Header photo by Ariena Photography
What a year, huh? 2020 has been WILD. I could focus on all the difficulties: my first season farming on this land, flooding, a global pandemic, wedding postponements, a broken arm, and travel cancellations. But I'm grateful that my friends and family have so far survived this pandemic. And I've finally had time to reflect on some of the more wonderful things that happened this year. There were definitely a lot of bright spots! So here are some of the highlights of the year here at Folk Art Flowers.
January: Farm planning & vacation
In January, I was in the thick of planning the new farm land on paper. As you can see from my early drafts: this was quite a process! Eventually, I moved this paper plan into a spreadsheet so I could take it with me into the field. I really enjoyed having a visual plan of the farm handy at all times! Having that info readily available was really useful as I took copious notes this year on each crop and how it did. (Or alternatively, how much the deer enjoyed eating it.)
In January, I was also able to take some vacation time and go on my first and last trip of the year. My husband and I typically travel to Florida at least once a year to visit family and friends. This year, we treated ourselves to a quick jaunt to the Wizarding World at Universal Studios. We had wanted to go for years, so this year we finally made it happen! Looking back at photos, I can't believe we were all gathered without masks! And I can't believe that was this year! It feels like years ago.
February: Northwest Flower & Garden Show
February was such a fun month for creating beautiful things. The absolute highlight of February was the Northwest Flower and Garden Show! Debra Prinzing, founder of the Slow Flowers movement, asked me to teach a class on wearable flowers for a series called "Blooms and Bubbles." I obviously said yes, and we had such a blast! We made everything from flower crowns to rings and bracelets. My students made such wonderful creations! And I got to meet Beth and Kurt of Scenic Place Peonies, who took these great photos. They were such wonderful folks and I can't wait to get up to Alaska for peony season someday!!
I also got to help my friend Keita (of Smashing Petals) with her mannequin for Fleurs de Villes at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. We also had so much fun together making this dress, and it turned out beautifully!
March: The Growing Begins
In March, all of the flower seeds started germinating and really growing in earnest. Perfect little cotyledons were emerging every single day! And I was spending a lot of time seeding new trays to make sure I had plenty of things to grow. (Spoiler: I had too many things to grow, lol.)
As the pandemic really ramped up, I took the opportunity to grab some spring goodies from the Seattle Wholesale Grower's Market before they closed. We were not sure how long things would stay closed, or where this was headed. So I nabbed all of the fluffiest things to play with!
APRIL: TULIP TIME
In April, the highlight was definitely having so many gorgeous tulips and daffodils blooming! It was my first real harvest of the year, and it was wonderful to have flowers in the house. I typically would have sold those flowers. But with everything shut down, it was unclear whether we flower farmers were even "essential" enough to tend our crops, let alone do deliveries. So I played it safe and gave away everything to my neighborhood. (You can read more about that decision here.) Still, it was nice to be putting a little beauty into the world in a difficult time.
Since then, I have had a LOT of folks walk by when I'm out working in the yard, and ask me if I am the person who gave away those tulips. It's been really cool to know that it made such a difference to so many people!
May: FARM INFRASTRUCTURE
Okay, this may not seem like a big deal to y'all. But in May, I was able to get both a shipping container AND a portable toilet placed on the farm! These were both super essential pieces of infrastructure that I needed. And they were both total game changers. I was able to clear out my garage of farm tools, and also drink as many gallons of water as I wanted. Living the dream!! I was also doing a lot of transplanting and setting up irrigation systems in May. So, it was a very timely intervention for those long days!
June: Slow Flowers + Black Lives Matter
June was an amazing month for connecting with other Slow Flowers members, and finding new ways to commit to supporting BIPOC folks. Thanks to Slow Flowers calls, I made a new friend in Yoni at Flowers Without Borders. (Yoni is also teaming up with Talia at Postal Petals). Yoni commissioned this piece from me, which is still one of my favorite things I've made this year.
Yoni also helped me donate and ship flowers for the very first time to Milwaukee, where they were used in a series of BLM flower installations. The team at Milwaukee Flower Co. collaborated with a bunch of cool people to make some seriously powerful artwork. This installation at the Black Holocaust Museum was particularly moving:
We also used this time to highlight and promote Black-owned wedding businesses in Seattle.
JULY: A MAGICAL MOUNTAIN ELOPEMENT
My highlight of July was making gorgeousness happen for A&S, a couple who were referred to me from a friend. They were flexible in their flower choices, which meant they got some of the most gorgeous things summer has to offer. And they had an amazing elopement in the mountains, with an afterparty at an A-frame cabin in the woods. The photos from this elopement are seriously STUNNING and deserve their own blog post. Here's a sample. I mean COME ON.
AUGUST: THE FARM IN FULL BLOOM
In August, I was really enjoying the farm in full bloom. (I was also working my butt off trying to keep up with everything blooming!) I planted a LOT of dahlias expecting all my summer weddings to happen. So when they didn't, I just got to play with them instead. I had a lot of fun making cool flatlays, vases, and other things with all the extra dahlias I had this year.
SEPTEMBER: M&A's BACKYARD WEDDING, AND A PHOTO SHOOT
Obviously, anytime I got to do a wedding this year, I was thrilled. So when M&A decided to just go ahead and do a tiny backyard ceremony, I was so excited! I had been growing so many things for them all year - they became "their" flowers when I was tending them, so I loved being able to use them. They looked so stunning, and everything came out so beautifully. This work was packed full of dahlias, rudbeckia, amaranthus, and scabiosa that came right off the farm. We will still do a big one-year-anniversary party next year - but it was wonderful to help them celebrate this year, with a tiny group of friends and family.
OCTOBER: A MOODY PHOTO SHOOT
In October, I met my new friend Hannah at A Bird With A Plan! (She recently interviewed me about wedding flowers, which you can find here.) Hannah planned this very cool, very moody photo shoot just in time for Halloween, my favorite holiday. I LOVED using all of the fall colors on this one. And I got to meet so many cool friendors (friend-vendors) through this shoot, whose work is wonderful! We are also sharing these photos with a wedding blog, so I can't post many here, but here's another little sneak peek. I can't wait to share more with y'all! It turned out so beautifully!
November: A SMALL Wedding with Friends
I broke my arm just after that October photo shoot, and had to have surgery. I still don't have full range of motion. So my late-November wedding was not possible without friends! I pulled in my floral friends Keita from Smashing Petals and Jacki from Millsweet Floral Co to help me do this gorgeous wedding for C&A at the Willows Lodge. It turned out beautifully and I was so happy with it! C&A cracked me up because they had a "deadline" to get married, in the form of a trip to Jamaica. They wanted to take the trip and use it as their honeymoon, so we were on a schedule, and it was the chaotic good type of energy I needed this year! And they made it happen! I'm so grateful to C&A for trusting me to do the florals despite the injury. And so grateful to my wonderful flower pals who are always willing to pitch in! (Our flower community here in Seattle is amazing, btw. Flower people are the best.) This is not a great photo, but you can still tell how pretty this bouquet turned out. I can't wait to see real photos of this gorgeous micro wedding!
December: A WINTER ELOPEMENT SHOOT
You may have seen the video on my Instagram, but this past weekend I got to join a team of collaborators on a winter elopement shoot. I am SO EXCITED to see these photos and I can't wait to share them! For now, you will have to just trust that it's going to be amazing. When photographer Cat Ruchalski reached out to me, I was like, how am I going to do this without it reading "Christmas?" We have so few local flowers available this time of year. But I realized pairing evergreens with tropicals could be a really cool PNW take on seasonal, local flowers. And it's not something I've seen done much before. So we got roses from Oregon, flowers from California, tropicals from Hawaii, and local evergreens and dried grass and hydrangea to make this magic happen. I am so thrilled with how it turned out!
And that's my year! I will be taking some time off the next couple of weeks to rest, recharge, and spend some quality time at home. I hope you all have wonderful holidays! And if you want to chat about your wedding once I am back in January, you can get in touch here.