Wednesday, May 7, 2014


On my last day in London I took our rental car due west 2.5 hours to the border of England and Wales. Before I got to the bridge to cross over the river Severn I stopped at a rest area which had a Starbucks and I was - in that moment - with an american coffee in a to-go cup, free time alone and a tank full of gas; the happiest I've been in a long while.


For two weeks Nicolette and I were flower tourists and then teachers...if there was a garden, a spectacular clematis or a medieval castle between Amsterdam and London, we saw it. I hope I absorbed somethings that will stay with me and help me make beautiful gardens and fake ruins at my farm. We certainly have enough rocks here to fake the ruins.


I've been eating a lot of peanut butter sandwiches lately. I'm telling you this because I don't have much else to say. I am sort of funny about never being hungry, probably since in the 4th grade I was 'diagnosed' with hypoglycemia after lots of headaches, the doctor just told me to keep some peanuts in my locker. For a hypochondriac over-thinker like myself, this diagnosis was a boon to my inner dialog.

Unfortunately peanuts were not great social currency -- back then, it was tootsie roll pops and jolly ranchers. The unpopular kids are always more interesting adults. I tell myself.


This clematis Montana is everywhere in London right now. We're planting lots of this at the farm this spring. This season has been cold and wet; everything is about 3 weeks behind normal...daffodils have just started to bloom and our fields are still waterlogged. We're in a bit of a holding pattern. Already making lots of mistakes, like the sweet peas that got drawn out to around 10 inches of stem stretching for more light in our living room. I've been expertly advised to scrap them and start over. Eric, who cared for them in my absence (and thus feels a sort of paternal connection to the things) is angry and not ready to let go. We have a good little fight about this, and I agree to give them a shot under a low tunnel where they'll get more light.



I stopped in the city to check in with the girls at Saipua on my way back from London. I had a few hours to play with what was around and made this arrangement. I am reminded why flowers are so satisfying to me; they are so immediate. You put them together and right away you make something. It's such an obvious contrast to my work at the farm. Eric says I want a farm right out of the box. And he's right. 

It feels like the more we accomplish here, the more work is uncovered. I'm coming to terms with this as a lifelong project. Which is uncomfortable for me when I really think on it. 
It's frightening because it makes my life seem very short. 

scotley castle


It took 32 years to build Tintern Abbey in the late 13th century. By the mid 16th century it had been largely abandoned and for the next two hundred years it was ignored. In the mid 18th century it became very popular for people to 'explore the wilder parts of the country' and the ivy ensconced ruins of Tintern were suddenly a popular tourist destination. There are many beautiful etchings and paintings of the Abbey from this period. Swathed in overgrowth. Epically romantic.


Scientists generally agree that we've entered a new epoch on earth and they've dubbed it the 'Anthropocene' a word that infers the effect that humans have had on the surface of the earth and it's atmosphere. Most agree this epoch started around the industrial revolution, though some argue it should begin even earlier, with the rise of agriculture. 

What makes sense to me is that this shift coincides with the dawn of our self awareness. When we began to see ourselves as separate from nature. Something apart from it. 

Ironically we seem to miss nature, we want to go back to it, hike through it, commune with it, feel like we belong to it. Even if just for a day and under highly mitigated circumstances. I personally spend a lot of time trying to get back into it. I'd like to crawl inside the ivy covered ruins and make my bed. I want plants growing inside my house through the windows, along the baseboards. When I am outside in it I wait to feel some connection or rhythm. Like waiting for acceptance.

big urn flowerschool_2When I was in college and angry at the world, at coorporations, at starbucks (!) at everyone...I used to fantasize about moving to the Northwest Territories of Canada or Montana to be a rancher. To be completely alone in nature. But I'm not sure I'd have found what I was looking for there. I'm not sure that there is this difference between our lives and nature. This inside and outside. I have come to think that more likely our modern lives; our jetplanes, our iphone, our nitrogen fertilizers are all nature too. 

It's all cut from the same cloth, really. I'm not sure what I'm getting at but I've been thinking on this for a few days and will keep knocking it around.


Note: I set off writing this post to inform you about mothers day flowers, and fill you in a bit on my trip. Instead I divuldged into yet another rambling on the human condition. Whoops. In one of my classes in England we talked a little about branding and marketing your business. We talked about how you have to show what it is you want to do, demonstrate what you are first and then the right clients will find you and hire you. I believe this truly. Unfortunately for me, in a time when I really need some more clients at Saipua all I seem to be able to do is write about anxiety and global warming and post dark creepy photos of flowers and dirty sheep. Hey girls want to talk about your wedding? This makes me smile, sitting here in the dark at 5:45 am watching the sun come up.

Also my comments on nature encompassing our technology and the burning of fossil fuels are not mean to be read as a friendly excuse to continue our thoughtlessness on the planet. Quite the opposite. More on this someday soon I hope.

The shop Saipua in Brooklyn will be open Saturday and Sunday (likely the last weekend for a little bit) selling our soaps, candles and flowers. The girls are taking orders for mothers day. You can order a bouquet or ball jar for pick up starting at $35 or order something fancier for delivery (Manhattan/Brooklyn) for $250 on Sunday.


Martha said...

I always find your posts so thought-provoking, and am thankful they aren't about branding and marketing (for what it's worth) but I'm also not exactly a paying client or anything. I'm an American in Ireland and we spend just about every weekend visiting ruins. I'm obsessed with them - which Irish people find kind of funny, but as Americans we are kind of starved for that kind of history at your doorstep (or in your sheep pasture). We can't wait to make a trip to Wales.

LPC said...

Well I basically told the world today, on Meg's blog, that the only thing I really knew I wanted in my second wedding was your flowers. But it's the photo of the bouquet that ought to convince them.

I look forward always to your musings.

St├ęphanie said...

But your rambles on humanity are what make your blog so fresh and different from the rest! Coupling a thought-provoking journal with pretty pictures of flowers? Perfection.

Anonymous said...

I don't know, when I get married (if?) i want dark creepy flowers. the darker the better, imo. none of that stupid happy gerbera shit. i actually do want flowers that say "i think about the human condition." i hope this doesn't come off as being saracastic, i'm really serious here. i've been reading about the concept of the sublime, and how there is an element of pain or darkness in the sublime, versus the general prettiness of things that are merely "beautiful." your flowers are sublime and i think that's the most anyone can ever dream of.

chesapeake said...

If I were getting married again, I would have you as my florist. Global warming rants and dirty sheep and creepy dark plant photos and all.

Actually, it's really nice to see a "pretty photo" blogger actually being concerned about global warming. It seems like most bloggers are either 1) over-consumers who post great photos or 2) end-of-the-world nutsos using comic sans. Or something.

I always love seeing a post from you in my feed. Write what you feel.

david dahlson said...

Those fake ruins are called "follies". Say no more.

Olivia said...

God, I have such a friend crush on you.

count buckula said...

hey d00d - glad to see you're getting some inspiration. I'm going through an inspiration null lately, just toughing it out. holla

also I think you're trying to imply that the universe is always at some sort of balance.

Jo said...

Have you not figured out that you don't have to explain yourself with this crowd? We love the moody light you cast upon the fine line between reality and our perception of it. And besides that, peanut butter sandwiches are the bomb. said...

Your blog always, always stumps me with new information. Please keep us enlightened forever.

Jenny said...

Sarah, this post really resonates with me today. I like the dark and gloomy, and I feel that too, that "waiting for acceptance". It takes courage to write the way you do. Beautiful writer you are. Thank you.

Diana said...

…what they said.
✔dirty sheep ✘ stupid happy gerbera shit.
Can the sweet peas not be pinched back or is he too tenderhearted for that task?


Thank you for these beautiful impressions between Amsterdam and London. Your view on Tintern Abbey is so special... Greetings Iris

Anonymous said...

On the idea that we are our own environment - maybe try 'The Ecological Thought' by Tim Morton? It's a good/whirlwind read, nowhere near as novel in its ideas as it thinks it is - but it's a good way to move from above the world down into it and it offers some words that help you feel the things that it asks you to think.

Oleander said...

I love the Gothic haze of a cloudy London day. So beautiful. Thanks.

Mantelilaakson Susanna said...

I just love the amazing beauty of this mystic place!
By the way, I just found your blog and adore it already!
As a Finnish florist myself, I found it so special and full of beautiful details! Kiitos!

Kat said...

Absolutely incredible. Dreamy, magical and divine in every way -you captured the essence in your beautiful photography.

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