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 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!

Turn of the century-themed wedding at Wisteriahurst

Jessica and Mike wanted a turn of the century themed wedding, and what better location than Wisteriahurst, the historic mansion and cultural center in Holyoke. After the ceremony they and their guests traveled to the Roosevelt Room at Union Station in Northampton – more of the turn-of-the-century theme as it’s the great hall of the railway station in Northampton, built right before 1900.

wedding party
I love how dark and moody this picture of Jessica and Mike’s wedding party looks. The darker pictures that Brian Marsh Photography took of the couple and their guests remind me of a John Singer Sargeant painting. So gorgeous!

Locations:
Ceremony: Wisteriahurst, Holyoke;
Reception: Roosevelt Room, Union Station, Northampton
Photos by Brian Marsh Photography

Continue reading “Turn of the century-themed wedding at Wisteriahurst”

bride and groom

Wedding flowers for two “planty people” at Quonquont Farm

Michele and Graham are what I like to call “planty people.” Both work in horticulture. Both love plants. And so when they asked me to do their personal flowers for their September wedding at Quonquont Farm in Whateley, but said they planned on creating their centerpieces themselves using buckets of DIY flowers, I was happy to oblige. And when they asked if they could create these centerpieces themselves in my shed…well, I wouldn’t have let just anyone do it! But I was happy to let these two do it! (And actually, I might let more people do it in the future because we they had such a great time! Continue reading “Wedding flowers for two “planty people” at Quonquont Farm”

white bridal bouquet

Sam and Joe’s intimate fall wedding at Valley View Farm

Sam and Joe were married the end of September at Valley View Farm in Haydenville, MA. A perfect time of year in New England, a perfect time for flowers, and a perfect time for guests and family and loved ones to travel far and wide to our fair Pioneer Valley.

Unless it’s 2020. And we’re in the middle of a pandemic.

So plans had to change.

Some things stayed the same: September is still the perfect time of year to be married in western Massachusetts. Flowers are still at their peak. But hundreds of friends and family traveling from far and wide? Not so much.

Instead, a few friends and family. Instead, a more intimate – but still very special – celebration.

Continue reading “Sam and Joe’s intimate fall wedding at Valley View Farm”

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!

Continue reading “Inspiration: a mustard wedding dress! Summer wedding flowers at Quonquont Farm”

white bridal bouquet

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.

Continue reading “Classy, fun wedding at the Boylston Rooms!”

Putting the farm to bed for the winter…

October is kind of a bittersweet month, no pun on bittersweet, that gorgeous, noxious, invasive vine intended!


October means frost, which means the end of most of my flowers, including the dahlias, ageratum, and zinnias that populated so many of my fall-themed bouquets and arrangements.

October means the end of my summer farmer’s market.

October means I only have a few more weeks to make sure everything I want to overwinter has its best chance of making it. This means lots of digging, planting the stragglers, mulching, snipping, and covering.

October means apples and pears the various jams and butters I make.

October means wildcrafting wreath making supplies and dried bits and pieces for winter bouquets.

October means planning for the late fall and winter craft fairs and markets.

And this October means getting my 4-season store open for business! Which is a beast of a different sort!

Summer Sunset Wedding at the Warfield House Inn in Charlemont

The theme of the wedding was sunset and the night skies. The day of the wedding was the day of a solar eclipse. The flowers followed suit: sunset colors of oranges, pinks, and pops of purples went into their personal flowers. So fun! So romantic!

Location: The Warfield House Inn, Charlemont, Massachusetts. August.
Photography: Lauren P. Wadsworth Photography Continue reading “Summer Sunset Wedding at the Warfield House Inn in Charlemont”