Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill: Slow Flowers on the Road
September 27th, 2016
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.
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!
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.
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.