ten separate areas or paddocks, which is where the number came from, and the largest flower field is number 10!

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Erin: Thank you so much for chatting with me today and for sharing so many amazing images of your designs and your lovely, lovely home. I really appreciate the opportunity to learn more about your fantastic work and the local flower movement in Australia. Wishing you a great growing season!

Morgan: Oh, thank you Erin, for your beautiful blog, and your generosity and passion, it reaches us all. The world is truly a better place because you are in it.

You can find Morgan and the Tenth Meadow on the web here:
Website: http://tenthmeadow.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TenthMeadow
Instagram: http://instagram.com/tenthmeadow

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Eyes Open E-Course: Giveaway Winner Announced

openyoureyesfinal-2….And the lucky winner of the Eye Open Photography E-Course is: Sara Davison, “I would love to take this course in order to help me improve the photos I take of my flowers and bouquets; as a ‘seedling’ flower farmer this would be immensely valuable to building my business. Other than flowers up close and personal my other love is capturing the beautiful British landscape! Fingers crossed and thank you both Erins for this opportunity.” Congrats Sara!

For Floret readers we have a $20 discount available for The Eyes Open e-course! Simply include the coupon code: eyesopenfloret at the checkout. This amazing 6 week course begins September 30th, so if you’re ready to take the leap with photography, then don’t delay.

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The Seasonal Flower Alliance { September 18 }

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You can really feel that Fall is just around the corner, at least in our little corner of the world. The morning harvest time has just been bumped back by an hour to allow enough light for picking. Scarves and down vests have become our new early and late day attire. The first changing leaves were tucked into last weekend’s wedding and Jasper and I made an apple cobble for dessert last night. It’s not long now.

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Fall has always been the kids favorite season. It’s when this crazy flower ride finally slows down and by mid-October Chris and I can to shift our attention from the flowers, back to the family. It’s as if we live two lives. The flower season and the off season.

While I love the changing colors and the slanted light that Fall brings, it’s probably my hardest season personally. Six months of solid harvesting and sales, nearly every day of the week, for such a long stretch finally takes its toll. By this point I’m always struggling to keep a smile on my face and enough passion in my heart to finish out the season strong. There’s no time to correct any mistakes made earlier because the finish line is so near. All that I can do is ride it out, take notes on what didn’t work and promise myself that I’ll do better next time around.

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I won’t lie, it’s really, really tough.

But there are only a few more weeks to go and then we get to shift gears and move from harvesting and delivering, to cleaning up and preparing for next spring. A fresh start. New ideas, new plans and even bigger dreams.

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This week’s bouquet included: dahlias Cafe au Lait and Bracken Rose, heptacodium, raspberry greens, queen anne’s lace, love in a puff vine and snowberry.

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If you’d like to join me in this fun flower project, simply make up a bouquet using seasonal flowers, snap a photo of it, post it somewhere on the internet and then leave a link to it in the comments section here. If you’re on Instagram, you can use/search the hashtag #seasonalfloweralliance for even more flowery goodness all over the world.

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