Debra Prinzing

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Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill: Slow Flowers on the Road

September 27th, 2016

Some of our group gathered in the flower field at Spring Forth Farm to grab a photo before dusk.

Some of our group gathered in the flower field at Spring Forth Farm to grab a photo before dusk.

Spring Forth Farm, owned by Jonathan and Megan Leiss, is a modern homestead, a small-acre flower farm, and a beautiful North Carolina gathering place for kindred spirits in the Slow Flowers Community.

I arrived in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area after already traveling for 10 days (Iowa, Pennyslvania, New Jersey and New York). So while I was exhausted, it took no time to be energized by conversations with new friends who grow flowers and design with those flowers.

Jonathan and Megan Leiss took the lead in hosting a Slow Flowers Meet-Up/potluck on their farm on Sunday, September 19th and we had a fantastic turnout of folks attending from across North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee! As you will meet Spring Forth Farm and its owners in a future Slow Flowers Podcast episode, I’ll save their story and photos for that episode’s show notes. We didn’t capture too many after-dark photos during the Meet-Up, but here are a few, pulled from various guest’s social media feeds.

Laura Dison of Green Door Gourmet in Nashville, Tennessee, posted this great image of our Meet-Up after dark.

Laura Dison of Green Door Gourmet in Nashville, Tennessee, posted this great image of our Meet-Up after dark.

raleigh-meetup_3

Melissa Cipollone of Southern Drift Farm in Guyton, Georgia, added this Instagram post.

Hungry for community and connections, no one was disappointed. Dusk soon fell but the twinkling lights were just enough for us to gather underneath a quartet of pop-up market tents, lashed together to create one large pavilion for a circle of chairs.

Then . . . the rains came and we were treated to much-needed precipitation (from the farmers’ point of view) and quite a funny and wet experience that didn’t stop the conversation. But boy, was it hard to drive back to Durham in that weather (hat’s off to my wonderful hostess Katy Phillips, owner of Poesy Flower Farm, for her driving skills in the downstorm).

Thank you to everyone who attended the meet-up, for sharing your enthusiasm, your stories and your friendship. We witnessed important connections beginning . . . ones that will likely lead to a larger, super-regional Slow Flowers presence in other parts of the South.

SLOW FLOWERS CREATIVE WORKSHOP

On the following morning, the skies opened to blue and the sunshine came out — a perfect late summer day with temperatures in the mid-70s. The next part of my visit began with a Slow Flowers Creative Workshop planned by the core team behind our Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Meet-Up and hosted by Maggie Smith of Pine State Flowers. Maggie’s story will also be the subject of a future Slow Flowers Podcast, so stay tuned for that episode in the coming weeks. She owns a charming retail shop in a small building filled with character and history — can’t wait for you to learn more!

Stretching our floral vocabulary with a writing exercise!

Stretching our floral vocabulary with a writing exercise!

About 20 of us began the workshop with a mini-storytelling exercise to stimulate the way we describe flowers, foliage and botanicals — and to think about new ways of writing and blogging about what we create. Imagine taking a full-day workshop curriculum and boiling it down to 45 minutes! So I hope the participants were inspired enough to explore those ideas and exercises in the future.

 

Designers chose from an abundant, local, seasonal selection of beautiful flowers & foliages

Designers chose from an abundant, local, seasonal selection of beautiful flowers & foliages

The design portion took place in the driveway behind Pine State Flowers — under those same four pop-up tents that volunteers brought to the shop after the Meet-Up, starting all over again. Thank you to everyone who made this workshop successful!

We had the joy of designing with Spring Forth Farm’s awesome selection of foliages and flowers and more botanical goodies from Color Fields. Color Fields is owned by Kelly Morrison and Joe Palumbo. We were lucky to have Kelly participate — and bring her selection of dahlias, since apparently, this area’s summer has not been kind to our beloved favorite design ingredient.

With few rules other than “sharing” with your fellow designers, we spent a lovely afternoon composing, studying, editing, critiquing and generally blissing out on the experience. I believe I captured everyone’s designs and can’t wait to share them here. In the spirit of storytelling, I asked everyone to “name” or title her or his design. It was fun to play with words as much as with the flowers.

Amy Wurster of Knots 'n Such, Hillsborough, NC

Amy Wurster of Knots ‘n Such, Hillsborough, N.C.

Daughter Natalie Huntley and mom Tracy Huntley of Springwell Gardens in Cary, N.C.

Daughter Natalie Huntley and mom Tracy Huntley of Springwell Gardens in Cary, N.C.

Anissa Manzo of Urban Poppy in Savannah, GA and Carrie

Anissa Manzo of Urban Poppy in Savannah, GA and Carrie McCann of Fern Rock Farm in Hillsborough, N.D.

Jane Henderson of Commonwealth Farms in Concord, N.C. and Jim Martin of Compost in my Shoe, in Charleston, S.C.

Jane Henderson of Commonwealth Farms in Concord, N.C. and Jim Martin of Compost in my Shoe, in Charleston, S.C.

Jen Wood and Kara Brewer of The Barn of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Jen Wood and Kara Brewer of The Barn of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Jonathan and Megan Leiss of Spring Forth Farm in Hurdle Mills, N.C.

Jonathan and Megan Leiss of Spring Forth Farm in Hurdle Mills, N.C.

Kelly Morrison of Color Fields Farm in Hillsborough, N.C., and Katy Phillips of Poesy Flower Farm in Durham, N.C.

Kelly Morrison of Color Fields Farm in Hillsborough, N.C., and Katy Phillips of Poesy Flower Farm in Durham, N.C.

Kendra Schirmer of Laurel Creek Florals in Sunset, S.C. and Mandy Hornick of Blue Ridge Blooms in Leicester, N.C.

Kendra Schirmer of Laurel Creek Florals in Sunset, S.C. and Mandy Hornick of Blue Ridge Blooms in Leicester, N.C.

Lindley Gaston of Browns & Hounds in Pineland, S.C., and Lisa Pricher, of Charlotte, N.C.

Lindley Gaston of Browns & Hounds in Pineland, S.C., and Lisa Pricher, of Charlotte, N.C.

Melissa Cipollone of Southern Drift Farm in Guyton, GA and Melissa Smith of Fraylick Farm in Travelers Rest, S.C.

Melissa Cipollone of Southern Drift Farm in Guyton, GA and Melissa Smith of Fraylick Farm in Travelers Rest, S.C.

Rebecca Sorenson of Blawaesome in Chapel Hill, N.C. and Maggie Smith of Pine State Flowers in Durham, N.C.

Rebecca Sorenson of Blawaesome in Chapel Hill, N.C. and Maggie Smith of Pine State Flowers in Durham, N.C.

I loved designing with these seasonal North Carolina flowers!

I loved designing with these seasonal North Carolina flowers!

3 Responses to “Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill: Slow Flowers on the Road”

  1. Debra Prinzing » Post » Episode 267: Marybeth Wehrung of Stars of the Meadow Flower Farm and Hudson Valley’s emerging community of flower farmers Says:

    […] Last week you learned about my September visit to the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina area, where I spent three days visiting local flower farmers and florists, including teaching a Slow Flowers Creative Workshop. […]

  2. Debra Prinzing » Post » Episode 273: A Tale of Two Floristas in Raleigh, North Carolina: meet Stephanie Hall of Sassafras Fork Farm and Maggie Smith of Pine State Flowers Says:

    […] been an honor to share their stories with you. Now, I want to include two additional interviews I recorded on that trip. You’ll hear from a […]

  3. How to Throw a Farmer-Florist Party – SlowFlowers Journal Says:

    […] Smith and several others in the SC Upstate Flowers group a few months ago when they came to the Slow Flowers Meet-Up in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C. area.Their sense of collaboration and mutual respect for one another left me wanting to learn what’s […]

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