Wednesday, December 28, 2011

if it is the grail you seek...


It's Thursday December 29th. I'm back at my kitchen table after a trip to visit family. Type-typing, toodling and drinking coffee. Hoping this bit of a sore throat is temporary, as come nightfall I will be embarking on an epic journey to Europe with The Professor seeking renewal, perhaps a brief awakening, a shard of illumination...STIMULUS!

For it has been declared that thee shall not take the same picture of ranunculus in front of barn wood with moody lighting forever! Thou art must break free from the asthetic chains of the 50 mm macro lens! It is time to charter new territories, let the search for floral enlightenment begin! (I bought a 28mm/1.8, Merry Christmas to me!)

Being in the last days of 2011, I am compelled to write - a reflectory of sorts. But I can't focus on the past so well. I spent a little time scrolling through the thousands of images in my iphoto and none seem worthy of summation. What is this blog about? Flowers? Running a business? Starting a farm? That all seems uninteresting to me lately. It's a good thing I am getting away. Nothing like a change of scenery to open the mind.

Words. We write them with so much coding, don't we?
What do I want you to think about when I write you something?
How do I want this to be perceived?
How do I want to frame myself, my work, my business, my relationship?

More words. Words Words Words Words Words Words Words Words Words Words Words

I am buying flowers. I am arranging them. I am making coffee. I am fighting with my boyfriend. I am lamenting the loss of a friend. I am talking to my mother. I am driving. I am digging a flower bed. I am checking email on my phone. I am feeling guilty. I am thinking about the end of the world. I am considering what to make for dinner.


Here we are, there we go. Time goes by in a flash. Everyone experiences the illusory quickening of time as we get older. But what if time is actually warping as the universe expands? As space balloons outward, why wouldn't time, the fourth dimension, also quicken in order to keep up with it? I think about my little niece and whether time for her as a 1 year old feels the same as time for me as a 31 year old simply because we live in the same time-reality. If my theory is correct, it would explain why people didn't live as long hundreds of years ago; time must have seemed epic! You got to be around 48 and you'd be like "Enough already!"

So we know we have to work quickly! There is much to do, and time is - literally - running out!


-Forearm stand, without assistance
-Write a book
-Start a dance troupe. We will practice in my barn upstate, and stage one performance in 2012; a small collection of dances set to early Vangelis. (I was very affected by the recent film Pina, thank you mom for tracking down a copy for me - but also it's playing in nyc now at IFC) Also, Deanna and Asheley, you are in the troupe. Get some spandex.
-Learn how to operate a tractor
-Spend more time with my little niece, Inez
-Adopt more dogs, at least 2
-Get a jaguar, camaro or other hot ride, not the subaru forester that everyone is saying is so practical
-Teach a flower class in Tuscany
-Learn more about birds and bird watching
-Throw a big summer solstice party (possible when the dance is performed?)
-Cook a feast of the 7 fishes next Christmas eve
-Build a teepee


Thank you always for reading always, for your inspiring commentary, for understanding (and sometimes not understanding), for loving flowers, for your amusement at beauty and interest in what I have to say.

mia ama!

*Any good thoughts on Venice, send them my way. We're leaving our computers home, but I may bring it to you live via instagram. Otherwise I'll be back with armloads of inspirational tidbits around the 15th.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

deep thoughts.

tending shop at Saipua today, all my girls have flown the coop for the holiday. I get to listen to all the music I want to instead of the 24 hour robyn-a-thon that happens when they are around. i miss them though.

maybe it's the holiday season that makes me get all Hegelian, but do you think there is a difference between good and bad people? this is something i consider a lot. i wish I could see things in grey, but I tend to be a black and white type. all or nothing.

surely we've all encountered haters, takers, selfish folks...but do you think that there are people who lack the ability to express selfless compassion?
if you do, here's some words of wisdom for you:

Monday, December 19, 2011



Reminding you that we are open all week Monday-Friday from noon-6pm. Stocked with wreaths, candles, soaps, fun tape, and knick-knacks. I'm heading upstate with the Professor and Nea to do some sheet mulching for what will become our forest hellebore/fern garden.



Also - Thanks to all of you that came our wreath making 101 class was bananas! We had so much fun. It was especially nice to see the familiar faces of those of you who have taken our classes of everyones wreaths coming soon.

Friday, December 16, 2011

holiday stuff


coral holiday





thistle wreaths





I was in Fairway the other night... (and for those of you located outside NYC; Fairway is a small tri-state area franchise , and there happens to be one located not 5 blocks from me in Red Hook Brooklyn. This mirage of food - what with it's international delectables, cheap olive oil, plethora of nuts and other sundries - not to mention a cheese section worthy of my attention 5 days a week - comes with a price. That price is not being able to cross the street in my neighborhood on a sunday afternoon when I'm just trying to walk the dog and have to watch yuppie mobiles from park slope and beyond terror through our tiny hamlet on their way to enjoy the same god-given right (for now) of shopping for groceries but must they drive 50 miles an hour on Van Brunt Street and must they careen their shopping carts down the dairy asile as if no one else is browsing for keifer? Am I ranting again? Sooo SORRY!!!)...and a toddler in a shopping cart suddenly blurted out "Daddy that lady does NOT look happy." There I was, just trying to buy buckwheat. (I have crazy ideas about buckwheat, you don't even KNOW!) The girl's poor father was mortified but I was suddenly enlightened - what a better way to remember to hold steady, even in the supermarket and remember my recent mantra: After thirty - always be smiling. ALWAYS be smiling. When you're in your early 20's frowning can be cute (I would argue that's how I landed Eric) but now a days too many grumpy looks are governed by gravity. Plus, I'm a Finn - we frown professionally and sadly are not known for aging well. Except you dad!!

This was going to be a post about how you should come to our store to stock up on last minute gifts. But really what you should come out for is to witness Eric and I getting along again after a fairly epic argument that ended with Eric sleeping on the couch earlier this week. It's been a long stressful year. Being in business with your spouse is tricky. My mother got me a book years ago called "Entrepranurial Couples." It's laying around somewhere. She asks me where it is once in a while; and I remind her that the author was once in business with her partner and now they are divorced. You think they would keep that off the liner notes.

Just when my wedding season rolls to a close, his retail soap sales skyrocket. We're on different planes. The stress of the season ends up coming home with us. Resentment ensues. We do the very best we can but it's not always pretty. I'm crazy about Eric, but I'm also crazy about my work and the result of that is complicated.

Where am I going with this? My head has been in the clouds the last few days. I'm not editing. But I did just book a flight tonight. Separate vacations. Tonight we have to pull it together and go to another holiday party. Good nite.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

plant bulbs in fall for spring flowers, so I've been told.


With the Indian winter we've been having (don't get me started) I've been able to extend my bulb planting into December. Which seems banana's when I write that down - DECEMBER - but it's true none the less.


Let the record show that to date, 2,450 bulbs (and 10 peony tubers) have been planted at Worlds End. A lot of those are fritillaria which are tiny bulbs and sure help boost the numbers. Crocus bulbs also cheat like that. They're so tiny; you just toss them into a prepared bed. Shoveling the dirt onto them and singing "Good Nite Little Babies! Sleep tight!"

Figuring out where to put all these little suckers was quite a challenge. There's a lot of soggy ground, and bulbs in general don't tolerate wet feet. It seems there's also a lot of VOLES and MOLES around these parts and - please do yourself a favor and do not google-image moles; especially do not google-image "star nose mole..." DO NOT...

I digress. You know the difference between a mole and a vole? I do happen to know because I live in a place where this difference comes down to the safety of 2,450 bulbs planted snuggly in beds I dug with me own hands and amended with peat and covered with mulch and edged (sometimes) with stones. Voles eat bulbs, moles do not. There it is. Voles are the real enemy here, and as it turns out, they are the cute ones. But cute or not, they've already chewed up dozens of "ruby giant" crocus planted around a mountain ash, and so those burrowing nocturnal fuzzies are going down. I'm not getting a cat yet - but I'm real fucking close.

Digging these beds went in a few stages; once we figured out where to put them we had to start digging them. Which is easier said than done. In children's books I imagine it's like: Shovel! Dig! Plant! Water! Bloom!; one step leads to the next in a sort of picture-book ease. The progression of steps I experienced this fall was a bit different, and came complete with spousal arguments (One titled "Who's fucking garden is this anyway?" shines especially bright in my memory as does "If you really loved me you'd help me dig this.")

bulb planting

Then there were the rocks. So many rocks around here. Which explains all the rock walls in the forest. This is what people must have done with their children instead of television; Go build a rock wall. Why? Because I said so. If we ever have children I have to make sure that all of the rock walls are disassembled, the rocks scattered so I can make them do that work again. It's good honest work. [Speaking of children, here's a great idea for your kids next birthday party; An Archeological Dig Party! Get 10 of them together in birthday hats and give them all shovels. Have them start digging for treasure in your planned tulip bed, instructing them to remove the rocks to neat piles on the side. When they complain that after hours of digging all they have is a big rock pile, explain to them that Howard Carter dug for YEARS before finding Tutankhamun's tomb, and how serious are they about archeology anyway? If anyone starts crying, quickly serve ice cream.]

mixing bulbs

Then there was the triumphant trip down to the Agway to buy mulch - in bulk - a notion which, in the spectrum of gardeners excitement, lands pretty damn close to ... ok I have to keep this clean ...
"You got a truck?" the girl says to me when I request a cubic yard. Oh yeah I got a truck...

A truck with a cap on it. And so the gentleman who was supposed to use the back hoe to dump the mulch into the truck dumped it instead in the middle of the parking lot and brought me a shovel. Do you know what a cubic yard of mulch looks like? It's more than you think, trust me.

So it went. Mulching is the most fun part, I could spread mulch all day and be happy as a clam. We'll see what happens come April.

Friday, December 2, 2011

evening post.


We worked later than usual at the studio on tomorrow's weddings and then I went to the grocery.
Came home, showered, picked up my clothes off the floor, fixed dinner. Lamb chops, potatoes, garlic aioli. I really love condiments. Fixed peanut butter sandwiches for staff tomorrow. Look at email. Open wine. I am so exhausted that when I saw the wine was a screw off top instead of a cork screw I said a silent prayer of thanks for the bit of saved effort.

I've been trying to keep up with yoga, but had to skip a class this afternoon which makes me cross. Things get hectic exercise is the first thing that gets dumped. With the farm shit and flower shit I've been trying to be diligent about the stretching and massage so to keep my body working smoothly. Can't find a good masseuse. They all play it too nice.

What I really need this week is a sanitarium that specializes in revitalization and meditation and whatever else. Throw some broiled fish and jasmin rice up in there, some freakin green tea and shit. Have a specialist come in and take all the muscles out of my back and soak them in milk for a few hours. Un-kink them all, and then arrange them back in there. When I check out of the place, the valet brings around a sweet little powder blue 1981 jaguar XJ-S convertible.
Blinded by daylight I pull out my wrap around oakley blades.
"I'm sorry, but this is not my car."
"Yes Ms. Ryhanen, it is."

And then I realize it is. It is my car. How long have I been here?

*PS We've posted new flower school classes over at Little Flower School, and there's a free class give away - check it out before Monday when we call the winner. Professor Nickles and I have been zeroing in on teaching ideas lately. Next to be announced is a weekend warrior weddings 101 class (a two-day extravaganza geared towards people looking to expand and hone their wedding work) and a freaking nut-zo class at Garden Valley Rose Farm in California. So stay tuned for those...Hey - I hope you have a really lovely weekend.