Robin Hill Farm to Table Event

Back in June I had the pleasure of providing flowers for a lovely farm to table event at Robin Hill Farm celebrating Maryland Wine Week.  The event was casual and took place inside a barn on the property.  I wanted the centerpieces to reflect the overall feel of the event and to be very simple and reflective of a summer evening on the farm.  Nothing says rustic summer to me like wooden boxes with mini yellow sunflowers, fever few, alstromeria, gomphrenia and spray roses.

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

Robin Hill Farm is located in Prince George’s County, Maryland and is a family farm that has been in operation for over 50 years.  The property and its barns are undergoing some major renovations right now as they are revamping the farm to become a vineyard and event space.  They are prepping the land to plant their first grape vines next spring and they have been hard at work cleaning and renovating the barns to make them suitable for weddings and events.

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

The inaugural event held in the main barn was a farm to table dinner with wine pairings. Dream Weavers Catering prepared the food all from local farms including Miller Farms, PA Bowen Farmstead, Spider Hall Farm & Windy Willow Farm. Alan Prather provided music for the evening and the wine pairings were served by Jo-Ann and her team from Romano’s Vineyard & Winery.

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyardView More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyardView More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyardView More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

Susan Hardy and her niece Shelby Watson are the driving force behind reinventing the farm as a vineyard and event space.  These women have invested a lot of sweat equity to ensure the grape vines are well planted and maintained and they are learning a lot from their neighbor’s, the Romano’s, about harvesting grapes and operating a vineyard.  They take pride in their family’s property in trying to maintain the look and feel of a rustic, farm atmosphere while providing the amenities you would expect from an events venue.  If you’re looking for a casual and inviting location with a lot of country charm and fantastic views, you need to consider Robin Hill Farm.  They are booking now for events beginning in 2014!

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

Photographer Stacey Windsor was the behind the lens at the farm to table event and really captured the spirit of what this family wants to bring to their community through their farm. Stacey is based in the Washington D.C. metro area and specializes in portrait and wedding photography.  She did a beautiful job of documenting this very special event at Robin Hill Farm.

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/robinhillfarmandvineyard

I’ve only just met the Watson family and their friends and neighbors but I can tell you they seem like good people with big hearts and strong values.  I think my favorite part of the evening was singing “God Bless America” before dinner was served which was a tradition started by the late Mr. Watson before all big family events on the farm.

Thank you Stacey Windsor for these beautiful images!

 

 

Progressive Blog: The Lonely Bouquet

It’s time for another progressive blog post with the Chapel Designers from around the globe!  I just love these posts!  I get to share my work and then send you on an adventure in blog land to see what my “flower buds” are up to as well.

A few weeks ago I participated in the first ever (inter)National Lonely Bouquet Day founded by Emily of Fleuropean, a floral designer based in Belgium.  What started as a simple way of spreading the joy of flowers through her community and countryside quickly grew into a world wide initiative by designers, gardeners and hobbyists who love flowers.

Fleuropean

From Emily’s Website: The basic concept of the Lonely Bouquet goes a little something like this: 1) pick flowers fresh from the garden or forage straight from nature, 2) arrange the flowers in a small, recycled jar, 3) add a signature “take me!” tag, and 4) leave the homegrown arrangement behind for a lucky local to take home. Voila! You have just delivered a handful of flowers that will surely put a smile on a stranger’s face.

Sunday, June 30, 2013 was Lonely Bouquet Day and I happened to be travelling back from delivering a wedding on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  I decided to leave my lonely bouquets in Annapolis, Maryland for some lucky local to enjoy.  I left two bouquets on park benches in a shopping district.  The bouquets were made using locally grown flowers from Southern Maryland’s Amish community as well as a few hydrangeas from my garden and some leftover blooms from Sunday’s wedding.

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The flowers included zinnias, celosia, gomphrenia, hydrangea, peonies and snapdragons

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A lovely woman named Judy found one of the bouquets and was nice enough to send me a photo of herself with the bouquet!

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I’m not sure where the other bouquet ended up but hopefully it found a home and someone enjoyed the flowers!

I think it’s pretty amazing how something so simple started half way around the world by one person had such a global reach and it was all done via the internet and social media. People shared their bouquets via twitter using #lonelybouquet and you could also upload images to the website and add it to the world map showing where your bouquet was located.  This was such a fun idea and I hope it continues!

Special thanks to Amy from the Botanical Brouhaha for finding Emily’s website and turning so many of us on to this fun project!

Check out more lonely bouquets from the Chapel Designers around the world to see what flowers they have in their gardens and local communities!

-AJ

Posh Floral Designs   http://poshfloral.com/the-lonely-bouquet/

Exquisite Designs   http://www.exqdesigns.com/blog/?p=2316

Alluring Blooms   http://alluringblooms.com/looking-for-a-good-home/.html

Floral Verde   http://floralverde.com/blog/?p=954

Stacy K Floral http://www.stacykfloral.com/?p=5158

Celebration Florals  http://bit.ly/10ThP54

Soiree Floral http://blog.soireefloral.com/2013/07/the-lonely-bouquet.html

Urban Petals http://myurbanpetals.wordpress.com/?p=3490

Colonial House http://colonialhouseofflowers.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/thelonelybouquet/

Au Courant Floral: http://www.aucourantfloral.com/blog

 

 

 

 

 

Workshop: Love’N Fresh Flowers

This past Sunday I took a road trip to Philadelphia for a workshop with Jennie Love from Love’N Fresh Flowers.  Several Chapel Designers joined me at the workshop which made it even more fun!  There were five of us that met up for brunch at this yummy little spot called Winnie’s Le Bus in the Manayunk neighborhood just 15 minutes from the city center of Philadelphia.  After brunch we browsed a few local shops before heading up to the farm.  Our GPS devices showed the farm just a few miles away from where we had brunch. We were in a very urban part of the city at this point.  Where was there room for a flower farm?  Sure enough, we drove down some back streets  along the Schuylkill River and we wound up in this little green oasis in the Roxborough area.  Jennie’s farm is tucked in back of a beautiful old stone house that was built during the period when they used Wissahickon Schist. This is a building stone used primarily as a decorative stone rather than a weight bearing stone. The homes in this area were beautiful and had such character.  Jennie has a fairly good size plot of land where she grows a variety of perennials and annuals.  It was incredibly HOT on Sunday but everything was in bloom and it was beautiful.  Rows and rows of color and texture!  Jennie had already been hard at work that morning harvesting fresh blooms for us to use in our “Wildflower” workshop.

_MG_2891Snapdragons, statice, scabiosa, feverfew, baptisia, dianthus, queen anne’s lace, sunflowers, and more!

012005Photgraphy Credit:  Emily Wren

Jennie was also hard at work prepping some wonderful little nibbles for us to enjoy during our workshop.

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Photgraphy Credit:   Emily Wren

Jennie gathered some flowers for her demonstration on making a wildflower arrangement. Her stem count on her bouquets is insane but when you see the end result you know why and it looks stunning!

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After the demonstration we headed out into the field to see all the flowers up close and learn about the varieties Jenny grows.  That’s Jennie with the watermelon cooler in her hand and my friend Sue Prutting taking notes in her white hat!

052Photography Credit: Emily Wren

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The sun was intense so a lot of us wore hats out in the field.

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The burgundy scabiosa was amazing!

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Fuschia dianthus

_MG_2902Check out these snapdragons!  Why do mine never look like this when I plant them in window boxes…?

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Photography Credit:  Emily Wren
This was my 1st attempt at the wildflower look using a rustic metal vessel. I really like this grouping of flowers with the purple and burgundy scabiosa, dianthus, snapdragons, lemon balm and baptisia. This arrangement is on display in my office right now and still looks beautiful 4 days later!

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Photography Credit:  Emily Wren 
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This was my 2nd attempt using different flowers and a milk glass vase I brought from home. The flowers I selected were a bit more whispy and loose giving it a wilder and messier look.  I wasn’t loving this one but it was fun to make!

Alicia Hat

Thank you for having us to your farm Jennie.  It was a great experience and I really enjoyed learning about your style and technique. You put a lot of hard work into growing your flowers and it shows.  Much continued success with your farm and your business!

Special thanks as well to photographer Emily Wren who captured the days activities on camera.  Her professional images above are clear and crisp.  I take full credit for the blurred and slightly out of focus ones.  Clearly I should stick to flowers! Thank you Emily!

“All the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds we sow today” – Unknown

-AJ

A Capitol Fourth

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You know it’s July 4th here in Washington when it’s 90 degrees and 100% humidity. Gotta love it!  My July 4th celebrations typically involve a cook-out with family and friends and a spectacular fireworks display.  The big city of Roanoke, VA, where I grew up, let off fireworks at the old Victory Stadium near River’s Edge.  The stadium happened to be located directly across from one of Roanoke’s largest hospitals.  I used to think the patients had the best view from their hospital rooms and how fun it would be to watch them from inside. Somehow I’m guessing those patients would rather have been watching from my vantage point instead of in a hospital.  Sadly the old Victory Stadium is no longer standing but I hear the fireworks live on at River’s Edge. The photo below was taken in 2007 at the last fireworks display before the old stadium was demolished.
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I also have fond memories of spending the 4th of July at my grandparents country home in West Virginia.  We used to go there on weekends during the summer as it was a short 3 hour drive from Roanoke.  There was usually a chicken dinner in the nearby “town” of Rio.  Accompanied by a softball game between locals and just good old fashioned food, fun and fellowship. The night would end back at the house with sparklers, firecrackers and rockets that my granddad would launch off the side yard. There were no lights for miles where they lived so the fireworks really lit up the dark nights in the country.
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While living in New York I watched fireworks over the Hudson River. Macy’s lets off fireworks from large floating barges in the river.  It’s spectacular! You can see them from almost anywhere in the city.

Macy's Fireworks

Since meeting my husband in 2004 I have spent many a July 4th on the steps of the US Capitol watching the Capitol Fourth Concert and Fireworks. It helps to know people in high places!  The concert is broadcast live on PBS from the West Lawn of the US Capitol.  Performances for this year’s concert will include Neil Diamond, Candice Glover, Scotty McCreery, Darren Criss, Megan Hilty, Jackie Evancho, The Nationals Symphony Orchestra and my personal ALL TIME FAVORITE performer, Barry Manilow!!!  YES folks he’s back by popular demand singing some of your favorite Manilow tunes!!!!  Can you feel my excitement?  I will be singing along, much to the dismay of the people around me, and will probably be the only person under the age of 60 that knows the words.

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I will be spending this July 4th with good friends enjoying some burgers and watching the concert from the steps of the US Capitol.  As I sit in comfort and enjoy the freedom which this great country provides me I will remember the reason for which this holiday exists. To celebrate the  proclamation of the principles of the Declaration of Independence that took place on July 4, 1776. Here is an excerpt from the preamble:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness”

Fun History Fact:  Every year on July 4th the Declaration of Independence is read from the balcony of the Old State House in Boston. Here is a photo from our recent trip to Boston standing right under the balcony.

old state house

Happy Fourth of July and may God Bless America!

-AJ