Over the past month or so, I’ve been pulling together a few posts based loosely on the theme of creative collaborations, partnerships and flower friendships. While each of the stories in this series is quite different, they each paint a beautiful picture of how giving, gracious and talented this flower community is.
If you’re just tuning in, a few weeks back I posted about the work of my flower friend, Steve Moore and shared a little story about florists rallying to support a flower farmer battling breast cancer. Next I highlighted the floral art installation that brought together dozens of designers to create Flower House; and today I want to share a little story from my recent trip to the East Coast that touches on yet another creative collaboration: The Little Flower School.
In early October, Chris and I carved out a window in our schedule, to step away from the farm for 10 days for a much- needed getaway. We had been going full speed for so many months that we felt physically and mentally spent. We leaped at the chance to escape and re-charge our batteries. But, like any true blue flower nut, no vacation is complete without at least few field trips revolving around flowers.
On the first leg of our trip, we headed up to World’s End Farm, the 107 acre spread owned by my flower friend Sarah Ryhanen. Sarah and her partner Eric bought the farm in upstate New York to grow and supply flowers to their Brooklyn-based flower boutique and design studio (read more about her business in my interview with her last year) and to host special events including the Little Flower School workshops she co-teaches with fellow rockstar floral designer Nicolette Owen.
World’s End Farm is just one of many examples of floral designers creating cutting gardens or investing in entire flower farms in order to secure a supply of seasonal and sustainably-grown flowers for their businesses. It is an exciting evolution in the seasonal flower movement.
The Little Flower School–from the very start–has been a brilliant creative collaboration between two designers that in any other field would be considered competitors. But the seasonal flower movement has helped to upend that axiom as evidenced by the partnership and friendship forged between Sarah and Nicolette. While both women are based in New York and specialize in lush, loose, seasonally-inspired designs, their individual businesses operate quite differently; their teaching techniques simultaneously contrasted and complemented one another.
After a full season of coordinating and teaching workshops at Floret, it was such a treat to be a student this time around. There are always so many new things to learn, and seeing these two masters at work did not dissapoint. Nicolette’s eye for color is like no other designer I know. And Sarah’s quick wit and commitment to supporting a more sustainable floral design industry in New York make for fun and fascinating conversations.
One of Sarah’s recent projects has been working with NYC florists, to provide a service that offers a novel way of handling two of the un-fun jobs of wedding florals: cleaning up and disposing of flowers after the party is over. She’s hoping to close the loop between her farm and her studio—and that of others in the city–by trucking IN flowers from the farm, and trucking OUT all the organic waste back to the farm to compost and use on her beds to grow more flowers. It’s a brilliant idea that could help divert tons of organic materials out of landfills each year. Hearing her passionately talk about the new project was super inspiring.
If you’re a NYC florist, and are interested in learning more, here’s a link to the FULL SCOOP on their composting program.
One of the highlights of this leg of the trip was having the opportunity to forage foliage from the fields and woods around the farm and to quietly observe the subtle differences in climate, soils, and flora of New York. It was the perfect retreat to help get my creativity flowing again and to get me even more excited for the next flower-focused field trip on our vacation: Johnny’s Selected Seeds. I’ll share more about that incredible experience in the coming days.
To read more about Nicolette, Sarah, the Little Flower School and World’s End Farm, check out the links below.
Saipua (their new website just went live!)