Wednesday, March 20, 2013



I'm holed up in my office at the farm watching a snow storm unfold outside. A ladybug has landed on my computer screen, I move it to the Aussie Tree fern sitting next to me. Good deed of the day, check!

Sounds peaceful, but I'm at ground-mother-effing-zero of a shit storm of plant research, and not just for the plant no no no no no. NO! That ground work is mostly done. This is for hellebores - the ultimate hellebore endgame.

Five minutes ago I was begging someone in Michigan to send me Hellebore plants even though we're weeks away from being able to plant here. She's figured out I'm in zone 5 and she's not giving in easy. I NEED THEM I tell her. And then suddenly I am trying to explain to her that I am also a florist and that I just need to cut the flowers... how I might do great things if I could just get one of Chris's yellow crosses...a plant I spied in a corner at Peace Tree, a gift to them for their garden (from his crossbreeding reject pile!). It's just that I can't stop thinking about it. I know I sound crazy to this good midwestern woman on the phone as I try to coerce her to tell me the exact stage of the flowers in the greenhouse, have the petals dropped yet? Are the sepals rusty? Has she even been out to look at the plants? I sadly realize that I am that person on the phone. Shit is real, friends. Shit is real.

early spring


I have been hustling a lot lately, something I promised I would quit. It's just that there's too much at stake, every week things present themselves. Nothing fancy or really that important. No celebrity weddings or dream jobs. Mostly just plants I need to travel for or flowers I have to pay attention to. Lots of driving back and forth between the city and the farm unfortunately.



A shift has been in the works this year, and I'm realizing it now as I try to find the words to describe my feelings. I am less interested in events and more interested in flowers. Maybe it's always been that way but this year it is crystallizing. Asheley and Deanna try to talk to be about linens, about props for events and my eyes glaze over, I can't focus. There's something to this, you have to follow me...

early spring3

early spring5

I have had the pleasure of meeting lots of florists from different parts lately. They casually come say hi at the studio or we meet for coffee. These are some of my favorite days and I always end up talking very fast and getting very excited. Similar to when I meet growers. I notice I work out ideas that have been kicking around in my head in these conversations. A few weeks ago I met with a couple of southern florists. We were talking about business, of course. And how you have to stick to what you love to do. (ARE   YOU   WORRIED  that I'm going to try to bring the m-fing inspirational rain on you this fine spring morning?)



Adding this mammoth farm project to our business has made me look hard at my role in this monster we've created. It's the first time I've really planned, or thought about the future, and it's uncomfortable, I hate it. When I sit down to write business plans for loans I end up on spotify crafting mixtapes that connect 2 Chainz and Barbara Streisand. That's not a good thing, friends.


early spring2

What I realize I don't want to do is sit in lots of meetings. I don't want to suck up ever ever ever to people who don't really understand what we do. I don't want to plan details for table top. Sure, I want those details to be incredible, but I don't really want to personally be that involved with it. I don't want to look at tent schematics or talk about the marshmallow roasting fire pit after-party. Especially if I'm not invited to said fire pit after party. I don't want to do photoshoots I don't have full creative control over.


All I really want to do is scour the country for the best flowers, Orchid Thief style! and god that sounds like a reality TV show, which I definitely do not want to do. I want to make flowers for myself, take pictures of them and share them with you. I want to buy flowers. A TON of them. And I want to make so many arrangements for ... yes ... weddings and events. And I want to awe those clients with the most unusually beautiful, delicately nuanced flower compositions.

But I personally, as the owner of this monster, I really just want to do the flowers, and nothing else. So Asheley please don't make me go to Mood again. Ever.


As I'm writing this morning I'm also trying desperately to track a box of baby chicks that was supposed to arrive yesterday. Can you imagine baby chicks being born into a USPS box and then getting stuck somewhere in a snowstorm on the back of a truck. It's killing me. But I digress...

I think the things we love the most are the things we do best. When I clutter my business with shit that bores me or worse -- things that I think I am supposed to do as a floral designer -- I suffer and Saipua suffers. We live in an age now where we can invent, each one of us, what our personal industry looks like. So I may not take my clients shopping for linens, but I will provide them with a full tutelage on flowers, invite them to come see how we grow flowers and ideally inspire them to start their own gardens and begin their own experimentation with flowers.



Someone emailed me from Oklahoma this week. A picture of a little arrangement they made with a lenten rose from their garden. Told me they were planting lots of hellebores in their yard this year. Do you know what a big deal that is to me? It means more than you know.


I want to wish you a happy vernal equinox. Equal parts day and night.


Laura said...

This long-time reader would just like to say how much I enjoy your posts. Every time a new one pops up, I feel this DEEP NEED to do something similar, to abandon my soul-killing office job and get out in the wilderness, to help things grow, to provide some kind of beauty to others. You also make me want to get a dog, but that's another story.

Anyway, that's really all I got. Just wanted to say thank you for providing some soul food to this gal out here in Minnesota (where it was 7 degrees at the bus stop this morning! WTF?!?!). And if you ever need a farm gal, I will come out in a heartbeat! I am also talented at making cakes... just sayin. ;)

alessandra said...

Courage, your project is great and right, keep believing in what you are doing and don't get too much stressed about the things ( spotify that song) Nothing is never easy or straightforward, you learn in the process. You have so much talent, and I can tell you that you have the drive and the passion to make things happen! Happy equinox to you too!

Bekah said...

Please keep following your passion! You've inspired so many of us, myself included, to just DO it, whatever "it" is, however "it" happens.

And I love the hellebores. Could there be anything more delicate and romantic? Such a depth behind them, too, like they're old souls in young bodies.

Milan Lee said...

That was a rich read, thank you for sharing. I need to do some spring cleaning of my own, and I can imagine the great responsibility that comes with the great power of running your own business. Wishing you the bes. I'm sure you'll make things right!

Mlle Paradis said...

well you have outdone yourself with the beauty of these pictures and these flowers. and well, OBVIOUSLY, yes (to me) hellebores make a person do such things!

i'll add no more to the previous comments that also speak for me.

you will get there.

Unknown said...

How exciting that you are homing in on the eye of the storm of your passions! The things that make you more alive, the things you do best. Delegation sounds like your best friend right now!

Sighing over the shades of those hellebores, especially the ones that have the colour of a faded 1930s velvet gown.

Best wishes to you from across the pond.

Liane said...

it must be said you would make an excellent reality tv show star.

Plant Propaganda said...

Hi, Sarah -

Laura beat me to the punch, but I am a long time lurker and just wanted to write to say that your posts have only become better over time. I absolutely love your casual tone and scattered use of expletives, and the way you have been thinking and expressing your feelings lately resonates with me (and clearly a lot of other people, too). I am 24 and worry sometimes that I'm not going anywhere. I have managed a retail nursery for the last five years and while I agree with you that buying plants is pretty much the best, I find myself wanting more and more to seek out the unusual, strange, forgotten specimens and bring them to the people. No more writing up invoices, counting cash and tracking inventory. You remind me that it's okay to be honest about what we want to do, and to have the courage to do it.

Cheers and keep up the good work.


Anne-Marie said...

Beautiful flowers!

Anonymous said...

fab post and fab photo of neas bottom.

i hear you...even though i am in a different industry running my own small business (textiles) all i want to do is paint and sew and not deal with the fashion industry but i need them to make it all work. much like you need the wedding industry (which sounds just as mental). trying to find the right balance is the dream.

Mairead Mackenzie said...

My friend Anna Mack has a flower farm called Wild & Cultivated that she runs all by herself just over the Massachusetts border. I went there and just totally melted. It is so beautiful. She grows amazing things. She has no website to speak off and has no branding.. People know her because she's just amazing at what she does. I'd recommend tracking her down!

Bow Street Flowers said...

Because of you, there isn't one flower in my shop that i don't adore.
You and Rachel Maddow are my heroes.

Ally Ann said...

your photos, always moody and leave me breathless and
I agree it's hard to not get bogged down by things that don't inspire you. I'm guessing by your drive that won't be happening to you for much longer

Anonymous said...

Your flowers make me want to hoard Howard Hughes style. And I live in California, where I have been enjoying home grown tulips for weeks. Your flowers are just that good.

Jo said...

I just love reading your words. And witnessing your journey. The way I see it (and I think most others would agree), you are talented enough and passionate enough to make your business exactly the animal you want it to be and still have people lining up at your door. Don't let the thing you love become a burden. Find that perfect middle ground. I know you will figure it out.

And on the subject of early spring flowers, I should mention that the daffodils are kicking it around these parts. I have a feeling that heaven smells like daffodils. xoxo

Brrch said...

Are the chicks, okay??

Liza said...

i really started laughing at the marshmallow roasting fire pit part. I am so with you!

It's such a fine line between doing your part to make a living versus really putting your foot down on the parts that are ridiculous. Thanks for helping steer it all in the right direction. We only really have to do what we choose to do. It's important to remember that.

Unknown said...

Your double hellebores are stunning. I have hundreds of hellebores in our garden, all babies from 5 plants I bought about 10 years ago, when buying 5 hellebores was a budget killer for us. I brought a few inside and pretended I could arrange them like you do. Well, it didn't happen, but they still made me very happy. Poor baby chicks--this is the first year we're getting a few in the mail, and I'm freaking terrified. We usually pick them up locally, but my girlie wanted to raise a rare breed that we had to order. I seriously dread opening the box--am so paranoid about their safety. Hope your baby peeps are found quickly! Can't wait to see what this year brings with your incredible passion.

robyn said...

We're in awe of your artistry, ambition and sense of earth and love reading about and viewing the beautiful flowers. cheers.

Fleurie Flower Studio said...

It must be a season of journey for many. Your feelings cannot be ignored, something is driving you to it. I am a studio florist and a life long plant and garden addict. Right now all I want to do is plant pretty plants, the weirder the better, but must be useful for making pretty arrangements. Spring is busting out here and my re-seeding babies are popping out of the ground, couldn't be happier.
Enjoy the journey and listen to your heart.

count buckula said...

I think you just need to be challenged, but feel held back. be patient dude

shellie said...

goodness i adore you. you would probably enjoy all the succulent flowers i have in bloom right now at my place. flowers are amazing.

nanne said...

the downside of having a successful business is all of the boring, crappy detail work that comes with it--totally can suck the creativity & passion out of you.

if you can delegate the day-to-days that do not interest you to someone who will be inspired by them, then do it! pay them as well as you can or give them some kind of ownership in the will pay off for you & your business. you can continue to pursue what you love & still find fun in it.

love your work, your blog & your very funny, sometimes sad, but always honest writing.

fleur_delicious said...

oh. that last picture, of snow and sun and night and light and shadow and Nea out there. My heart breaks and twists and hurts a little, in a good way, like feeling eternity.

I love hellebores. First discovered them as a child; they've always been one of my favorites. I love their dusty soft-matte colours.

The flowers are positively glorious in this post. Thanks for the heart-twisting and the inspiration!

fleur_delicious said...

PS. Bought my first fritillaria meleagris plants last weekend. This is your influence. Saw them on sale outside Whole Foods when I was grocery shopping and exploded: "FRITILLARIA! IF I GET THESE I CAN START A COLLECTION AND THEN HAVE THEM FOR MY OWN CUT FLOWERS!!" and bought the last three. I know. Small start. It's something! =)

Audrey said...

Such an honest post! follow your heart, you have such a beautiful business and your flowers, the creations are so from another level. I also follow Worlds End, because we have to pleasure to have a little cottage with a lot of ground (it's from my boyfriends family). By reading both of you blogs it encourage me to start making my own flower bedding, plant the herbs (hopefully the weather here in Holland will change soon to make a start). So what ever you do! and hopefully you keep sharing it, Saipua and Worlds End will always be an inspiration to me. Thank you!


Amy Seven-Stitches said...

I hold you responsible for me looking twice at heelbores. You make them look amaxing. My vegetable garden is lamenting the fact that I now plant things to pick and look at rather than just food to eat. I even bought a china set with Hellebores on them.

Martin & the Magpie said...

we are so with you......we have 50 hellebore cuddled up against the high brick walls of our garden waiting to be planted..along with the prunus trees and lilac.....there is a spark in the air...a slow turning to what is right to do...beautiful, local and grown with love..we can feel it just as I think you can....xx

staci said...

I have been following your blog for some time.
I never leave comments on any blog.
But, I dreamt of you last night.. sounds corny.
But I did. I had a dream that your creative talent was so large you transformed my house in one grueling weekend. silly.
Here is what I love about you, your photography,
your passion, your attitude, and your ability to write about it all and inspire so many people.
I have a farm in Vermont and I am a good gardener.
But your ability to inspire others through your blog
is something very special.
My dream is to come to your farm and meet you one day. who knows.. Maybe it will happen.
Never give up... so many people follow you.

diana banana said...

exactly what nanne said above! i'm sure there are a ton of people with marketing or MBA backgrounds who would love to be involved in such an awesome business like yours, and also would love to do the more practical aspect of it. there are only so many hours in a day, and no one is good at everything. it's hard to imagine but there are some people who actually like to sit down and convince clients of the vision, to work out schedules and logistics, etc. the hardest part is to feel like you're letting go of total control, but being The One And Only Boss results in business stagnation or burnout.

Allison said...

Your photos are like a Dutch Masters painting. Just beautiful

Cindy said...

You definitely have a great and awesome spring..

runescape gold cheap said...

such a fine line between doing your part to make a living versus really putting your foot down on the parts that are ridiculous. Thanks for helping steer it all in the right direction. We only really have to do what we choose to do. It's important to remember rs