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February 1st 2015

Announcing the Floret Workshop Scholarship Winners

Written by
Floret

8611437851_d7a97bde26_k Over the last week, the team and I have been pouring over all the scholarship essays, narrowing down the list of top candidates and deliberating about each one. The in-box was flooded with applications from many incredible and deserving individuals from across the county (including 17 countries from around the world—more on that below) which made the decision-making process excruciatingly long and difficult.  Some of the submissions made me laugh out loud; others brought tears.

I was amazed by the number of applicants who have botanical and flower-related names (it was destiny!) and the fascinating paths people took to get to where they are today. For some, it was a direct path. They were bitten by the flower bug early in life and they pursued their passion for flowers and have created interesting flower-centered careers. For many others, the path was less linear. Professionals in a wide array of fields from physicians, attorneys, engineers, and television reporters applied, many of whom want to step back from their screens, get out in nature, escape from the stress, and tap into their creative sides. So many heartfelt applications clearly confirmed the old adage that flowers really DO feed the soul. Graphic designers, artists, and other creatives were also well represented among the applicants and the theme of “cultivating creativity” was strong among the submissions. I was so inspired by the honesty and thoughtfulness that was poured into the applications and seriously wish I could give out dozens of scholarships!

8612538396_ad45056ab6_kAfter winnowing down the list of top candidates, there were a few that I kept coming back to for various reasons.  As I was going through the applications, I decided I really wanted to invest in someone that had a serious amount of passion and drive and was best positioned to take what we teach at a Floret workshop and run with it and really launch their business to new heights.  I wanted to find that little seedling, provide it with lots of love and support and then sit back and watch her bloom. I think we found two great candidates who will do just that.  So, without further ado, let me introduce the two 2015 scholarship winners:

ScholarshipAppPICSFlora Brown of Frinklepod Farm (left) and Jenn Henry of Field Day Creative.

Here’s a little bit about these two lovely ladies:

FLORA BROWN OF FRINKLEPOD FARM

Flora Brown is a farmer-florist from Arundel, Maine where she and her husband and two small children live on a four acre diversified farm where they grow vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers. While the family has extensive experience in growing vegetables, flowers have been a relatively recent addition to their farm offerings.

Intrigued, I did a little digging to learn the origin of the farm’s name.  It turns out, Frinklepod Farm’s name is inspired by one of Flora’s kids’ favorite books, Uno’s Garden, by Graeme Base. The story follows Uno, a human who moves into a pristine forest; as the number of people and buildings increase, the number of fictitious plants and animals (including the Feathered Frinklepod) decrease. After near collapse of civilization, the humans change their ways and the species begin to reappear. They share, “We hope that our farm can mirror the main themes of this book: the importance of ecological biodiversity, conservation, and the need to maintain a healthy balance between humans and nature.” As an outgrowth of their commitment to caring for the earth and those less fortunate, Flora and her family dedicate a portion of their fields to growing crops to donate to local food pantries.

But it was Flora’s description of floral design that first caught my eye:  “I see my work as a bit out of the mainstream; most of my flowers are field-grown, we really emphasize sustainability, and my meetings with brides usually happen at a picnic table next to the goat pen. I want people to LOVE flowers and I want to make them accessible to everyone, both financially and aesthetically.”

Flora and her husband are currently exploring options for scaling up their farm business and, as she describes, “I would love to have all the tools possible to help inform our planning and I cannot think of a better way to acquire them than through a Floret workshop.”

Flora will be attending a Floret Farmer-Florist Intensive later this year.  I can’t wait to work with her!

JENN HENRY OF FIELD DAY CREATIVE

Jenn Henry is a flower lover that grew up in the garden and went on to study Landscape Architecture before deciding to pursue a career in floral design.  Jenn is preparing to launch her own design business, Field Day Creative, and has dreams of one day growing into a successful farmer-florist with a few acres to cultivate. In the meantime, Jenn started planning and planting away in her home’s small yard after being inspired by my interview with Kelly Sullivan and her mini city garden.  She seeks to, as she describes, “create honest and natural designs using healthy blooms, wild twisting vines and fresh lush foliage to create those bouquets that make people weak in the knees. Richmond needs a source for unique flower varieties. I’m starting in my garden now but I want to share that with all of Virginia one day.”

I love than Jenn has already got a taste for what is in store for her as a floral designer and is ready for any challenge, as evidenced by her story about being asked to do an  ‘English Garden’ wedding: “Before asking any pertinent details I said yes. When the guest list surpassed 300 I enlisted my Mom’s help to pull it off. The client offered us their garage as a workspace. We had our share of nervous moments from wilty stems, to a sweltering prep space to gusty winds. We wrapped the sad stems in paper for support until turgid, we finagled an ac window unit into the doorway and managed to wire down the arrangements struggling in the wind. We finished our work just in time and it was a great success. I was on the biggest high of my life. Celebrating our accomplishment over a bottle of wine that evening my mom said “Sheesh! Who would want to endure that stress for a living?” I whispered to myself “I think I do.”

In answer to my question about challenges, Jenn replied, “My list of challenges is pages long, chock full of “what if’s” and “how do I’s”. I write about one and then jump to another comparing its degree of difficulty. I have written and re-written this paragraph over and over. But in the end each hurdle ultimately boils down to the one tool that I am lacking – confidence. I owe it to myself to hurry up and woman up. They say the dream is free but the hustle is sold separately. Well this is the year of the hustle. I need to take myself back to the feeling of that high I had after the English Garden wedding, bottle it up and carry that in my pocket.”

Congratulations Jenn!  I love your attitude, energy and your hustle and can’t wait to meet you at the Floret Seasonal Floral Intensive in August!


As I mentioned above, we received a staggering 550+ scholarship applications.  The level of interest in attending one of our workshops was beyond what I ever imagined.  But what is even more exciting is seeing  the local, seasonal flower love spreading across the world. We received applicants from 47 of the 50 U.S. states and from 17 countries from around the world.   Check it out above!

Be sure to zoom in to see your region in more detail. If map doesn’t appear in your browser, try re-freshing the page or click here to view map in separate window.

I want to reiterate my heartfelt thanks to everyone who applied for the scholarship.  I can’t tell you how honored I am that so many of you took the time to put yourself out there and are wanting to take the leap.  Thank you!  We’re going to be offering lots of creative new resources in the coming months, so be sure to check back–there’s so much good stuff to come–including an exciting announcement later this week!  Thank you for helping to keep the farmer-florist momentum growing. Together we’re going to do amazing things!

27 Comments

  1. andrea chapin on

    Hi there was just wondering if there were any floral schools on the west coast you recommended? thanks!

    Reply
  2. Danielle on

    Wonderful stories. Congratulations Flora and Jenn!

    Reply
  3. margee miller on

    Congrats to the winners! How inspiring! Thank you for such a great opportunity!

    Reply
  4. VillageKid on

    I was thrilled to read about the two winners…..such stories they have and you have shared with us.

    Lots of inspiration!!

    Thanks for letting us get a glimpse of their struggles and goals!!

    Reply
  5. DaNae Smith on

    So many applicants! What a great response (and a difficult job to choose!) So happy for you all! Amazing how the love of flowers connects so many of us…

    Reply
  6. Phillis on

    Wow. How inspiring to read the winners’ essays. They truly deserved to win. I entered and also received a very kind response from Erin even though I didn’t win. These ladies sound amazing. Flower lovers cum laude! I hope to attend a workshop and join the ranks someday of Floret graduates!

    Reply
  7. Cindy Franklin on

    Huge Congrats to you Flora & Jenn ! You two will do amazing! Erin and Family – you are also amazing to offer this and go through all that you did ! Such a beautiful thank you note I received on my application ! I look forward to this upcoming year in my garden and yours!

    Reply
  8. Erin D on

    Congratulations to the lucky ladies! Happy for you both.

    Reply
  9. Elisabeth on

    Congratulations to the winners, and thanks for sharing that awesome map, what an undertaking! I liked to see there was no one close to me, to compete with my dream farm, but there are people close enough for support and spread the movement and encourage love of local flowers.
    So many applicants, what a testament to all that you do Erin!

    Reply
  10. Heather on

    Congratulations to Flora and Jenn! So exciting!

    Reply
  11. Tania Cubberly on

    Congratulations to Flora and Jenn! You both sound like amazing flower farmers, enjoy the workshop!!!!

    Reply
  12. lemoga on

    Congratulations to the winners!

    Reply
  13. Paige on

    Congratulations to both the winners! Well done. I was a little mopey that I didn’t make the cut, but I’m looking at it as a opportunity to give me a year to get a little farther along and I’ll try again next year. Now I have a chance to try and experiment with selling what I already grow, to see if I can save a little more for next year and get to go to one of the two classes. I’m so excited for the winners, have a fantastic time.

    Reply
  14. Andrea Gagnon - LynnVale Studios on

    Congratulations ladies! a special shout out to Jenn, she may say she lacks confidence now but she doesn’t lack bravery and the will to learn, grow and dream. Feel so lucky to have met you and can’t imagine a better opportunity than to learn from Erin – wishing both you and Flora a wonderful experience and much success! …. looks like we may have to “hustle” our deliveries to Richmond in the future!

    Reply
    • Diana Westcott on

      Andrea, so great to see your name here! You are in such good company!

  15. Susan Crawford on

    Congratulations ladies! I will be attending the August workshop and excited to see a fellow Virginian is going. Jenn looking forward to meeting you.

    Reply
  16. Jasmine on

    Well done Flora & Jenn, how awesome for you both!!!!
    Well done to Team Floret, 550 applications is huge & wonderful too !

    Reply
  17. Lori on

    Congrats Flora and Jenn! Have a wonderful time!!!

    Reply
  18. Beth on

    Congratulations! So happy for you two! What a wonderful gift and experience you will have.

    Reply
  19. Angela Fields on

    Woohoo! Congratulations Flora (yay, a fellow Mainer) and Jenn! It was so nice to learn a bit about each of the winners’ unique stories while being able to relate to their challenges and desires on the road to discovery and success! All the best to you both – enjoy!!

    Reply
  20. Kris on

    Congratulations ladies! What a wonderful gift!

    Reply
  21. Violet on

    Congrats ladies!!!!

    Reply
  22. Karate on

    Congratulations, Flora and Jenn!

    Reply
  23. Alyssa Rainville on

    Nicely done, Flora and Jenn! You are going to learn SO MUCH and have an amazing time. Enjoy it and bring it out into the world with you!

    Reply
  24. Killoran Moore on

    Congratulations to the winners! How exciting! What a cool story about the farm/book. I can’t wait to hear about their experience(s) at the workshop. And that map! Yeesh. I don’t know how you managed to narrow it down at all.

    I won’t lie – I felt a bit knocked down. But! Then I realised that someone else would get that wonderful opportunity and be just as excited as I (or anyone else) would have been. They would get to learn and grow and share their passion with their community and the world.. And that’s what it’s about. Same end goal, really. We’re all winners in the end!

    And now, I feel extra motivation. No more hiding behind screen names (rare name made me a bit nervous and paranoid.. What if people know who I am?!). I’m starting a blog and sharing my dream/work with friends, something I never thought I’d do. We’re getting sick in good and proper.

    So, thanks to you and your team for giving us all this chance and inspiring us to do better; to Flora and Jenn for doing what they do, fighting the good fight, and sharing their love with their communities! And, again, congrats!

    Reply
  25. Katie on

    Congratulations, Flora and Jenn!! Jenn, I can 100% relate to what you wrote about confidence. I did the flowers for a friend’s wedding last fall and the reaction I received gave me so much confidence and drive. But lately that has waned in the dead of winter. I’m taking your words and advice to heart and bottle it up and carry it in my pocket!

    Reply

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