PRACTICE: FALL FLOWER BOUQUET
PHOTOGRAPHy: JESS DRAWHORN
essay: kate weiner WITH LINDSAY LORD
From lush dahlias to bright orange marigolds to stalks of raven-red amaranth, autumn shows up for foxy flowers! This transitional season is truly ripe with bodacious blooms. It’s in that spirit that I’m excited to share a practice inspired by biodynamic flower farmer Lindsay Lord of Growing Ecoculture for creating a simple dried flower bouquet to help you honor the end-of-season bounty.
For those of you who follow Loam on Instagram, you might know Lindsay thanks to her gorgeous homegrown and heart-filled bouquets that have made their way into many of my photos. Her vibrant and vital bouquets interweave farm-fresh flowers, blades of grass, and tendrils of herbs to create rich studies in the seasons. In the face of a mainstream flower industry that is toxic to the people and the planet, Lindsay’s little business creating bountiful from-the-farm florals is proof that flower farming can enrich our souls and our soil.
Lindsay’s work as a biodynamic flower farmer stems from her experience taking an organic farming class. Watching students in her cohort create a nectary bed inspired Lindsay to reflect on how she could build her own thriving ecosystem through the holistic integration of flowers and food. It’s really for “the bees,” Lindsay says. “At first, [growing a garden] is functional but when everything starts to bloom?” Lindsay laughs. “I’m shocked by the beauty.”
And although an appreciation for beauty drives Lindsay’s work, she’s moved to grow flowers by a deeper desire to align with the cycles that shape our world. As Lindsay shares, biodynamic farming is “the epitome of growing food and flowers in sync with the natural cycles—it’s where terrestrial and celestial bodies meet.” By seeding, transplanting, and harvesting in relationship to that year’s biodynamic calendar, Lindsay is able to sow and to share her flowers at peak vitality. “It’s all how it should be,” Lindsay notes, “and it’s all [rooted in] indigenous wisdom.”
As Lindsay illuminates, growing flowers is a practice in patience, appreciation, gratitude, and energy. So much of her work in flower farming is learning how to be in conversation with the globe dahlias and borage blooms scattered across her little stretch of earth in semi-arid Colorado. “I always ask for permission before harvesting,” Lindsay says, “ and I always say thank you.”
This idea of asking for permission is so vital. It’s a reflection of Lindsay’s love of listening and a reminder to each one of us to never take without asking first. As you gather together your bouquet, I hope you will ask permission and give gratitude at each step along the way. It’s what transforms this creative exercise into a cathartic process.
There are several flowers—like starflower, globe thistle, yarrow, feverfew, statice, and eucalyptus— that are particularly suited for drying. To dry, harvest blooms on an arid day (wet stems can create mold) and hang with thread from the ceiling.
If you still have access to fresh flowers, I’ve offered insight into creating a seasonal bouquet as well. For those of us who are fortunate to live near to a farmers’ market, check out what blooms are bountiful in your neck of the woods. And if you don’t have easy access to organically grown flowers—true for so many of us—consider sustainably foraging for grasses and herbs to create a sweet bouquet. As Lindsay’s botanical body of work illuminates, there truly is so much beauty in what we have and where we are.
Gather together flowers for your bouquet. If you are foraging for grasses and greens from your neighborhood, make sure you know what you are taking and always ask permission from the plant and place before harvesting.
Create a beautiful arrangement to inspire joy! If you are working with fresh flowers, be sure to trim the stems at an angle to help your beauties retain water. If you are working with dried blooms, get creative with containers.
GIVE AWAY // give gratitude
When your fresh florals have run their course, give back the petals to the soil by creating a mandala. If you are working with a dried flower bouquet, enjoy that baby! It’ll last a lifetime. And no matter what, give thanks for the flowers.
IMAGE: JESS DRAWHORN
Floret Flowers in Washington’s Skagit Valley is a beautiful family-powered farm passionate about organic growing practices, sustainable land management, and dahlias. Check out their site for a treasure trove of free resources to help your deepen your connection to flowers.
PHOTO: JESS DRAWHORN
Passionate about digging deeper into the principles, perspectives, and practices of biodynamic farming? The Biodynamic Association will connect you to engaging and accessible educational tools for growing with nature.