My friend Jamie was short handed at her farmer’s market booth on Saturday, so she asked me if I’d like to come make bouquets with her.
Would I—!?? I jumped at the chance to work with Jamie and Norm and their team, and to learn a bit about flower arranging from this talented professional, who also happens to be my friend. Amalia tagged along,
to get out of pulling weeds at home to take pictures. We got to the Haymarket farmer’s market at 7:30, and Jamie’s bunch was already moving about like a well-oiled machine, unloading their van and setting up their beautiful wares. I just wanted to gawk. For about an hour.
” . . . Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.” –Matt. 6:29
I am constantly in awe of and grateful for God’s love of beauty in all that he has created. Just looking at these beautiful flowers fills my heart with thankfulness. Eye candy!
I was dazzled. Visually overwhelmed. I just wanted to stand quietly and drink in all that beauty.
Sitting would have been even nicer, but there was no room for a chair. Plus, I think I would have been instantly (and kindly) fired, had I requested a chair.
Me: clearing throat “Jamie, what absolutely beautiful flowers! I must study them, and plan out my bouquets. Would somebody kindly fetch me a chair?”
Jamie: eyes popping wide in astonishment, yet trying to be reasonable: “A chair, Amy?”
Me: smiling patiently: “I simply require a chair, so I can just drink in all this beauty for a few moments. Or an hour. Chop-chop. Where’s my chair?”
Jamie: looking strained “Amy. If you want to sit, there’s a coffee shop at the corner. No time for sitting here. No room, either.”
Me: confused, speaking slowly “Oh–kay–”
There was no time for quiet standing, nor drinking in of any beauty, though there was plenty of beauty that begged to be drunk in. Basked in. Immersed in. It was a good thing that I didn’t have my sketchbook along, because I would have really had to fight off the impulse to drop down and draw some of those flowers. Had I been given that chair. And then I really wouldn’t have been much help.
Jamie took a few minutes to give me instructions, show me the pricing sheet, point me toward the work area where there were bins and clippers ready for clipping off stems, cellophane sleeves and rubber bands and a calculator, and then she grinned hurriedly and wished me well. Then she hurried off, and I took a deep breath.
She had asked me to be sure to keep the display with ready-made bouquets full of bouquets, if at all possible. There was room, I think, for 7 or 8 bouquets in the stand, and Jamie and Samantha were already at work on bouquets to go into the stand. Child’s play, thought I. Just start choosing flowers and putting them together in pleasant arrangements, wrap them up in plastic and get them into that stand. Easy-peasy.Right?
Confession: I’m just such a miserable perfectionist sometimes. In some areas–such as doing housework or scrubbing the shower grout, no. No, no, no. But in creative areas–such as choosing new paint for the living room wall, or flower arranging, I could spend an hour (at least) on one simple decision. I don’t want to make a mistake. So–I choked. I just stood there for several moments, wide-eyed, my mouth hanging open, looking at the flowers.
I could have used a Saturday morning tutorial, you know, or at least a fat brochure about flower arranging, preferably the day before, so I could think it all through. What if I put together hideous bouquets that nobody would buy? What if the market customers en masse saw the bouquets that I made and hoisted me up on their shoulders and tossed me out of the market?
“Out, you Destroyer of Beauty! Begone!!” they might shriek at me.
But. Jamie trusted me, she had said so (with a wild, desperate hope in her eyes) and that was going to have to be good enough.
I did feel a bit overwhelmed at first. I’m not lyin’.
There were just so many beautiful choices! How could I decide? Finally, I just chose a color scheme that I wanted to go for–pink and white, mostly, with another color thrown in as a surprise accent. Lavender. That would be lovely. I hoped. I started working on a bouquet.
Even with the early-morning jitters, it didn’t take long before I happily lost myself in the beauty of the flowers, and just enjoyed the process of putting together colors, textures, and shapes to make lovely combinations. Of course I just about couldn’t go wrong, with the gorgeous flowers that I had to work with, and the huge variety that the Rohdas grow.
Really, I was so impressed. I love this whole process: you take an envelope of seeds, or several of them, add some dirt and some sunshine and some water, and then see this grow from them. It really does seem like a miracle to me. And the Rohdas help that miracle along so well. Their customers were so ecstatic to buy flowers from them.
From the start, since I wore a little apron like the others (the others, who actually did know what they were doing) I got mistaken for a Person Who Knew What She Was Doing, and customers would make eye contact with me and ask for help. I wanted to say “Ask her, or her, or her–” pointing toward Samantha, or Nancy, or Jamie– “because I don’t know what the heck I’m doing, and if you took just a moment to look at me, you’d know that.”
But. They were all busy, all the time, so I just took a deep breath and smiled and pretended to know what I was doing, too. It’s not so hard. I am comfortable with the stage, after all, having worked with theatre for so many years. 🙂
I tried to keep each customer I was helping, talking to me. “Is this what you were thinking? Do you like this? How does this look in here?” Usually they would just smile and say it was great. Like I said, it was hard to go wrong, with such gorgeous flowers to work with.
Everybody was very supportive and encouraging about my clumsy efforts.
I had to keep snapping myself out of a creative trance, to focus my attention on customers. It’s that old right brain vs. left brain, you know. My right brain always wants to take over. Pushy creative side, always fighting with the submissive concrete side.
I wish I would have kept track of how many bouquets I made. As with most things, a little experience really helped, and I felt like my bouquets got better as the morning wore on.
I like this sign that the Rohdas use, made with old picture frames.
We were so busy that the first time I glanced at my watch, it was already past 11:00 a.m. I had been making bouquets and selling flower for over three hours, and the time had just flown! Before long, it was after noon, most of the flower buckets were empty, the cash box looked to be quite full, and there were smiles all around. We took a minute for a quick group photo, before packing up and heading for home. For lunch, a big glass of water, and (hopefully) a nap.
I think we’d earned all of them.
I’m so grateful for Jamie and Norm and the great team at Harvest Home Farm, for inviting me to work with them with their beautiful flowers. You can follow their farming updates on their Facebook page, or check out their website right here to learn more about their farm. Prepare to be inspired, and impressed!
And I’m grateful to my daughter Amalia for taking all these gorgeous photos. I think she is showing promise. What do you think? 🙂
Thanks again for checking in, Gentle Reader. I appreciate you!
Checking in again with the nice folks over at the Barn Hop with the Prairie Homestead. C’mon over!
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- Day in the Life of a Farmer’s Market Person, part 1