Field Trip: Floret Flower Farm in Washington State {Part 2}

In case you are wondering about the title, the phrase “Field Trip” reminds me of when we would get to travel by bus during grade school and learn abroad for a day. The trips were usually to museums or farms and I loved every minute. I find as an adult, I still do.


Part 1 of this journey to the Floret Flower Farm and workshop was through my own camera and perspective. Now I offer a real treat because this post (Part 2) is composed of the highlights of Chris Benzakein’s photos. I am grateful for the photos for many reasons. They are a beautifully documented reminder of our adventure as strangers in a beautiful land sharing meals, ideas, hugs, and help to one another, as well as way for us to get over the desire to post only photos of our flowers and arrangements as not the person behind the magic. It makes sense when I think of what I love to see on other artist’s journals and instagram accounts, which is photos of people in their environment; a human connection and not just the finished product.

If we thought photos of ourselves was the last test of our self image, we were all in for a bit of a surprise later that week when a film crew from a tiny company (just kidding) called Martha Stewart Omnimedia stopped by to film Erin for the American Made competition. For the record, it was a lot less intimidating than I thought. Though I had reservations when I saw the equipment in the back of their SUV, I was instead surrounded by a crew of three truly warm, friendly, and professional people who were as approachable as a friend. We were excited and inspired to find out that Erin had won the design category in a contest designed to highlight the best in creative businesses across our large and diverse country.

The workshop at Floret Flower Farm was divided into three parts over three days and photographed by Chris Benzakein the entire process. All of the photos below are by him with the exceptional treat of having my final arrangement photographed by Georgianna Lane which I will note in the caption.

Day one was a full of farm planning and extremely useful hands on work while learning how Floret does everything from soil preparation and seeds, to cutting, packaging, and selling their flowers wholesale.


2Day two was flower harvesting (so AMAZING) in the fields of dahlias, mums, greens, celosia, zinnias, and more. It absolutely shows in these moments just how happy we all were in the glorious sunshine doing what we love the most. These photos inspire me to move forward with all of the very un-pretty ground work required to make fields into flower filled heavenly rows.

3Erin and Sue Prutting from White Magnolia are knee deep in some jaw dropping dusty pink button dahlias.




4 Tania C. of Windrose Flowers in Illinois holding the most delicious bunch of Crichton Honey Dahlias. This face says it all, I love this photo so much.


5A gorgeous mix of button dahlias cut by the sweet, knowledgeable, and tenacious Amanda C. from Cook’s Market.


5bRachel from Alaska Stems is another pro in this lineup of cutting photos. She was cutting and banding bunches so fast!


5cSerene and heart filled Lindsey is holding the mystical Cafe Au Lait Dahlia here in the sunshine. Look for her upcoming flower farm of Grown/Gathered/Styled blooms in Tampa, FL!





6aKatie from Sacred Bough Farm is holding all kinds of fall mums, she and the mums are both strong and wonderful to be around.

7Of course after spending some time in the experimental dahlia patch I headed straight for the one I think is queen of them all, the Appleblossom!

Day three was design work with Erin in a lovely barn that is owned by a dream family who believes in creating a home-like and inviting place for artisans to gather and create. I want to meet them and kiss them on the forehead, then later in my own life I want to create a haven like that here for artists in Tennessee!8 Here Erin is showing us how she makes a fresh natural arrangement with her fresh (I am talking FRESH) product.

9Eileen T. mindfully and happily gathers stems for her arrangement in the sunlit barn. She is a born organizer and so sincerely caring.

10Kay Davies of Martin and the Magpie came all the way across America from the UK and is the most charming, witty, funny woman. I just love her honesty and spirit!

10bRachel from Alaska Stems is working on her masterpiece. Often this is how it’s done, lovely vase, amazing flowers and… an overturned bucket.

11Here is part of the’Martha Stewart three’ filming for American Made. The entire barn was overflowing with buckets of flowers, flower lovers, and even cameras filming flowers! (I sense a theme here).

13 Erin’s lovely arrangement in the most gorgeous fall shades photographed by Chris Benzakein. I think it is spellbinding in placement and color, plus the flower quality is so overwhelmingly good.

12Janet C. of Redwood Roots Farm is so full of fun and vitality with a never ending supply of optimism, you can see it here on her face! Thanks for holding the screen for our photo session with Georgianna Lane.

14 Georgianna Lane for KWMy final arrangement was is inspired by the color of strawberry patches from  white flower to ripe berry and photographed by the sweet, the patient, the talented, Georgianna Lane.  I loved all of the enormous greens and went wild with the size and abundance, yet Georgianna did not once pout for a more petite creation to photograph and instead took in every leaf with her lens. Meeting her was a gift. Thank you!

With all of the new information learned in October, I plan on enjoying this same level of superior quality and quantity in my farming, designing, teaching, and sharing with the floral community when our flowers and foliage take shape this season on our own soil.

15The class of Floret October 2014: A beautiful bunch of farmer/florist friends I hope to keep for a long time! There are so many more photographs of each of these amazing women and I can’t wait to share more of their stories on the blog this year, but in the meantime here is a gift, the link to each of their instagram or social media accounts is connected to their names below!

Back Left to Right: Kristin, Amanda, Allison, Sarah, Erin B. (a little hidden), LindseyJanet,  and Katie.

 Middle Row: Sue, Eileen, Rachel, Erica, and Tania.

Front: Vanessa, Kay, Me, and Toni.  Not in Photo: Margaux B.

I saved the best for last, this is such a great group of women. I miss them so much already and was humbled time and time again when every one of them, each in their own time and own way, helped me through the very spiritual journey of traveling to a new physical and emotional destination. You ladies made as much of an impact as the flowers and the lessons, and I am grateful for each one of you.