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I’ve been very remiss in updating our online wedding portfolios as of late.  In an effort to get photos from our beautiful 2017 weddings, featuring perhaps the best crop of delightful couples yet, up on the interwebs, here are more than a few favorite images from last season.  So grateful for the talented photographer friends who shared their images so generously!  Can’t wait to get cranking with 2018!  “Pin” away, Lovlies!!

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I know there are many workshops, master classes, online courses, conferences, and private mentoring options out there for floral professionals and flower lovers of all levels.  I am always so grateful when students choose to invest their time and funds with a class at Love ‘n Fresh Flowers!  Weather it’s an afternoon of easy floral design through our Floral FUNdamentals series or two long days of intensive, heart- and brain-wrenching learning through one of our Master Class, I know we are doing something right from the smiles and hugs when everyone is headed back to their own homes, inspired and nourished.  And when students send the most sincere and thoughtful thank you notes and reviews afterwards, I always get teary eyed.  Here are just a few that have arrived lately:

“Dear Jennie,  I just wanted to write you a quick note to say thank you for providing such an amazing workshop.  At first I was hesitant because of spring expenses/budgeting but then I realized that out of all expenses, this specific workshop (The Business of Local Flowers Short Course) should take priority.  It was so great and I applaud you for giving us honest, genuine, and thoughtful content.  Truly I look to you as an inspiration business woman and am just really grateful.  I can’t thank you enough for sharing your wisdom and answering my endless questions — which were only because you have been the only person who can actually answer them!  Warmly, JennyRae”
@FlowerWellNY

“Jennie, what a day! I’m super grateful for your willingness to engage so deliberately with all of us. Your empathy and rawness make for a powerful teaching potion. There were no distracting frills – in a great way! – just concrete, abundant conversations about your experience. And so full-disclosure! I can’t thank you enough for sharing all that you’ve learned along your flower journey. I left feeling inspired, equipped and as though I had gained meaningful altitude on my farming business as a whole. Thank you so much! ~ Alison”
@FlowersmithFarm

“I took Jennie’s Wedding Master Class back in 2015. I was two seasons into my business and I was eager to learn more. Taking the class was the best possible decision I could have made. It completely changed the way I ran my wedding business and it made my job a lot easier and more organized. When you take a class with Jennie, no question goes unanswered. She’s an open book and has the kindest heart. The master classes are kept to small groups and every voice is heard and answered. This year I went back to take her Business Short Course. The course really got down to the nitty gritty about running a profitable flower farm. Business basics are never the fun side to flower farming, but it’s the most important. Investing in classes like Jennie’s are something I never regret. I always leave with a notebook full of valuable information and a head full of new ideas and determination.  ~Jamie”
@Jayflora_Designs

“Thank you so much for your hospitality and for another great class. I am so glad I was able to attend and get another boost of knowledge and insight from Jennie and the awesome classmates. What I love about Jennie’s classes is the unique dynamic and openness she creates as she imparts her wisdom. She challenges each of us to think about our situations and businesses intentionally and I always go away with many reflective questions to ponder and answer for myself. ~Susan”
@ArcolaTrailFlowers

“The Business Short Course was truly a course about the business side of flower farming.  Jennie offered insight on such a broad range of sales outlets based on her own experiences, both good and bad, and how to determine which would most benefit your business. She also provided guidance on technical aspects like pricing and bookkeeping. The relaxed atmosphere made for open discussion among everyone there. I have a lot of questions going into my first season growing, and am working on such a small scale that it’s hard to relate to true flower farms. This course has helped me to focus on goals that are compatible with my size. I’m still more than a little nervous about this season (I mean, what if nothing grows??), but I feel more confident now that I am starting it with a better defined plan and these systems in place. ~Ali”
@TwoBuddingFlorists

~

I’ve been asked several times about creating online workshops because they can initially appear more affordable and more flexible.  There are no travel costs and you can squeeze the course into your other daily obligations.  However, my answer will always be the same: No.  And I believe the above student quotes are a testimony as to why.

The online course format is not the right fit for me as a teacher. I don’t teach to make a quick profit off my years of experience.  I teach because I really like making a direct personal connection with each student.  When we are in person in a small group setting, together we problem-solve on specific questions each student has.  Eye contact and touching the same tool or looking over the hand-outs together make for a tactile and focused learning experience.  This connection is what fuels me as a teacher.  An online class format is too impersonal for my teaching style.

I realize students who come to my classes have a major additional expense in traveling to get here, but I feel pretty confident that is a worthy investment as I watch nearly every student go on to grow their own business so beautifully from there, using many solutions and mantras specific to them/their farm that we developed together in the class.   I am also convinced that tackling a workshop in-person as one dedicated, un-distracted chunk — instead of in ten minute spurts between transplanting zinnias and making dinner — is far more effective and a better “bang for your buck”.   Leaving the farm or shop to learn is such a valuable experience and the way to get fresh perspective!

Also, I believe the online format can never be truly personal and effective for all students.  The course has to be filmed before the teacher even knows who is going to sign up so it’s nearly impossible to know what the actual “audience” will be.  Even with “live” feedback sessions built in, there are thousands of students all over the world begging for attention, and it’s impossible to meet everyone’s needs.  Or at least that was my experience as a student of a few online courses who wished my questions had been one of the handful chosen to be answered.

In contrast, when we host a professional Master Class here at Love ‘n Fresh, as soon as student registrations start coming in,  we gather their bios and ask them what specific questions they are looking to have addressed.  I spend a lot of time reading those bios and questions and try to tailor the course to each intimate group of ten students.  During the class, we have each other’s full attention and we don’t finish until every question has been answered.

Every student and every teach have their own style in the educational process.  All are valid!!  This just happens to be mine.  When you pick a class, course, workshop or conference, do more than just look at the price tag.  Consider your learning style and what’s comfortable for you.  In the end, whatever money you invest in your education should be well spent.

Want to join me for a class this spring?  The full schedule for Master Classes is here.  The full schedule for Floral FUNdamentals is here.  Registration for both is available in our Online Shop.

XO,

The post What Students Are Saying… appeared first on Love 'n Fresh Flowers.

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Today is a monumental day in the history of Love ‘n Fresh Flowers.  I bought land!!   The ink has just dried on the deed!

And it’s not just any land.  Nope.  Its four beautiful fertile acres adjacent to the current farm!  Right in the heart of the city!  I never thought I would own land in Philadelphia, let alone the stunning stretch of wild meadow and rambling woods that has hugged the perimeter of my little farm since its start.   The dots that were connected to make this happen are truly remarkable.

I’m beyond ecstatic and brimming with ideas for transforming this wild space into a productive, yet low-intensity, farm that dovetails into the delicate and diverse ecosystem already happily calling it home.  I want this to be a deeply sustainable operation; perhaps even a new approach to flower farming.  It’s going to be an adventure that will no doubt evolve Love ‘n Fresh Flowers over the coming years.

I wanted to share this news with all of you right away because I want to say “thank you” for all the support you’ve given this farm/business of mine through the past seasons that has all lead to this incredible milestone!   There aren’t words powerful enough to describe the gratitude I feel right now.

xo
Jennie

The post Monumental Milestone for the Farm appeared first on Love 'n Fresh Flowers.

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I love teaching.  I put myself “all in” every time. I get highly invested in understanding each student’s inborn strengths so together we can build on those. If invited, I also get equally invested in tackling some of their weaknesses. In most classes, I spend a lot of time talking about my own experiences and weaknesses too — if someone cares to ask.  I bare all.  I usually get goofy.  I can be pretty blunt, especially when it comes to talking about challenges facing our flower tribe in the future.  Together we all find quiet strength and ample relaxation in a shared creative process as we experience the beauty Mother Nature has to dish out.

For me, teaching is a really deep dive into first finding and then giving what each student needs from their time with me. At Master Classes, it’s usually fairly easy to find out what brought each student there. We pretty quickly get to be a tribe of soul sisters in those classes. But even with the Floral FUNdamentals  workshops, most students are there for a reason deeper than just “playing with flowers.” They are seeking an outlet, a connection, a memory, or an escape from the steady, same-old-same-old pace of their lives.

What I love most about teaching is something you might not expect.  Teaching leaves me raw and wide open; fully drained.  After most classes, I feel a certain kinship with a quiet puddle of rain water after the storm. I guess that might sound like a negative outcome to teaching, but in truth that is what leads to growth within myself and my business. I’m one of those people who is strongly introverted, but not in the least bit shy. So teaching is easy but very tiring. After a workshop or class, my busy mind is finally quiet. Surfacing in that stillness are only the most important thoughts.  Mental chatter faded, I can see my own steps forward more clearly.

So all of this is to say that I can’t wait to start teaching again in the 2018 season!! And I really hope you’ll join me! The schedule for our Floral FUNdamentals Workshops is posted now. Registration for these fun and easy floral design practicums on our farm open 30 days before each class date. But you can mark your calendars now! And ask for a gift certificate for the holidays that you can apply towards registration later. {From now until December 18th, any $50 gift certificate purchased will be valued at $60 when redeemed!}

The schedule for our “From Seed to Centerpiece” Master Classes is also posted. I’m revamping these intensive professional courses a bit in 2018 to make them even better and more powerful for students. The descriptions for these courses will evolve a bit once I’ve got it all fleshed out. But for the time being, you can see the dates we’ve reserved for hosting them at our beautiful farm in Philadelphia so you can plan accordingly. Registration for those will open up January 2nd. {Again, you can apply gift certificates to registration for these so take advantage of that special mentioned above!}

And I’ll be traveling to teach some in 2018. I love taking the show on the road so if you’re in a more distant locale from our farm, say British Columbia or Ireland, and know you can get a collective of floral professionals together in your community to host, I’m happy to come to you!

As I look out over my fields with a gentle snow falling, I’m so grateful for how much inspiration and excitement I get out of planning thoughtful curriculum and putting together class workbooks.  This is a great way to stay busy in the winter!

(All photos in this post were taken by the lovely Jessica/The Smiths Do Love during the fantastic Foraged Collective hosted by Roadside Blooms in Charleston this past summer.)

The post 2018 Workshop/Class Schedule Is Up! appeared first on Love 'n Fresh Flowers.

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It’s always amusing to watch what unexpected hue the Color Experts at Pantone will reveal each year to be the leading color for the following fashion season.  It feels a little bit like a cat playing with a mouse sometimes, but it keeps life interesting!  Though why should you even care what Pantone thinks if you’re a flower farmer?

The color they select always has a trickle-down effect on the dress colors and decor choices of weddings the following season, sometimes longer.  And eventually the influence is felt in the flower breeding world too.  A few years back we had Marsala as the Color of the Year, a hue that left many flower growers scratching their heads to come up with anything that really matched.  Here we are a few seasons later and the seed breeders have graced us with beauties like Rudbekia ‘Sahara’, Lisianthus ‘Rosanne Deep Brown’, and Helianthus ‘Strawberry Blonde’.

Sadly color trends usually  move too quickly for flower breeders to keep up though.  Farmer-Florist such as myself need to work with what’s already available.  The 2018 Color of the Year is “Ultra Violet”, an intense, luminescent purple that takes me back to my childhood in the 80s.  At first glance, you would think it’s hard to match this with flowers, but as it turns out, there are already several great flowers out there to grow in this colorway.

So here’s my quick list of flowers to grow for the 2018 season that already fit into this brilliant purple trend.
Pro Tip: a lot of times flowers designated as “blue” in the seed catalogs actually look bright purple in bloom.

Anemones

I particularly like ‘Galilee Blue’, which really reads much more bright violet than blue in bouquets.

Sweet Peas

So many to choose from here, but consider trying ‘Royal Family Blue’

Lisanthus

One of the very first varieties of lisianthus I ever grew was ‘ABC 2-3 Blue’.  I loved that variety for how easy and productive it was, but I kicked it out of the rotation a few seasons back because I just couldn’t work it into our wedding designs that were all muted palettes.  Can’t wait to add it back in!

Monarda

Several bee balms are purple, but my favorite to grow and arrange with is ‘Lambada’.  Truly awesome in mixed market bouquets!

Bachelor Buttons

One of my favorite fun and funky flowers, I’m so excited to have a reason to use ‘Frosted Queen Mix’ more often!

Dahlias

Clearly there’s quite a selection here.  But my favorite bright(er) purple dahlia is ‘Jason Matthew’.  A wonderful subtle lavender complimentary dahlia is ‘Jasmine Pearl’, hands down my very favorite dahlia as a designer.

Ageratum

Highly under-appreciated, this little filler is going to enjoy a renewed interest with this bright purple trend.  Most of the cultivars read a bit blue, but it’s ‘Red Flint’ that I think will fit the bill perfectly.

Larkspur

If your ground is still workable here in December or if you’ve got a little tunnel space to spare, get some seed for ‘QIS Dark Blue’ and get sowing!

Lupine

This one doesn’t grow well for us here in Philadelphia, but it’s worth mentioning.  When picking a variety, look for ones that are “blue”.

Allium

Lots of purple in the Allium genus and ‘Purple Sensation’ has long been a staple for cutting.

Iris

Bearded iris have been all the rage the past few years in Old World painting inspired floral designs.  But I’m thinking there might be room to return to an old staple in the floral industry…the common Dutch iris.  ‘Purple Sensation’ and ‘Blue Star’ are two varieties that practically glow purple.

Callicarpa

Ah, Beauty Berry!  I finally have a reason to use you in abundance!  Lots of texture, color and movement in these delicate stems loaded with bright purple berries!

Zinnia

We like Benary’s Giant series at our farm and the ‘Purple’ in that series is nice and bright!

Salvia

Lots to choose from here again, but if you can get a hold of it, plant some Salvia leucantha (purple Mexican sage bush).  It won’t be ready to cut until the fall, but that’s the perfect time to blend this bright purple into all the other jewel tones of autumn.

~

There are several other varieties of purple flowers in more muted shades as well that mix beautifully with the brightly colored ones listed above.  We’ve also grow Dacus, Tulips, Ranunculus, Nigella, Hellebores, Baptisia, Delphinium, Colombines, Fritillaria…the list goes on and on.  Feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments.

Embrace the purple, Flower People!  And look forward to the return of some rich, deep color in floral design!

(Eventually.)

The post Purple Flowers for Pantone’s Color of the Year “Ultra Violet” appeared first on Love 'n Fresh Flowers.

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We have had the pleasure of frequently working with both Awbury Arboretum and Birchtree Catering over the years.  We were thrilled when they officially “tied the knot” this fall when Birchtree became the exclusive caterer at this charming, low-key venue in historic Germantown.   If you’re in the market for a wedding venue, we highly recommend looking at Awbury!!

A recent lovely evening soiree/showcase at Awbury celebrated the launch of this new collaboration.  Love ‘n Fresh Flowers decorate the tent with lush centerpieces full of autumn dahlias and other goodies all grown at our farm just a few miles away.  Talk about keeping a wedding local and sustainable! Looking forward to many weddings and other events with these two great vendors in 2018 and beyond!

Many thanks to BG Productions for snapping and sharing photos!!   I snuck a few hurried iPhone photos of my own into the mix but I’m sure you all will be able to tell which are which!

The post Awbury Arboretum + Birchtree Launch Party appeared first on Love 'n Fresh Flowers.

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We had such a wonderful experience working with Styled Bride, Alison Dunn Photography, and Long Beach Island Foundation of Arts & Sciences on this beautiful summer-meets-autumn wedding for Mollie and Andrew on September 2nd!   Believe it or not, it was our first beach wedding at Love ‘n Fresh Flowers!  Why did we wait so long to do beach weddings?! I guess I was always worried about all the traffic trying to deliver “down the shore”.  Silly me!  I could seriously get addicted to setting up our chuppah/arch in bare feet on the sand!!

The post Long Beach Island Wedding :: Mollie + Andrew appeared first on Love 'n Fresh Flowers.

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Our annual Summer Solstice Soiree is turning into quite the touted event each season.  We love having everyone at the farm for a beautiful evening of bluegrass, drinks, food, and fireflies.  And evening spent in the flower field in the long summer twilight is truly a treat!

Deeply grateful to our dear friend Maria Mack Photography for these lovely photos!  And a big shout-out to Maggpie Rentals for the beautifully unique furniture again this year; it really elevates the atmosphere of the farm!

And, of course, a sincere thank you to all the wonderful people that support this little farm and come to this party, including our CSA members and wedding couples!

The post Summer Solstice Soiree 2017 Photos appeared first on Love 'n Fresh Flowers.

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Love 'n Fresh Flowers by Jennie Love - 1y ago

Going into our eighth full season of flower farming has been an unexpected mix of wild successes and disheartening failures.  A tractor that stayed in the repair shop for three months too long.  A cooler that broke in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave in April (in APRIL!!!), zapping all our stored tulips.  A fox attack that took a very special and dear duck from our flock.  A new “maximum security” deer fence installed around a full acre of our farm… a very time-consuming task.  The weather over the course of the “winter” of 2016/2017 and the following “spring” months was a roller coaster of extremes…too hot too early, too cold too late, too wet too long.  Staple early spring crops like ranunculus, narciussus and hellebores were a near total loss.  We called in a lot of favors with our fellow farmer community to fill our gaps.  And we’re so grateful for that community!

But despite the challenges, the flowers — and more importantly the events they decorated — have been phenomenally beautiful!  It has been, by far, our most successful design/event season yet and we’re awfully proud of the beauty that has been crafted.  It’s just taken a little extra grit and determination on our part.  If anyone ever tells you flower farming is easy, you point them in my direction for a stern little chat!

The post Spring Scenes appeared first on Love 'n Fresh Flowers.

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We threw a party at the farm for the Summer Solstice.  It was kind of kick ass!  I think this is the start of an annual tradition!  Here’s some awesome photos taken by the talented Emily Wren.  Food by Birchtree Catering.  Amazing live bluegrass music by Noggin Hill.

Mark your calendar now for next year!

 

The post Summer Solstice Soiree appeared first on Love 'n Fresh Flowers.

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