Spring Blooms in the Berkshires: a glorious wedding at Race Brook Lodge

Apparently the only way to get from where I live, Northampton, to Sheffield, is “the back way.” The roads were curvy, bendy, and forked, but the day was gorgeous! New England spring was on full display: the perfect backdrop for Jessica and Chris’s family and friend-filled wedding on the grounds of Race Brook Lodge.

A side note for all of the couples reading my blog posts and considering me for flowering your wedding: every single event I’ve done this year that’s been outside has had PERFECT weather. Including one where there was a hail warning – the hail skipped right over us. I’m good luck, obviously.

Anyway, back to Jessica and Chris! The couple wanted seasonal blooms in pinks and purples, so that’s what I did! Mid June this year was at the tail end of my peony season, which was good news for them because not only was I able to use my peonies, I basically used up ALL the peonies that were in bloom right then because I knew they wouldn’t last much longer.

Location: Race Brook Lodge, Sheffield, MA (The Berkshires), late spring.
All photos by Eric Limon Photography.

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No floral foam for me! An environmental and sustainable guarantee.

Floral garland made with no foam. Photo by me.

I started in this business as a home gardener. For years before I owned Passalongs Farm or made a single wedding bouquet, I tended large perennial gardens, tried to grow veggies, and worked at a farmers’ market, where I fell in love with farmers and farm culture. Personally, I’ve always recycled, cooked from scratch as much as possible, and tried to reduce waste. I’m thrifty, environmentally conscious – oh, and happen to be partnered up with a husband whose business is energy efficiency in all forms. We are not as green as some, but greener than most.

When I started creating floral designs beyond simple bouquets I was astonished at the amount of waste there is in this business. An example: if I buy 24 roses at our local wholesaler, not only have those roses traveled from who knows where (Central America or Colombia, likely) and have been refrigerated for who knows how long (3 weeks?) but they come wrapped in lots and lots of packaging. 24 roses from the wholesaler are wrapped in layers of paper, cardboard, and finally plastic, then my wholesaler wraps all the flowers up in more paper or puts them back in their waxed shipping boxes.

Contrast that with flowers I buy from local farms: unwrapped, maybe with a rubber band holding them in bunches, transferred from their buckets to my buckets.

Contrast that with flowers I grow myself in my permaculture beds: I simply walk out my door and cut them. Yes, there were costs and fossil fuels and shipping involved, depending what it is I’m cutting, but there’s no packaging to throw away or recycle.

Continue reading “No floral foam for me! An environmental and sustainable guarantee.”

Flower Arranging workshop with Gardeners on the Green!

When Jill, the event coordinator for Gardeners on the Green in Longmeadow contacted me to see if I’d do a workshop for her group, I was really excited! March in Massachusetts is fairly dreary: still cold, despite the calendar saying it’s spring, and we have plenty of snow and ice. Usually there’s not a flower to be seen!

My version of the spring flower arrangement I demo’d for Gardeners on the Green.

Luckily there were plenty of flowers at the wholesaler and I chose a Rosie Posie vase for the gardeners to work with, since this shape vase is really great for a low, wide arrangement but can also be used for a rounder, taller arrangement as well.

First I told them a little bit about myself, and then we got to it. I’d foraged birch branches from my yard to add something of the woods to these bouquets (I’m going to make #woodsyboho a thing!) and brought in lots of spring blooms: daffodils and larkspur with some spray roses, wax flower, and eucalyptus. I also found acacia, which lends a wonderful textural contrast to the other flowers. After a brief demonstration I gave them free rein, and they got to work!

The Gardeners were able to choose whatever blooms they wanted from the buckets of flowers and greenery I brought.
I taught them how to add a little structure and greenery to the vase before adding flowers.
Almost done!
Showing off the finished product!
One great thing about a DIY workshop is everyone has something to take home at the end!

  

Who knew? 2018 in review!

photo by Time Bandit Photography

Last night I was at a New Year’s Eve party with friends I hadn’t seen in person for a couple of years. We moved to Massachusetts in 2015, and so while most my North Carolina friends and I stay in touch via social media, many of them I usually only see once a year, if that.

Here’s the cool thing, y’all: every single one of them told me how beautiful my flowers were, how much pleasure they got out of seeing the bouquets, and many of them also said: WHO KNEW? Who knew you could do that? Who knew you had that business in you?

I didn’t. I hadn’t. But guess what? I did and I do!

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Fall themed wedding at The Ranch Golf Club in Southwick

The Ranch Golf Club in Southwick has a sweet wedding venue, The Pavilion, which is a beautifully restored and modernized barn. There’s a separate house where the bridal party can get ready, a private ceremony area with a rustic arch, and the barn itself, which is roomy and bright and went very well with my flowers, which I grew and sourced locally, except for the eucalyptus.

When I got there, the bride, Cailin, getting her hair done, her bridemaids and mom buzzing around, and she seemed so relaxed! I can’t help but think that bodes well for a wedding and marriage!

Location: The Pavilion, The Ranch Golf Club, Southwick, MA. Late October
Photography: Jennifer Cardinal Photography

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Intimate woods wedding at the foot of Mount Sugarloaf

Kim and Tim were one of my first consults for 2018 and they were so cute together! They knew me from the Easthampton Farmers’ Market, and locally grown flowers were a priority for them. They got married smack-dab in the middle of dahlia season, so what I grow was a great fit for what they wanted!

All photos are by Live, Laugh, Photograph Studios.
Location: Sunderland Town Pavilion, Sunderland MA, early September

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Traditional meets Artsy Chic = Gorgeous pastels at the Curtis House in Ashfield

Meghan wanted all blushes, whites and creams…but she’s also an art designer, has one or two tattoos, and her hair makes me think of a unicorn (not to mention their wedding hashtag was #megbreaksben – courtesy of her fun and personal instagram feed!), so I knew that while a traditional color scheme was in order to go with her beyond-gorgeous lace dress, I could add a creative touch here and there to add a little extra style to these romantic flowers, starting with the bride’s bouquet.

Location: Gloriosa & Co. at The Curtis House, Ashfield, October.
Photography: most by Tim Mackay Design (unless otherwise noted.) Continue reading “Traditional meets Artsy Chic = Gorgeous pastels at the Curtis House in Ashfield”

Inspiration: a mustard wedding dress! Summer wedding flowers at Quonquont Farm

“I want it to be a surprise. My dress is going to be mustard.”

Glorious words to a florist! I love a white or cream or ivory wedding gown, of course – they’re classic, gorgeous, traditional – but mustard! Mustard is different. It’s a hue a color-loving flower farmer can get inspired by!

Location: Quonquont Farm, Whately, Massachusetts, Late July.
Photography: Kim Lindler, Time Bandit Photography.

Jesse and Dave had me do the personal flowers for their wedding, including bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, a hairpiece and a floral necklace, as well as a garland for their chuppah, and friends and family created most of the reception centerpieces using buckets of flowers from my farm. The collaboration was fun and the results spectacular!

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wedding florals

Classy, fun wedding at the Boylston Rooms!

The Boylston Rooms in Easthampton is the epitome of industrial chic, and Erin and Donny’s wedding reception’s classy, classic but fun vibe fit perfectly in the space. Erin’s colors were white, gold, and pink, and her instructions to me in regards to the florals were to make them lush and a little bit messy. I was very happy to oblige! I can try for controlled, but messy is really my thing!

Location: The Boylston Rooms, Easthampton, Massachusetts. Late May.
Photography: Lauren Dobish Photography.

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Thanksgiving 2018 centerpieces! Order NOW for 11-21 delivery

Passalongs Farm and Florist presents…special order Thanksgiving centerpieces! Order before 11/18 to get FREE local delivery (local meaning within 5 miles from the farm – so Florence, Leeds, most of Northampton, Easthampton and some of Westhampton, Haydenville and other spots nearby!) As always, on-farm pickup is also free!

I have 2 possibilities for you:

1. Roundy moundy foraged and fresh pie pumpkin centerpiece. Starting with a locally sourced pie pumpkin (thank you Scott Orchards!), I’ll fill it with a variety of seasonal fresh blooms and foliage, as well as foraged and grown dried and woodsy elements!

Cost: $40

BUY NOW.

 

2. Foliage heavy, woodsy chic centerpiece. Low and wide, this seasonal centerpiece is perfect for the big tables that large family gatherings require! Fresh seasonal blooms with lots of foliage, heavy on woodland ferns and interesting foraged bits.

Cost: $60.

BUY NOW.