dried flower wreath

Ch..ch…ch…changes! For 2023: moving to growing season (fresh) floral work only!

I’m writing this post spring, 2022 about a decision I’ve made for 2023 and probably beyond! It may seem early to make this announcement but a) I want to give folks fair warning, b) it applies to weddings I book for 2023, and they are booking already, and c) it’s been a couple years’ coming, so no time like the present!

The announcement is this: starting in January, 2023, I will only do fresh flower work during my growing season – so around May 1 through Oct. 15. I will do dried and pressed work throughout the year; I will have lots of winter holiday options involving evergreens and dried ephemera and seasonal goodness; but the floral work that involves using entirely imports will cease once we get through 2022.

pressed flower collagesWhy? Because I need a break after the growing season is over? A little. Or maybe more than a little. But mostly because I hate the incredible waste that accompanies import flowers. In a couple of weeks I’m doing early season weddings and I’ll document what it looks like to use blooms grown on other continents (or even other parts of the US) to flower a wedding. It’s also really stressful to have to rely on supply chains, wholesaler issues, and vagaries of delivery when my heart really isn’t in it. I needed to make a decision: either fully commit to regular deliveries of imports (whether or not I had orders) or decide that no, I wasn’t going to do it anymore. So after the end of the year – not going to do it anymore!

I’ve been thinking about my values and how they relate to my business and a lot of what has to happen when providing flowers in the off-season don’t fit into that framework. Personally I hate waste. I hate packaging and trash and while I will still probably order imported roses for my wedding work it’ll be a relief to not *only* rely on imported flowers. It’s been interesting to learn about the global flower industry and retail floristry the past few years and while the convenience factor is high, I don’t know if the pros outweigh the cons.

In the winter and early spring I am not able to create the kinds of designs I like to create. Unless I charge a lot more money I can’t offer the variety of blooms and foliage that make my seasonal designs special, and I’m not super interested in charging a lot more money. And if I’m not offering a variety of blooms and foliage in my style, what’s the difference between me and another florist? These are the things I ask myself.

I’m also incredibly lucky in my business that I do not need to keep at the same sales volume all year long in order to make ends meet. I am remarkably priveleged in that way; no storefront rent, no fulltime employees, and 2 other part time businesses (!!) that limp along during my growing season but easily pick up the slack the rest of the year.

I will miss getting calls from people who are relieved to find a florist who delivers to the Hilltowns or to Huntington or to anywhere on a Sunday. Perhaps I will be able to convince them to send something else, instead? A pressed flower candle? Some forced bulbs in a pretty container? Dried flowers in a artisinal porcelain vase? A wreath? I guess we’ll see!

 

summer bouquet of flowers

Fundraiser Flowers!

flowers on a workbenchYou may not know this about me, but I haven’t always been a flower farmer and designer. I spent 17 years working in (mostly) public schools and also founded and have been running a nonprofit to help families impacted by a neurobehavioral disorder (FAFASD) for the past 10 years.

I’ve always volunteered, organized, and donated to causes I believe in. My work has always been more than “just” about making money.

One of the core values of my flower farming business has been giving back whenever possible. I’m really proud of the fact that as my business has grown and for the first time in my life I’ve had some income to spare, I’ve been able to increase donations to organizations that are important to me.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about how to do this in a way that connects with my local community. I can, and will, keep giving money,  but I’d also like to give what I DO: meaning give flowers, my design labor, and time, and then multiply those skills and that organization through your purchases.

So – my desire to help PLUS my ability to DO = my new fundraising program!

The idea is this: I sell my flowers to our community and I use the funds we raise together to support various causes. Easy, right?

The flowers will be on sale for a specific amount of money, a specific amount of time; delivered on one specific day. This makes it efficient and above all, economical for me, so most of what we raise is going to the community organizations I support.

You can buy the flowers for yourself, for a friend, or even have them sent to a local nursing home! My contribution is the organization, labor, design, and delivery. You are providing financial support AND getting (or giving) a pretty and fun floral arrangement in the process. And together we are raising awareness about important local causes.

Funds raised will be focused on local non-profit organizations who support families and children in need. I will run the fundraisers from April – September. To find the CURRENT fundraiser, please visit the “SHOP” link or follow me on Instagram.

If you run a local organization and would like to be part of this fundraising effort, please email me at passalongsfarm@gmail.com

Since April, 2022, we’ve raised money for:
April: Welcome Home Refugee Resettlement.

 

bride holding flowers

Classic burgandy, blush, and pops of pink for fall – at Valley View Farm in Haydenville

bride and groom
Photo by Kelly F. Peterson Photography

Annie and Kevin’s wedding flowers were in a very classic color scheme: burgandy and blush with pops of pink for fun. Annie wanted a draping bridal bouquet, so I used weeping amaranth as well as foliage to create the shape.

All photos by Kelly F. Peterson Photography.
Location: Valley View Farm, Haydenville MA.

wedding flowers
Photo by Kelly F. Peterson Photography

I love how her bridesmaids’s gowns are all different styles! Because they were married in the fall I was able to take advantage of dahlia season. I spy lots of ‘black magic’ dahlias as well as several white varieties. The draping, wispy foliage here is called “agonis.”

large flower arrangement
Photo by Kelly F. Peterson Photography

The pavilion ceremony space at Valley View farm was decorated with large, lush arrangements atop wine barrels.

floral centerpieces
Photo by Kelly F. Peterson Photography

Mason jars filled with seasonal flowers decorated the tables.

sweetheart table with flowers
Photo by Kelly F. Peterson Photography

The sweetheart table featured a lush flower and foliage garland.

bride and groom
Photo by Kelly F. Peterson Photography

Congratulations to the happy couple! The wedding was gorgeous, but now for the best part: your marriage!

bride and groom

Sunshine-y fall flowers at a light-filled Valley View Wedding

I am not exaggerating when I say that 99% of the pictures of Colleen and Matt at their lovely fall wedding are of her laughing or smiling, and him looking at her like he’s just won the lottery. Look – I appreciate all the images that I’m sent of the weddings I flower. I think: “how sweet,” “how adorable,” “how beautiful.” But for this one I honestly teared up. I mean – to be as happy as Colleen looks and to be as adoring as Matt – this is the dream, right?

All photos of this gorgeous wedding are by Kelly F. Peterson Photography.

The location, of course, is Valley View Farm in Haydenville, MA.

Flowers are by me, and feature a color scheme I sometimes call fall pastels, or sunny fall neutrals. Or just, fall but not orange-orange.

bride holding flowers
Photo by Kelly F. Peterson Photography

Here’s one of the only pictures where Colleen isn’t laughing! Probably because Matt’s not in it! Here’s what was requested for the wedding flowers, starting with her bouquet:  rustic, simple, and neutral, seasonal colors, including dried flowers, but not too bright. Nailed it! Colleen’s bouquet included dahlias, sunflowers, roses, goldenrod, eucalyptus, eryngium, and dried thlaspi, or pennycress.

wedding flowers
Photo by Kelly F. Peterson Photography

Prospective couples often ask me the difference between the bride’s bouquet and the bridesmaids’ or groomsmaids’ bouquets and I think this picture shows the contrast well. First – know that you can do whatever you want for your attendants. Same colors, different colors, no colors – whatever. I always defer to your vision. That said, this is what MOST of my clients decide: attendant bouquets that are similar to the bride’s, but smaller and simpler. So while the bridal bouquet may have 20-25 main flowers, attendant bouquets may have half that. I also try to make the attendant bouquets somewhat similar, but I happen to think a benefit of working with a grower is that I can work with lots of variety, so no two are ever really the same.

wedding ceremony
Photo by Kelly F. Peterson Photography

See what I mean? More laughing, more adoring looks!

wedding flowers
Photo by Kelly F. Peterson Photography

The arch installation was fun to make because it was a whole lot of texture, including dried thlaspi (pennycress), a fantastic early foliage that I grow here at Passalongs. It actually grows itself – seldom coming up where I put it and pretty much coming up anywhere I haven’t. I’ve learned to go with it.

barn table centerpieces
Photo by Kelly F. Peterson Photography

This is a great view of the beautiful barn tables at Valley View, decorated with a centerpiece I call, for lack of a better description: the “eclectic vase” centerpiece. It’s a really pretty, effective, somewhat casual but easily dressed up and afforable centerpiece option for the amazing wooden barn tables at Valley View Farm. I’ve mentioned this in previous blog posts, but as a grower I especially like this centerpiece because I can use all the funky bits and bobs I have growing, no matter stem length or size of bloom. Each one is different, but the whole is very harmonious.

flowers in vases
Photo by Kelly F. Peterson Photography

I spy a Breakout dahlia, orange spray heirloom chrysanthemums, goldenrod, dried millet, fern, an Apple Blossom dahlia, and the list goes on.

table with flowers
Photo by Kelly F. Peterson Photography

After the ceremony, the staff at Valley View took down the arch installation and put it at the foot of the sweetheart table. I think it looks amazing! I create arch installations on site and I don’t make them so they’ll look any special way if moved, but I find that event folks are experts at doing this sort of thing.

bride and groom
Photo by Kelly F. Peterson Photography

Congratulations to the happy couple! The wedding was gorgeous, but now for the best part: your marriage!

bride surrounded by flowers

A picture perfect wedding at Easthampton’s The Boylston Rooms

The photos from Jenna and Chuck’s wedding are so beautiful, aren’t they? Obviously due to their talented photographer, Kim Boualavong, but also because of the light-filled setting at The Boylston Rooms and all the pretty details they chose – including mis-matched but complementary bridesmaid dresses, which are my new favorite thing!

bride holding flowers
Photo by Kim Boualavong Photography

Jenna’s bouquet was soft whites and neutrals, including me-grown dahlias and lisianthus, as well as roses, nigella, eucalyptus, anemone, and some local seasonal grasses for softness and texture.

groom
Photo by Kim Boualavong Photography

Chuck’s boutonniere complemented Jenna’s bouquet, and featured samples of almost everything she held, including the cute grass heads.

bride and groom
Photo by Kim Boualavong Photography

They got married in front of the beautiful big windows in Boylston Room East, and I created a flower and foliage installation for the arch to go with Jenna’s bouquet, as well as two hanging foliage chandeliers. They later moved all of these to the reception space.

bride and bridesmaids
Photo by Kim Boualavong Photography

Now for these dresses! I LOVE this so much! You can see that in addition to the colors in the dresses, Jenna chose to have her bridesmaids hold color as well! I used dahlias, zinnias, hydrangea, lisianthus, eucalyptus, and more grasses for their bouquets. They were really sweet.

bridal bouquet
Photo by Kim Boualavong Photography

A close-up of Jenna’s bouquet. Beauty all around!

bride and groom
Photo by Kim Boualavong Photography

Congratulations to the happy couple! The wedding was gorgeous, but now for the best part: your marriage!

Orchard themed wedding at the historic Fruitlands Museum

Fruitlands is a gorgeous historical orchard in Harvard, MA, and was the site of an intentional community created by Louisa May Alcott’s father and their friends in the mid 19th century. It has walking trails, gardens, lots of information and artifacts about Transcendentalism, and it’s also the site of many a wedding, including Elizabeth and Herbert’s very colorful affair this past August!

Photo by Lena Mirisola

I LOVE the photos from this wedding. One reason is because Elizabeth and Herbert wanted COLOR for their flowers, and I love color. When we first talked they didn’t give me a color scheme, exactly, but a list of colors they liked, which I loosely translated into “the colors of apples.” They liked the idea of food – harvest – apples – and I did too! The other reason, of course, is because their wedding photographer, Lena Mirisola, is amazing. I doubt she needs my plug because I’m betting she has more business than she needs, but the images speak for themselves!  I love to meet young women who are amazing at and passionate about what they do!

bouquet
Photo by Lena Mirisola

Elizabeth’s bouquet featured all my farm has to offer in August. Nice fat zinnias, early dahlias, “hot biscuits” amaranth, eryngium, celosia, mixed with some eucalyptus and a couple hot pink roses – mwah. Oh – and blackberries! This picture doesn’t show the blackberries that I used for texture and foliage but the first one does.

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boutonniere on groom
Photo by Lena Mirisola

You all should know by now how much I love a cute boutonniere! Herbert wore this one well! I spy Raz-ma-taz dahlias (the cutest hot pink with pops of yellow mini dahlia ever!), celosia, tansy, and the center of an echinacea flower for color and texture. And the blackberries!

boutonnieres
Photo by Lena Mirisola

More bouts! Love them! In case you’re wondering, the teal ribbon was a special request – you can see it in Elizabeth’s bouquet as well. I typically either use a mossy green (to match stems) or white ribbons, but this looked really cool, don’t you think! So contrasty.

Photo by Lena Mirisola

The field that Fruitlands uses for outdoor weddings has a gorgeous scenic backdrop. I love the layers on the horizon – the rock wall, the treeline, and then the rolling hills.

centerpiece
Photo by Lena Mirisola

The centerpieces I made at Elizabeth and Herbert’s wedding were fun! They chose birch-wrapped vases to highlight the New England vibe, and in addition to the seasonal flowers and foliage I included fruit! Local apples (from a farmstand up the road,) unripe peaches from one of my peach trees, and blackberry and raspberry foliage.

centerpiece
Photo by Lena Mirisola

The table markers were fun – instead of numbers they used names of herbs. Love it!

bride and groom kissing
Photo by Lena Mirisola

Congratulations to the happy couple! The wedding was gorgeous, but now for the best part: your marriage!

bride and groom

Sweet summer pastels at Valley View Farm in Haydenville

A beautiful day, beautiful location, and a beautiful couple!

Christina and Cameron were married at the peak of summer at Valley View Farm, in Haydenville, one of my favorite locations to flower! They wanted lots of colors – which I love – and lots of variety – which I also love – and as many locally grown blooms as possible – LOVE!

All photos of this wedding were captured by Matthew Cavanaugh Photography.

bridal bouquet
Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh Photography.

Christina’s bouquet featured the very first of my dahlias, plus lisianthus, snapdragons, delphinium, celosia, and a few roses and eucalyptus thrown in for good measure.

wedding
Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh Photography.

We built this custom hexagonal arch for the two of them – I love how this looks!

bride and bridesmaids
Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh Photography.

Bridesmaid bouquets were similar to Christina’s, but smaller and a touch more simple. I feel like these dresses were made for the touch of light blue delphinium we added to the bouquets! Maybe bridesmaid dress designers should start calling the colors flower names? Just a thought…

wedding table centerpieces
Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh Photography.

The tables at Valley View are so amazing! They really look good no matter what you put on them. This centerpiece design is one I do often at that venue. I call it an “eclectic vase” design. Maybe it has another name? Anyway, as long as the food is plated (not passed, family-style) it’s really perfect for this set-up since it’s light, airy, casual, but really pretty. As a grower it also lets me use funky little flowers that I might not have a million of but which look great in these fun little containers. If you look at the vases on the far right and far left of this picture you’ll see I used anise hyssop – the little purple flower with the pretty green leaves. It smells like licorice.

flowers on a table
Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh Photography.

Christina and Cameron also worked with The Borrowed Teacup for their dishware. See that cute little bread plate? Vintage! Love it! The whole look was very much “old fashioned garden party.” So sweet.

bride and groom
Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh Photography.

Congratulations to the happy couple! The wedding was gorgeous, but now for the best part: your marriage!

pink bridal bouquet

Hot pink for a warm night in the Berkshires

Jane and Matt were married early June, but it was a hot day in Stockbridge and the peonies were blown wide open and gorgeous by the time I had everything set up. I loved that Jane and Matt picked all the pinks for their wedding flowers – this timed perfectly with peony season.

(You’ll see in this entry that some of the pictures are by me, taken mid-day with full natural sunlight, and some by Rachel Leiner, photographer extraordinaire, taken towards the end of the day and obviously edited with her full expertise. I’ll make it obvious who took what but wanted to point that out since the colors are fairly different in the various photos.)

Special thanks to Samantha of Kaleidescope Events, the planner! She and her team kept everything smooth! I also really enjoyed talking to the grounds set-up crew at Chesterwood Art Museum, Stockbridge. They gave me the low-down on the gorgeous, (and really big!) arch in the garden.

bride and groom at ceremony
Photo by Rachel Leiner

See what I mean about the peonies? If you get married in June at Chesterwood not only can you carry peonies in your bouquet and have them in your centerpieces, but peonies line the walkway. So gorgeous.

arch with flowers
Photo by Adrienne Bashista, Passalongs

A side note for the gardening nerds out there: the groundsmen told me that the arch used to be covered in beautiful white clematis vines. So I guess in years past there wasn’t that much for florists do to it as the clematis formed a beautiful backdrop. But then the clematis started looking rough and so they consulted clematis experts from England to give them advice about planting a new variety – and they learned that it wasn’t the variety, but that the vine was in full sun that mattered. If you know anything about clematis you’d know that they like shady feet, and the base of this vine was exposed. So they decided to replant the clematis, but plant it on the back of the arch, which is less full-sun and also plant some big hosta near it to provide shade. Clematis geek-out over!

bride and groom
Photo by Rachel Leiner

These two are pretty gorgeous, don’t you think?

pink centerpiece
Photo by Adrienne Bashista, Passalongs Farm

The peonies in the centerpieces smelled pretty amazing. I mixed in a few roses, some stock, purple Siberian Iris, some foliage – and it was très élégant!

pink flower centerpiece
Photo by Adrienne Bashista, Passalongs Farm

I have about 50 mature peony plants right now and have about 30 more that I should be able to harvest from this year as they are 3 years old…and planted 95 more this last fall so yes – it’s safe to say that peonies are THE flower of early June for me. I spy a couple different varieties here: Shirley Temple, Bowl of Beauty, and an unnamed white variety that I brought with me when I moved from North Carolina – those peonies had been at our previous house for at least 25 years, but more likely 50! So I don’t know their name but they are big, white, and bodacious.

table with flowers and candles
Photo by Adrienne Bashista, Passalongs Farm

I really loved the simple, neutral color scheme that Jane and Matt chose. The grey and white linens complemented the deep pinks and greens of the flowers so nicely.

group of people at a wedding
Photo by Rachel Leiner

Congratulations to the happy couple! The wedding was gorgeous, but now for the best part: your marriage!

 

bride holding wedding flowers

An elegant affair at Easthampton’s The Boylston Rooms

bridal bouquet
Photo by Brooke Ellen Photography.

Brittany and Patrick’s wedding was so personal and unique! They chose a turn-of-the-century (before last!) theme, and everything – from Brittany’s gorgeous beaded gown to their flowers to their table decorations served up interesting details that went perfectly with the industrial chic of The Boylston Rooms.

All photos by Brooke Ellen Photography.

Brittany’s make-up by Crystal Vazquez and Co.

Location: The Boylston Rooms, Easthampton, Massachusetts.

And flowers by me! Passalongs Farm and Florist.

wedding bouquet
Photo by Brooke Ellen Photography.

The couple were married the end of May and wanted primarily dark colors, so I used what I had growing here at Passalongs Farm – dark purple anemones, iris, hot pink peonies, burgandy ranunculus – with roses and calla lilies and dark eucalyptus and agonis as well as pheasant feathers, which added a unique and funky touch.

man with boutonniere
Photo by Brooke Ellen Photography.

Patrick’s boutonniere featured scabiosa buds and ranunculus, as well as agonis and and italian ruscus.

wedding ceremony
Photo by Brooke Ellen Photography.

The arch was double sided and assymetrical. The windows at the Boylston Rooms always make my ceremony pieces look amazing!

wedding centerpieces
Photo by Brooke Ellen Photography.

Centerpieces were what I call an “eclectic vase assortment.” These look great on round tables and long rectangular tables, including barn tables, and we can always add personal touches, like the amber vases or the mirror glass candles Brittany and Patrick chose, or fabric treatments like gauze or runners. As a grower sometimes I have only a few of certain flowers (like the funky Sicilian honey garlic in the taller container) or maybe short stems (like many of the anemones I grew spring of 2021) and this kind of centerpiece lends itself really well to these kind of bits and bobs. Each table ends up with a really unique focal point.

bride and groom
Photo by Brooke Ellen Photography.

Congratulations to the happy couple! The wedding was gorgeous, but now for the best part: your marriage!

Pink is a fall color! Bright and seasonal flowers for a coastal Maine wedding!

Yanet and Jon’s wedding had to move from my neck of the woods (western Massachusetts) to Maine because of the pandemic, so last fall I loaded up the old minivan with my husband, loads of hot pink dahlias, a couple of flowers crowns – and off we went to the coast!

Photos by Novella Photography
Venue & catering: Hidden Pond Resort
Planner: Azalea Events
 DJ: Visual Sound Productions
Videographer: Eastty Weddings
Florist: (me!) Passalongs Farm 

arch for wedding
The couple wanted all the pink for their coastal fall wedding, and I was happy to oblige. This birch arch arch features eucalyptus galore, pink, red, and white roses, and pink and white dahlias.
little girl with flower crown
Yanet and her daughters each had flower crowns – so darling! I love making flower crowns – from little bitty ones like this one to Yanet and her oldest daughter’s “boho” crowns.
bride with parents
Yanet’s bouquet was made up of all the red and pink I could find – dahlias, roses, and lisianthus, to name a few, but also featured pops of blue, which had a special significance for her.
Yanet and her eldest daughter had matching boho crowns – dahlias and roses all the way!
banquet hall
Hidden Pond Resort’s banquet hall featured this amazing wire boat that I festooned with foliage. Table decor was groups of eclectic vases filled with more pink flowers.

 

"just married" on back of car
They rented a really cool antique car to tool around in after the ceremony. It was fun to decorate it with garland! Just married!