Jewel-toned Florals for a Sultry Summer Evening at Montague Retreat Center

wedding party
Julia and her parents, approaching the ceremony space at the Montague Retreat Center.

When I arrived at Montague Retreat Center to drop off the flowers for Julia and Doug’s August wedding I was worried about rain. The forecast called for the kind of brief, but intense thunderstorms that happen a lot in New England in the hottest and most humid part of summer, and while I can set up an arch installation inside as well as out – there was no arch inside the venue.

A couple of texts and phone calls later and the call was made: we’re doing it outside.

Photos of Julia and Doug’s wedding: Kissick Weddings.
Location: Montague Retreat Center, Montague, Massachusetts.
Planner: Events by Pamela Joy.

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A Summer Meadow’s Worth of Flowers in a Day

 

My home and farm is a little less than 4 miles from Valley View, so it’s a real treat when I’m asked to flower a wedding there. I’ll travel, and I enjoy it, but staying close to home, incorporating my own flowers as well as those from other local growers and including thoughtfully chosen sourced flowers, and popping right up the road on wedding day – perfection.

For Charlotte and Ross’s midsummer wedding all of that happened. A perfect, slightly-warm-but-not-too-warm summer day, a floral color palette that was basically “all the colors,” and lots of fun, special floral touches throughout the ceremony and reception made this one of the favorite weddings I flowered this summer.

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

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Each married their favorite person: an early summer wedding at the Boylston Rooms!

Jules and Rachel are adorable. Their instagram feeds (because yes, I’m a follower!) read like mini love letters to each other. So of course their wedding was equally as adorable and personal! I quite literally squealed when I saw the photo album West on Jade sent over – every single picture of them is ridiculously cute, just like they are.

Location: Boylston Rooms, Easthampton, MA. June.

All photographs by Juliet Cannici of West on Jade Photography.

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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.

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Flower Play Workshop Series at Passalongs Farm

Introducing: Flower Play! A series of workshops through passalongs Farm!

Right before Christmas I had the great pleasure of doing a holiday wreath workshop party for a local family and group of friends! It was so fun! I brought the materials, they socialized and snacked and drank a little wine, and at the end everyone had a gorgeous custom wreath to bring home for the holiday season.

A couple of months later I was invited to do a flower arranging workshop for Gardeners on the Green in Longmeadow. Again, I supplied all the materials, gave some tips, and everyone socialized, snacked, and created gorgeous arrangements to take home!

Now that my studio is finished I am super excited to do something similar here at the farm! I’m calling it FLOWER PLAY. The idea is this: you (and your friends) come to the farm the first Tuesday evening each summer month, I provide lots of whatever flower is in season, give you a container,  do a little demo and tell you about the flowers and foliage I’m sharing, and then you PLAY!

Play is how we learn!

If this sounds fun to you, here are the details:

FLOWER PLAY WORKSHOPS

Dates: 6:30 – 8 pm, June 4 , July 2, Aug. 6, Sept. 3, Oct. 1

Sign up for ONE ($40) or 4 ($140)

BUY TICKETS HERE

I will have some simple snacks and beverages. BYOB if you’d like to bring wine!

Space is limited to 12 people, age 12 and over. Carpooling encouraged!

 

 

 

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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