This post is dreadfully overdue! The whirlwind of the Seasonal Bouquet Project workshops that swept through my farm in late October almost seem a distant memory now as we finally finish with the tender tasks of putting the farm to bed for the season. The three workshops were book-ended with a flurry of Love ‘n Fresh weddings so it took a bit of time to come up for air after all the activity and stress. I finally have a few peaceful moments to reflect on the amazing and unexpected experience the workshops were for me.
I’ve lead many workshops over the years in various formats for various audiences with various skill levels. But none of those prepared me for how intense the Seasonal Bouquet Project workshops would be. The students that came to these workshops were of all ages and skill levels and hailed from all over the globe. Some were young newbie farmers. Some were older, highly-experienced farmers who knew way more about farming than I did. Some were young newbie designers. Some were older, highly-experienced designers who knew way more about the wedding business than I did. There were 20-somethings and retired, second-career types alike. And of course there were all levels in between. It was daunting (and probably downright impossible) to try to meet the specific needs of every single person in attendance. The agenda for each day got sidetracked repeatedly as we tried to accommodate everyone’s myriad questions. So there was that challenge.
But on the reverse side of the coin was the incredible sense of community and sharing that rose to the surface of each session. At times I would stand back from the group and just listen. I would get chills as I heard the passion, generosity and desire in each person’s voice as they shared experiences and dreams with their neighbor at the design table, the dinner table, the processing table, or the patch of grass we were hunkered down on during farm demos. Each student brought with them a unique and inspiring energy. I was beyond humbled to have that energy coursing through my farm and my life for two weeks.
Speaking of which, it was quite strange to have so many people at the farm over the two weeks of the workshops. I am a pretty quiet spirit who enjoys solitude, especially while farming and designing. My team is small, and we have an easy energy between us that usually has us working quietly at a task, occasionally punctuated by laughter and a quick conversation about life or a particular flower. That’s the extent to the “hubbub” at the farm on a typical day.
So having 60 some people rolling through the farm during the workshops along with the flurry of deliveries, vendors, and vehicles was really something to experience. It’s funny how that residual energy still lingers at the farm, weeks after everyone has gone. I think it might be next spring until the whole place feels “normal” again.
It was highly addictive to host the celebratory farm dinners in the field. Nothing quite like a row of glowing candles and luscious flowers down the center of farmhouse tables with strings of cafe lights and stars twinkling overhead as wine was poured liberally and delicious food was served. Such lively conversation at those meals! And the bonfire and wish lanterns only added to the surreal magic. I’d say there will definitely be more farm dinners in the future!
I have always believed that teaching is actually one of the best ways of learning. These workshops proved that once again. Having to articulate what you know helps you solidify your thought process and leads to greater confidence and streamlining. There’s something powerful about having to practice what you preach. As with any big new undertaking, there were some big life lessons to learn along the way too. I also learned so very much from the students, especially Mimo Davis and Linda Doan, two very accomplished flower farmers with tremendous wisdom to impart. My deep gratitude for that.
Thank you to all who attended! And heartfelt thanks to the many people behind the scenes who made the workshops possible, especially Brooke Courtney and Emily Wren for their photography prowess that gave us so many beautiful images. I am forever grateful.
Visit The Seasonal Bouquet Project blog for a lovely spread of photos from the workshops.
There are also heaps of student snapped images on Instagram. Search the hashtag #theseasonalbouquetproject