photo by Jess Pinkham

photo by Jess Pinkham

Ten years ago, we met for coffee and a little shop talk in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans.  As two of the only people in town (and the country really) to claim “garden teacher” for an occupation, we unsurprisingly got along really really well. Like, really well.  

While our gardening/working styles differed quite a lot (Denise has a science background and knows the botanic names for nearly every plant; Megan has an MFA in poetry and tends to use the word “magic” when explaining how things work), we came to see our differences as strengths.  And spent many late hours on the porch, talking about plants and the insanely cute things kids say when interacting with them.

Both of us wanted to help our students learn about where their food comes from, but even more importantly, we wanted them to learn the JOY of being around plants - the surprise of finding a preying mantis tucked under the tarragon, the delight of watching the morning glory you’d grown from seed and watched for months trellis up a fence, finally open.

Our bouquets, made exclusively from elements of our gardens, became the direct communication of that joy. Evoking the essence of the gardens they came from, and our awe.

At some point, after much heart-wrenching, we made a bold leap and decided to try our hand at flower farming. We’d only ever known growing within the confines of our urban community, so we started there - cleaning up one blighted lot on Oretha Castle Haley Avenue in a series of work days with our friends.  We knew little about the cut flower industry then, beyond the “farmy” flowers we always grew with our kids - bachelors buttons, calendula, sweet peas, etc… And there were no resources/books for flower growers in our area. We pieced together information - cross-referencing different Louisiana growing books with cut-flower books, and doing loads of experiments (and still do).

Quickly, our designs started getting noticed.  Having spent so much of our lives dedicated to the beauty and bounty of the natural world, we were able to infuse our work with the gratitude and care we feel for our gardens.  And the boldness and irreverence of our home town, New Oleans, as well.

4 years, 5 gardens, 100’s of weddings, 3 employees later - we’re still discovering how our differences are still our strengths.  How we’re still rooted as ever in our New Orleans community. How the language of beauty is caring. How the gift of flowers is one of the primary joys of being human on this wild earth.