“The Earth Laughs In Flowers,” observed writer Ralph Waldo Emerson, and that’s a quote that can be certainly apply to the joy and laughter we felt on Farm Field Sea’s Bloomin Fantastic Flower Workshop at Morning Glory Farm.
How many times have you bought flowers from the farmers’ market or Morning Glory Farm, and wondered how you could create something just as bountiful, as lovely, and as inspiring. Well, there is an event for that.
Farm Field Sea hosted its first flower workshop last week at the iconic Martha’s Vineyard farm, Morning Glory Farm. A group of 13 ladies and the FFS team gathered at the farm. There we signed in, got to know each other a bit, and met Robyn Athearn, who heads up the flower department of the farm and Delilah Bennett, the flower manager.
These two lovely ladies were going to be our guides on this adventure. It was a gloomy Thursday, but that didn’t matter. Even where we started, at the farm, we were surrounded by an abundance of gorgeous fresh cut flowers. The colors even more striking with the absence of sunshine.
Robyn and Delilah took us on a path from the farm building into other fields, that led us to the farm’s main flower harvesting field. It was fun exploring the farm in a different way, more than buying zucchini bread and corn.
Did you know that Morning Glory Farm has 11 fields in total on the Island, over 100 acres, many of which are leased. A serious working farm here.
As we entered into the flower field, not only were the bees buzzing but so were we FFS guests, buzzing with excitement. The oh’s and ah’s at the beauty of a field full of flowers. It was here and now that we were going to start harvesting our own flowers to be used later on in arrangements.
It’s true. We were all going to be cutting our own flowers, selecting the ones that caught our eye. It was all very exciting. Robyn went through the ways to cut the flower, including removing the stem leaves, (which can cause rot, dirty the water, and cause the flower stems to get clogged), which ones to choose as far as bloom potential, and to help to continue the plant growth.
We went through rows of different flowers, each selecting the ones we liked. I immediately fell in love with these salmon/yellowy Snapdragons. Feeling inspired by their beauty, I collected as many as I could before moving on to other flowers. I know these were going to guide me later for my color palate for my flower bouquet. Why and how, I am not quite sure, but there were some creative juices flowing.
Sunflowers were our final flower to collect. Morning Glory Farm has dozens of sunflower varieties, and standing in a field of them is both beautiful and inspiring. It feels good to be surrounded by such pure, natural beauty in a world so full of chaos. A moment to take in, cherish.
Here among these rows, I found a sunflower that caught my eye, not the usual ones, but these smaller, paler ones. The light yellow, similar to the Snapdragons that I had collected. I asked Robyn if I could cut these and she said yes. I was thrilled.
We completed our harvest and brought the flowers back to the farm store. Here, we gathered on the porch, snacked on wine and sparkling water, and Grey Barn cheese and crackers. Here, we were going to learn how to create flower bouquets with what we cut, supplemented by other flowers from the farm.
Imagine, container after container filled with beautiful, colorful flowers that are just waiting for you to arrange. It’s a very cool feeling, but yet also a little intimidating. None of us knew what to do, where to begin.
But that’s the joy of Farm Field Sea. First we gathered flowers, learning about them, and then it was time to learn just how to create those farm stand bouquets we covet so much. It turns out that each flower arranger has her or his own system for creating their bouquets.
Delilah went first with her instruction. When she creates arrangements, she likes to use a field flower to create the general shape of the bouquet, like an Orlaya. Then she adds accent flowers. Many of her combinations include blues and yellow. It’s important to use colors that are complimentary.
She uses an odd number of flowers to create interest, and rims bouquets with a certain kind of flower to make it fuller. She then rubber bands the stem, making sure leaves are removed, and the massages the bouquet, to let it yet loosen up, and add or reposition any other flowers as needed.
Her creation was so beautiful. I loved the big fluffy Limelight hydrangea she used. The colors were complimentary and anyone would love to have this arrangement on their dining room table.
Then it was Robyn’s turn to teach us her method. She likes monochromatic bouquets because they are calming. The colors definitely influence how the flowers make you feel. Bright for happy, muted for serious, deep for passion.
Her coworkers often call her bouquets “Purple Nightmares” because she loves to use purple. This is a little joke between them all. Also, she told us that actress, and Island resident, Meg Ryan, loves her “Purple Nightmares,” and literally takes them out of her hand. Robyn has some serious flower arranging skills.
For Robyn, she likes flowers that are doing different things to create texture. Having flowers in different stages of bloom also make for longer lasting bouquets. So some should be open, some about to open, etc. Since you should trim and change the water for your bouquets daily, this allows you to eliminate any dying flowers and keep refreshing your bouquet (which she taught us).
She also likes to create little pockets of interest throughout the arrangement. Grabbing threes of small flowers around. She also taught us that you have to hold your flowers at a 45 degree angle. This helps you with flower placement, and it is a lot easier to work your flowers in.
After Delilah and Robyn shared there methods, we all were ready to make our own. I had already had a vision for the color scheme. First, I started with the snapdragons I loved. Then worked my sunflowers that I had also clipped, making them the star of the center of the bouquet sort of.
Then I moved on to other flowers of similar hues, then outlined the arrangement with some beautiful green Queen Anne’s Lace. I could have gone with yellow or white for this part, but I loved how subtle the green was with the pale salmon and yellow.
My bouquet was substantial, barley fitting in my hand. Luckily Robyn helped me rubber band it and massage it a bit to get everything where it needed to be. It was so beautiful! I couldn’t even believe that I had put it together. Never ever would I have thought I was capable of something like this.
However, with Robyn and Delilah’s instruction, cutting my own from the field, having so many other flowers to use, I learned how to create a flower bouquet that captured how I was feeling that day. I was inspired, feeling uncertain but wanting to learn, and I was pretty proud when I left.
Each and everyone of us made bouquets that were stunning. Each one so different, a reflection of our style, our moods. We were all happy and laughing with each other. Complimenting and questioning each other on flower and color choices. We held our flowers closed, and all agreed that this was a very special experience.
Farm Field Sea overs truly unique Island experiences. I have a whole new respect for farms and farm-to-table flowers. I also have a new love affair with Morning Glory Farm. So much beauty, both ornamental and edible, come from this iconic Martha’s Vineyard family business.
If you too would like to experience this event for yourself, Farm Field Sea is offering it’s second Bloomin Fantastic Flower Workshop, also at Morning Glory Farm, Tuesday, August 8th. Click here for more info and tickets.
Thank you Farm Field Sea photographer Alison L. Mead for some of the photos used on the blog. Love the ones she captured of my bouquet and our group shot!
You can learn more about Farm Field Sea, which Point B Realty is proud to be a sponsor of, 0n Facebook. And don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Linked In, Google+, Pinterest and Youtube.
Author’s Note: Nevette Previd, Founder of Farm Field Sea, was inspired to create this event after a flower arranging class she took with friends at Morrice Florist. With Farm Field Sea’s unique, hands-on approach to highlighting Island farms, creating a similar class, but one where you learn about and harvest the flowers used, seemed like a good idea, and it definitely was.