There's a snowflake icon on my weather app today
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It's hard to tell what's a consequence of age and what's a consequence of The Age, these days. Do you feel me?

For example, do I want to complain to you about the lonely life of a self-employed Summer Worker in extended Wintertime Pose, yet fear the disclosure because:
A: I have a deep fear of your judgement caused by the onset of middle age,
or B: I have a deep fear of your judgement because it's 2018, and judgement has become the air we breathe through these screens?

Writing to strangers used to be easier.

A lot of things (getting out of bed, putting on clothes, taking my dog to the woods, reading the news) used to be easier. I sound awful, don't I. 

 

Self-employment is beautiful, and its blessings abound, but like winter it leaves you alone a lot. I am a person who has always been intensely self-critical, which is a delicate way of saying that I often, somewhat unknowingly, hate myself, hate on myself, and cannot be satisfied when left alone with myself. 

Every winter I think: Here's an opportunity to heal this critical disjuncture. Here's space to get down to the project of Health. I buy watercolors and run baths sometimes; I clean and try to write. I make dates with friends and make lists I can check off. I think about meditating, how good it is when I do it, how much a part of my identity it is, even in its absence, how a perfect version of myself would sit right now - and then I go watch Bob's Burgers. 

Props to Bob's Burgers.

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The truth of the matter is that for me, the best of my happiness comes swiftly and vibrantly when my body is dissolved in necessary activity. When there is a weed to be pulled, when I'm covered with an envelope of sweat, gritted with soil, when there's a large leaf embedded in the flesh of my knee, a bee in my hair, when things are needing doing. I'm a conduit for Doing: the most fluid form of meditation I can imagine. In the months of that Doing I sleep properly; I don't worry about whether my friends or my dog really love me; I have muscles with a job to do; and moreover I feel flush and rich in a way I always should/always am. 

So I went to the woods today, with this dog who surely loves me, and the silent sky poured this belated, unwanted, beautiful, perfect snow down on us. There were ecto-green lichens and purple vines, a tremendous rush of water in the creek. Ducks and deer. Tiny buds on the honeysuckle. I sang Joanna Newsom songs really loud in my puffy coat; Djuna peed on everything. We were blessed with it, even if it wasn't what we wanted. 

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On the way home, I checked out the garden. It's a sad scene over there, at first glance, embarrassing and ugly. It's like my whole life of chastising litterbugs has come back to bite me in the face. The place is covered with refuse. A tiny plastic Christmas tree is tangled in the dead sage, next to a caramel apple lollipop wrapper. Coupons and soda cans and a trashed trash can itself. When I open the gate, I make sure no one sees me, so I can't be accosted for allowing this winter to degrade me/us so. 

But then I look closer, and see that the tulips are all rising up out of the soil, heaving it around and unfurling their strange little bodies. New leaves on the lady's mantle push aside the old rotten ones. Sedum lifts its pocky faces, smilingly. And all the tiny fronds of yarrow, orlaya, nigella, and poppies just beg for sun to reward their nascent efforting. 

So lemme do some nascent efforting, too, I guess. First I'm going to sit by this fireplace a little more, going to keep pouting because there's always something to pout about, and then, if I can just get 8 more degrees of warmth out of this goddamn barren sky, I'll go rake up that trash. 

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It's National CSA Day

. . . and also National Toast Day, a day I celebrate every single morning. Today's was particularly special: Chewy, rich whole wheat doused in my second-favorite butter, then secondarily, sedimentarily layered with unsweetened peach jam I made during summertime, eaten while seated in a chair newly placed in a previously-forgotten window nook, with the radiator as plate-and-mug-warmer, while reading Henry James and trying not to pick up my phone, which is full of alerts about indictments.

Didn't you want to know all that? If you did, I've written a small essay about toast you might also enjoy. Backchannel me to get at it. 

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But CSA DAY is a different, more social thing altogether. I did a pretty fair job of writing about it last year (click here for that) and had an incredible time making it happen, too: Last year's Flower Scout CSA was plentiful and lively, with 25 members and profusions of sunflowers, poppies, zinnias, basil, bachelors buttons, dill, salvias, sweet peas, forget-me-nots, yarrow, tansy, and eventually dahlias, to name just a few of the many and various plantlives, in no particular order. Every Thursday afternoon, members came through the studio, on foot, with pups, on bikes, in cars, with friends and/or babies, and collected their bouquets (and sometimes other treats). It was often the most social part of my week, and my favorite. 

Read on for more of my rambling, or click here if you'd just like to purchase a share. 
But be warned: CSA newsletters are full of this rambling.

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I've said it many times, and will say it again, I LOVE ARRANGING FLOWERS FOR NORMAL PEOPLE. By "normal," I mean: people with the time and attention to notice a vase of flowers, and each flower individually, as they live their everyday lives (AKA not people in the middle of their own weddings, who I also love but who have, appropriately, neither time nor attention for such things). CSA bouquets get placed on kitchen tables or bedside shelves; they get brought on lakeside vacations; people gaze at them while they eat toast. (At least that's what I like to do.)

When you purchase an FS CSA, you are doing the noble work of supporting the Flower Scout garden project, ensuring that regardless of heretofore unimagined climatic disturbances it will have the capital and energy required to produce blooms in an organic, hand-tilled, experimental, poetic way. I say experimental/poetic because, despite many years of farming and gardening, and three years in this particular soil, I still learn something new every single time I step foot in there.

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This year, I'm welcoming CSA members into the garden anytime, as a place of refuge n' chill. We'll have TWO GARDEN PARTIES, which is 100% more than previous years, so that members can familiarize themselves with the location of the garden and avail themselves of its relative peace anytime they like. (Feel free to pull some weeds or just walk around sniffing things, or to take a seat and do some meditating, or to find a spot of ground to stretch on ((There isn't too much open ground, but if you're little this could be great. It's also peaceful in a particular way, with lots of city noises always humming just beyond the fence.).) 

I always write too much when I do this. Here's the list of what you'll receive, in exchange for your incredible gift of trust and time:

  • Flowers for 14 weeks (June 21st FIRST DAY OF SUMMER HOORAY through September 20th)
  • Weekly pick-up/hangout time, on Thursdays, at the Flower Scout studio
  • A reminder email on Wednesdays, lest ye forget
  • 14 nifty newsletters, with garden updates, musings, ramblings, and a list of the flowers in your share
  • Invitation to TWO very special garden parties in the Flower Scout garden
  • Various semi-planned surprise goodies, which have previously included homemade elderflower spritzers, a playlist, hand-collected poppy seeds, and cider donuts!
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If you've gotten this far, THANK YOU. I plan to write a lot more in this space, effective now. And if you're interested in purchasing a share, click here. And if you think that people you know would be interested, please share this post! We're so lucky to live in an age of CSAs. I'm going to go sign up for my veggie one RIGHT NOW. 

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M O M S
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My good friend recently had a baby. She carried it around with her for nine+ months, eating special foods, doing special pregnant-people yogas, thinking special thoughts, then waited and waited expectantly/fearfully/impatiently, waited and waited while we all texted her saying, "now?! now?!" and she responded, "not yet." 

She labored for 40 hours in her beautiful house, nearly two rotations of the earth and through all parts of the day, in a tub of warm water and in special poses and while sleeping or trying to sleep, and now there is a baby here. Tiny being with funny faces, getting less fragile and terrifying all the time, displaying her stubborn beautiful interested nature a little more every day, total perfect jewel baby who cries like a screaming eagle and turns all splotchy and who none of us know anything about.

If you can believe it, once upon a time, that baby was you. And the person staring at you while you ate, the person working hardest to figure out why you were crying, the person whose entire life was rerouted and refocused and removed from her control - that was your mom. I would bet real money that no one in the world has spent more time thinking about you than your mom. 

Oh, and Sunday, May 14th is Mothers' Day. 

 

You can buy a Flower Scout hand-tied bouquet for your mom by clicking here, with options for delivery or pick-up. Each bouquet will also come with a card designed by my friend and beautiful mom-in-waiting Caroline Corrigan. You can see her work here and all over the place, really. 

It's important for me to say that your mom might not be your biological mom, and she might not be a she, and they might not be just one person, and you might even be your own mom. The amazing thing of it is, if you're alive to read this, some tremendous amount of living energies conspired to birth you and keep you here. I've been holding this little friend-baby lately, and let me tell you, it is not ready to be a person yet. It's a hot mess. It needs us. And someday, I hope it thanks us. Let's conspire to make a better world for it to thank us in, okay?

 

 

C S A 2 0 1 7

First of all, HAPPY VERNAL EQUINOX! (sent with balloons)

Secondly, it's baaack! After edition 2.0 last summer, the 2017 Flower Scout CSA is ready for sign-ups. You can read below for my whole long-winded thought process, or you can click here to just go ahead and lock in 14 weeks of blossoms. 

So C-S-A stands for Community Supported Agriculture, which is an acronym that gets tossed around a lot, but when it comes down to it the CSA really a radical and politically-innovative business model. Its structure is an objection to consumer capitalism, and emphasizes intention & investment before consumption. You don't even know exactly what you'll get, but you're saying, "Hey, I think flowers are important. I think this small woman-owned business is important. And I think supporting local business and agriculture and creativity is important." Right?! 

I've been thinking a lot about how this ever-growing flower business can better mirror my ethics, and recently stumbled on some incredible writing/thinking about what a Feminine Economy might look like. Come by the studio and check out my "100 Ways to Make More Money" poster - you'll see what I mean. (Caveat: I think men can and do exhibit the "feminine" traits this theory is talking about, and maybe it should be called "Abundance Economy" or the "Playful Economy" or something. Just click the link to understand what I'm saying.)

The CSA is one way toward that mirroring. It's me and my little plot of land, experimenting with growing in an unpredictable climate (the months-long drought last year reduced my harvest, for example), bringing in what comes out of the ground, foraging for things from the train tracks and the edges of baseball fields and cemeteries (real life examples), and also bringing in the harvest from other local growers and farms where necessary. This year I'll be supplementing my garden's blooms with herbs and flowers from Collard City Growers, an amazing project in North Central Troy that grows food for the neighborhood around the Sanctuary for Independent Media. I'll also source some special items from my friends at Cedar Farm Wholesale, a duo of sisters who've been farming together on their beautiful land in Ghent for a very long time. 

And I'll get to sell it to you, sweet people. The vast majority of the work I do is for weddings, which challenge my creativity and allow me to make a lot of art for epic one-day celebrations, but I relish and appreciate the act of making a bouquet for a normal human person. Just one person, or a family, who will put that bouquet on their kitchen table and look at it and talk about it and recognize more types of flowers in their neighborhood from now on. The CSA is about being connected, about educating, about slowing down and having a conversation instead of just a transaction. I hope you'll join me, if you can. Here's what you'll get:

  • Flowers for 14 weeks (June 22 through September 21)
  • Weekly pick-up hang-out, on Thursdays, at the Flower Scout studio
  • A reminder email on Wednesdays so you don't forget
  • 14 nifty newsletters, with garden updates, musings, and a list of the flowers in your share
  • Invitation to a very special garden party in the Flower Scout garden lot
  • Various semi-planned surprise goodies, which in 2016 included homemade elderflower spritzers, a playlist, hand-collected poppy seeds, and cider donuts

So click here to sign up, if you want to, and send any queries, ideas, inspirations and puppy vids to me at Colie@flower-scout.com. See you in June! xo

Flower Scout Comment
Valentine's Day 2017

It's coming. And as always, with me, you have multiple options.

But NO MATTER WHAT, this Valentine Day, 10% of all profits will be donated to Planned Parenthood. In these crazy times, as I'm sure you're aware, we better work damn hard to spread the love. 

Your local VDay options include:

1. Pre-order a bountiful, creative, hand-made arrangement by Saturday, February 11th. Choose pick-up or delivery. To order click here. You'll be sent an email with pick-up/delivery information.

2. On V-Day itself, stop by the Pop-Up Flower Shop at Superior Merchandise Company. We'll have a million flowers, and you can grab them in variously-sized doses: $10, $25, or $40 hand-tied arrangements to take home for yourself or your love(s). Bouquets will be available beginning at 11 am, and I'll be there myself from 5-9 pm. (Added bonus: Romantic Shakespeare readings will be happening on site from 7-9 pm as well.)

So, to review, choose #1 if you're a planner and choose #2 if you're not, or choose #1 if you're super busy and choose #2 if you just really love spontaneity/Shakespeare/coffee/beer.

OH, AND THERE'S MORE:

1. You can make your own bouquet, at my February 11th workshop at Forage & Sundry. These workshops are always super fun, and bring together creative and talented people for a few hours of mindful making. More info here.

2. Purchase a carefully curated gift box from the local Upstate Crate Co., and add on a Flower Scout bouquet. They've got gifts for everyone, and everything is local. 

3. If you work at Regeneron, there'll be bouquets available in your cafeteria on V-Day proper. What could be easier?

Love is love is love, as they say. I'm privileged to purvey it, in my own weirdo way. Write me with any questions, ideas, exclamations: Colie@flower-scout.com

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They're all good ones, as it turns out

Another wedding (we're in the thick of it now, folks), on a pretty day at Lucas Confectionery. Liz & Isaac had a small gathering with the gentlest June feels, post-farmers market, sweet smells on the breeze, peonies doing their big giant thing. These two are plant and summer-lovers, and wanted a relaxed wedding with local blooms. Ok, I thought, that's my bag. 

Here are the results, with photos again by the talented Andrew Franciosa, who I'm lucky to work with whenever I can. 

Hurray for sweet people.

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A Good One

In late May, the wedding of two Reilly/Rileys :: Gina + Kevin, most gorgeous Reilly/Rileys in the land. Seriously opulent, in the most delicate of ways. Simple blushes and whites bravely interfaced with the deepest maroons, moody wine tones, and wild eucalyptus. And at such a good time of year! Local ranunculus, anemone, poppies, foxgloves, narcissus, bridal veil spirea, and the last of the best of the tulips.

Just check these photos from Andrew Franciosa, master light-catcher extraordinaire.  

Congratulations, beauties! 

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Mother's Day is Sunday, May 8, and don't you forget it

* UPDATE: WE ARE SOLD OUT. LOOK FOR EVERYDAY BOUQUETS AT SUPERIOR MERCH, OR EMAIL COLIE@FLOWER-SCOUT.COM IF YOU NEED SOME FUTURE FLOWERS! HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY *

Things to note:

1. Grocery store flowers are a very sad gift. Don't get them unless you're totally out of time or strapped for cash (and even then, get something better!). 

2. Collar City Massage is directly next door to the Flower Scout studio, on 2nd Street in Troy. I can attest to its wonders and benefits. This is a good gift for a mom.

3. The one-month CSA option includes a bouquet per week for either July, August, or September. Details about the CSA can be found here

All of the above options can be picked up at the Flower Scout studio on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 8, between 10 am and 1 pm. If those times don’t work for you, give a shout! We’ll make it work. If you need delivery, also give a shout! We'll try to make it work.

Fill out the form below to order. You'll receive a follow-up email to confirm.

Celebrate mom-hood! 

Flower ScoutComment
Hectic Tallying of What's up

It's beginning, over here. It's a-beginning, as in HERE WE GO, and it's A Beginning, as in HERE WE GO, AGAIN. There's a frenzied feeling starting. The houseplants suffer in precise proportion to the comfort of life outdoors. The delphinium fluff out in the garden. A shed is halfway built. Some rain comes. Tulips are pulled from the ground, spreading unto your eyes this week (get 'em at Superior Merch while you can). Teeny tiny leaves on things, fruit blossoms raining from the sky. Creepy peony nubs like little red ground phalluses. People talking selfies in the petal-rich streets of this dirty little town. 

Weddings are off to a running start, and the arrangements I made for this weekend's Halfmoon Market were composed entirely of things grown right here - always a miracle after the long winter, that plants exist at all. The mice found my seedling area just as sunflowers, calendula, scabiosa (which I planted so late) and second sowings of some important things got tucked in their trays. I'm not talking about mice in a greenhouse, where you'd expect them. My seedling operation is in my DINING ROOM, and it's been there for months. But last week, all a-suddenly, our two resident mouse friends realized that SEEDS ARE DELICIOUS. They felt the itch of real spring and found release climbing the shelving, knocking swirly calendula seeds all over the damn place, unearthing precious future plants (future $, let's be real) and slowing my damn pace down. 

And what else? Everything. I rented a studio; it's a miracle of space. It's a luxury and a practicality and right now it's a damn mess. I'm out in the garden, again, picking up trash and wondering how to talk to the neighbor about her habit of sweeping dog shit off her balcony and into the borage. Watching grass and lambs' quarter take over the pile of nice garden soil left from last season, like a deep-pile shag. This is the time of year when people want to eat their baby weeds; they are so fresh and clean. But soon we'll be swimming in it, fruit rotting on the vine, sunburns glowing in the dark at the drive-in movies. I can't wait. 

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Hey: If you want to help in the Flower Scout garden this year, sign up for the mailing list. I'll send out some garden hang-out invites soon. I say "hang-out," but I mean "break your back a little + drink lemonade."  Sign up right down there. 

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C S A 2 0 1 6

When Flower Scout started, back in the winter/spring of 2013, it was with one thing in mind. I hadn't yet realized that weddings existed, and I hadn't sold arrangements to any restaurants, etc. I just wanted to run a small CSA. So I did - it was a bit sloppy and casual; people showed up at my workplace when they wanted their bouquet, and I hand-wrote the newsletter and copied it (at work, as well ((sorry)). I never quite knew what would make it into the arrangements, or how long a cut flower would last - but I pulled it off. 

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Most of you are probably familiar with the CSA format by now, or at least with one of its various permutations: You pay up front for an entire season of goods (produce, generally) and you wind up assuming some of the infinite variables that a farmer generally contends with. In a hot, dry year, you might get a glut of tomatoes, but very few greens. Or in a year with an early spring but a late frost, you'll net zero apples. You see what I mean. 

I am into it, for many reasons. CSAs hold claim over some of my fondest memories, to this day. They help people stay connected to land and to season, even if those people spend most of their time indoors. And they help farmers make it work - this front-loading of income at the beginning of the season helps fund improvements that increase yield during that same season. It's a beautiful thing.  

Alas, the last two summers at Flower Scout have been much too busy / the learning curve has been so steep / balancing job and life and FS has been too hard to pull off a regular weekly service. But this year, this year you can have a taste of my love for community support and for flowers, because this year I'm back to my roots: There will be a 2016 Flower Scout CSA. 

What's great about this format is that it allows me to make things of real, impermanent, perfect seasonal beauty for people who aren't getting married. It's no big deal, but it's a big deal. Everyone should have access to flowers, if they like them, and everyone's flowers should be grown without pesticides, in good working conditions, in support of all the good things we love and care about. Blah blah blah, but really.

DETAILS:

FULL SUMMER SHARE   :   $185 (that's less than $14 per bouquet)

  • 14 weeks (June 23 through September 22)
  • includes 14 large bouquets + goodies
  • pick-up is weekly, on Thursdays, at the FS studio in Troy (details about that soon)
  • each weekly share includes a nifty newsletter
  • your season's share comes with invite to a v. special garden party, details TBD  

 

ONE MONTH'S SHARE  :   $60

  • good for the calendar months of July, August, or September
  • one bouquet a week  + goodies / includes weekly newsletter
  • great for a gift or for the non-committal  

Here's to a plentiful season. 

 

 

 

Flower ScoutComment
Valentine's Day

Don't worry about it; it's really so simple. You've got infinite options, but here are two of them:

To sign up for one of our Buds & Brews workshops (wherein you'll make an arrangement for your love and drink a free beer or coffee), click here.

 

Also on the docket is an honest-to-goodness pretend flower shop, on Valentine's Day proper. Come by Superior Merchandise between 10 and 3 (while supplies last) to buy some stems and give some hugs and drink some coffee. See you there?

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Chasing Waterfalls (no one tells me what not to do)

Nicole & Brett were married in January, at the Lucas Confectionery in Troy, NY. Their wedding was simple and beautiful: whites and greens, with pops of deep plum and berry. We'd conceived of a winter wonderland, but the weather was a bit balmier than expected. Seems like we're entering the warmest epoch on record, really. 

This wedding's piece de resistance, something I'd never imagined, nonetheless imagined constructing, was a baby's breath waterfall.

I met Nicole, got excited about her great ideas, and proposed this thing without any real plans for how to make it. 

That's quite a grand title for an imaginary object, right? 

So I developed a technique: Each strand was hand-sewn onto a long silk ribbon; each cluster was hot-glue-gunned onto each strand; each hot-glue application was applied with precision by my own wee fingers. It became quite lulling, actually. I consumed entire pots of coffee and a whole season of a good/bad sitcom (who wants to guess which one?) and walked a dog and took naps, and continuously, for three days, came back to the waterfall work station. 

And it kind of worked out.

Troy is so lucky to have Nicole and Brett, who really care about supporting local businesses and had such an easy and careful attitude about their wedding. Congratulations, you two! 

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Photography: Tom Wall

Location: the Lucas Confectionery

 

Flower Scout Comment
sorry not sorry

[ a photo essay by Colie Collen ]

also entitled hashtag vacation

with spontaneous captions 

 

 the full spectrum of human emotion

the full spectrum of human emotion

 mystery gomphrena weed

mystery gomphrena weed

 Julia Child's very good rose

Julia Child's very good rose

 Noah Purifoy's amateur plein air bowling league

Noah Purifoy's amateur plein air bowling league

 People concerns, tree concerns

People concerns, tree concerns

 a wet year in the high lands

a wet year in the high lands

 dearly beloveds

dearly beloveds

 Robinson Jeffers, genius inhumanist, built his wife a dang tower

Robinson Jeffers, genius inhumanist, built his wife a dang tower

 home again / dbl rnbw

home again / dbl rnbw

 thank you, come again, spring's nearly here, seed order time

thank you, come again, spring's nearly here, seed order time

Flower ScoutComment
Winter is Coming

That phrase is just so wonderfully appropriate so often in this damn climate I live in (and love). And which climate you, too, must live in if you'd like to order a Flower Scout wreath.

If you'd like to order a Flower Scout wreath, it must be because it's precipitating outside right now, with the sky the color of Our Perpetual Dusk, a no-time time in between rain and snow and Thanksgiving and Solstice and wtf why. 

If you're there, in the zone with the desire for a wreath, it's probably because you have a door or a mantle or a wall or a loved one with a wall. That's all you need - the seasonal affective desire, a wall, and the motivation.

You might be spending more of your time inside, loving your space or realizing you need to give your space a little love.

So if these depressing characteristics do in fact characterize you, then let me know! Click here for a FS wreath order form, and take care - hot water, books, houseplants, a little red wine and soup with some friends, fleece-lined leggings... feel free to comment below with your winter-spirit hacks. We'll start a little wiki of anti-doom spells.

P.S. It's entirely plausible that you might want a wreath because you LOVE this time of year and you are so JOVIAL and decorating your beautiful home, and that is DOPE. I don't mean to dis-include you; I love you too.

Flower ScoutComment
Thanksgivingggggggguh

You have one and one-half weeks to prepare your body and mind and outfit and temperament to sit in a room with your family or your hottie's family or your friends and eat (which really takes but a fraction of the day) and sit and talk. It's a great holiday, I think. It might be my favorite. The kitchen gets warrrrm and the wine generally flows at a slow but steady pace and everyone falls asleep early, fuzzy-headed.

All of that is to say that you can order a Thanksgiving centerpiece via chez moi, simply by clicking here and filling out the form at the bottom of the page. It's a nice idea, I think. I might even do it for my own dear momma, though she's taken to making her own floral designs of late. (WHICH ARE REALLY GOOD, MOM. <3 )

xoC

Flower ScoutComment
Baidu:

: an invitation to all censors to come get drowned in flowers.

Yesterday the wedding-style-life blog Green Wedding Shoes shared with its readers a day of my summer, a day of make-believe and deepening storm clouds and friends with big ideas and lots of driving, and my poor little dog's first time chained to a tree. The soundtrack behind this really not-real wedding: whiny baby barks.

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It's exciting to get published in this way, a way I never thought of getting published back when I was submitting poems to literary journals or reading submissions to the National Poetry Series or logging my hours in InDesign, mapping out books. This kind of publishing is entirely novel (haHa) in my world, a whole different world than the one I might have imagined.

And this event-of-publication reinvigorated my interest in this website, for a minute -- would people journey here from there? what would they find when they arrived? from whence did they come?

So I looked at my metrics, a field I thank Squarespace for making clear to me, and I found that one intrepid journeyperson had found her way here from a Chinese website called Baidu.

"Baidu -- what is that?" I wondered in delight. Well, Wikipedia tells me that perhaps it's China's Google, or China's Wikipedia, or some amalgam of both and more. Except that only "registered users" can edit the information that's available there. Do you hear the tone in which I write registered users? If italics could be italicized, these would be.

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THIS IS TO SAY, I PASS CHINA'S TEST. If you're reading in China, ni hao! This makes me feel a multitude of feelings, among them a fear (recurring; a certainty) that I am no revolutionary. Don't recycling and gardening and the reading of semi-challenging novels constitute a challenge to the dark powers of international governance?

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. . . Are you still with me? Then let me finally share this: the story behind Baidu's name. Here's what Wikipedia says:

The name Baidu is a quote from the last line of Xin Qiji's classical poem "Green Jade Table in The Lantern Festival" which reads: "Having searched thousands of times in the crowd, suddenly turning back, She is there in the dimmest candlelight."
In ancient China, girls had to stay indoors, and the Lantern Festival was one of the few times that they could go outside. In the chaotic sea of lights, they would sneak away to meet their lovers and exchange promises to meet again next year.
A summary of the entire poem: Flowers bursting into bloom in the sky, stars falling like rain (fireworks/meteor shower), Whole streets filled with perfume, jeweled horses pulling ornate carriages, fish and dragon lanterns dancing throughout the entire night. A body decorated with golden thread and butterfly trinket, laughter that has a subtle fragrance. Having searched for this person until exhaustion, when suddenly turning back by chance, I find her standing lonely in the far end of the street in the waning light.

Baidu's literal meaning is "thousands of times." It's about searching, and it's about ornament, and it's about surveillance (isn't that interesting), and it's about practice. And there are flowers in it.

I want to thank anybody who came here from any direction, and thanks to friends who care enough to submit these projects for publication, and thanks to publications for spreading the word about our dreamy little projects, and thanks be to summer for having happened so elegantly and so full of a-flowering. And, finally, thank you to Baidu's namesake poem for a pretty sweet Halloween costume idea.

 

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CROWDSOURCING NEXT STEPS (an accidental timeline)

I've lived in the same small river-zone for almost eight years, and I really didn't intend to. The city I live in, Troy, has been mine for about four years, and the city I lived in, Albany, was mine for four years before that. This Flower Scout project has been alive for three years, and I've been alive for thirty-one. and a half. This apple was one season old when I bit it, but it was too tart for woman or dog, so I threw it into the woods.

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This summary is brought to you by the idea that within these landmark-phases there have been infinite intimate other-phases, ways of being and relationship waves, periods of activity and in-activity, downs and ups.

This summer has been one of the more up of my experience, and it's been magical and unhealthy. It's been magically unhealthy. Underneath the first smiling layer of my being is a quick, quick stress machine. Pop a quarter in and I'll bite your head right off. I called my mom the other day, after a sweet guy crashed gently into my little tank of a car in the downpouring rain, after I primal-scream-therapied in a parking lot from hunger and frustration, I called my wonderful mom and said "I definitely don't have enough flowers for this wedding," and she said, "you always say that."

I always say that, apparently.

THIS ISN'T WHAT THIS POST IS MEANT TO BE ABOUT. I got carried away. Ok, read on.

So, after finding myself in a place of busy life and quick temper, I've now drawn a fresh mark in the sands of the timeline. I've left my job - a damn fine job - because I need more time. This three-year-old business needs its seams let out, and I have no extra energy fabric. Lol, what a random metaphor.

I'm excited: Here stands a whole new expanse - the future - which will be different than the past.

(Let us remember: As that is true of this moment, so is it true of this one. And this one. And this.)

THIS IS ALSO NOT REALLY WHAT THIS POST IS MEANT TO BE ABOUT.

What I meant to do is ask you some questions regarding what you want.

Hey: What do you want? Fill out this survey for a chance to win (I really hate saying that but it works!) a free FS arrangement:

* This lil contest is over for now, but look for more to come in the future! *

If you did that, thank you. Thank you for reading all this nonsense and caring enough to contribute. Thank you for existing in the era of the online giveaways, with me. Thank you for the support that's gotten me to the ecstatic and perhaps delusional decision to work solely for Flower Scout. Are we crazy? 

{P.S. I meant to write about what it is to live in a changing city, but I'm finding it really hard. So prepare yourselves for that eventual word-dump, sometime in the wide open months to come.}

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Let's Review

People ask a lot about Flower Scout, and it's really super kind of them.

People are really super kind.

They ask at the check-out line, they ask at little parties, they ask over baby carrots or when we walk our dogs right into one another: When people know me, even just a little, they know about it.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm only made of Flower Scout. What did I talk about before her? It's like people who can only converse over their babies. Other, baby-less people love to complain about that behavior, but I bet you five whole dollars that when those complainers encounter the babied ones, the second question they ask is about that baby.

It's a way for people to connect with one another, and it's fine. Plus I like talking about Flower Scout. It's not me, not really, and it's not my boyfriend or my menstrual cycle or my job (it is my job, though) or my jealousies or my puppy or my obsession with this BBC miniseries or any of the other things I might be prompted to talk about, which are fine but somewhat less interesting.

And getting asked, on the regular, about FS helps me realize where there might be misconceptions. For example, the fact that I haven't written much since some severe whinging about bricks and slate in the soil perpetuates the idea that I'm having a pretty rough time over here.

So I thought I'd write to tell you that I'm having a really great time. Really. It's August, now, guys it's August, and flowers are just pouring from the earth, no matter how shitty a job I did putting them in there. I planted weak seedlings, held them too long in small containers and put them into stony, neglected soil. Groundhogs attacked them and it got really really hot, but it's August now and the ones that survived have perse-f*cking-vered. When I go to the garden (there are two gardens, so it's a little confusing) I'm astonished by what it has done with itself, essentially alone. I harvest buckets and buckets of flowers, until I get bored and sore-backed, and then I come back two days later and it's all ready to be hacked again.

And I only planted a third of the new space. And I bought in a load of soil that's only half spread. Grasses, clover, queen anne, lambs' quarter, vetch, chicory, and a mess of other unwanteds have spread their gangly arms all over the other 2/3rds, but it's okay. A sweet kid from across the street weed-whacked them all down for me. I never finished the gate, so the front is wide open. Sometimes I find Gatorade bottles or whole mulberry trees, in pieces. It's okay. The neighborhood kids come frolic with my dog in the grassy unplanted section. I stand and think about what I'll do with it next. My friend in the country grows a million beautiful flowers I buy from her organized hands, an example of how all kinds of communities require interdependence. The kindest humans dig perennials out of their rural and suburban yards, throw tarps on their backseats and bring me plant after plant, which sometimes make their way into the ground. Patience in all things, and a light touch.

Things are so good. Keep asking me, and I'll keep telling you.


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Packin up

I'm going on vacation today! Mid summer vacation what?! All the plants will dry up, the dahlias will pop and fade, groundhogs and sweet city kids will storm over the gardens like bored insatiable cutie-pie locusts and I'll return to rubble, but that's alright. Somewhere out there, there's the coast of Maine. Rocks and small aquatic organisms, rank smells and seaspray roses. The nose wants it, the eyes want it, the notebook wants it.

If you also want it, follow FS on instagram to see some probable vistas. And if you pass my garden, feel free to cut an amaranth or a rudbeckia, some centaurea, calendula, ageratum, dahlias, cosmos, larkspur... I mean, it's the height of the thing but I don't have a wedding for a week and a half so I'm OUT. 

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