Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit SUOT Farm & Flowers located in Burlington, Washington, and spend some time with the Sarah and her delightful family. It was the morning after that incredible (and quite unusual!) thunder and lightening storm. The earth the still very damp with a slight chill in the air; you could sense fall just around the corner. And there was a calm stillness about the morning – the kind that follows the energy of a fantastic storm.
When I arrived Sarah was playing Guess Who with her son, Huck. I then took a turn. I hadn’t played Guess Who in over twenty years and I had forgotten how much I loved it! Huck, even though he is only four years old, won the first game and came really close to winning the second game. Sarah’s husband, Keith, was in the kitchen making an egg bake and they graciously invited me to join them for breakfast. It was a warm, warm welcome.
Sarah is a Washington flower farmer. She’s had her garden since 2012 and has been selling her flowers commercially for about 3 and a half years. SUOT stands for “small units of time” and Sarah explains the story behind that name on her website as coming from her grandfather who worked on big projects and life goals by breaking them down into smaller tasks, or smaller units of time. This concept of how working on something a little bit every day will result in a masterpiece had a great impact on Sarah. And I can say from being there first-hand that SUOT Farm & Flowers is nothing short of a masterpiece.
After breakfast Sarah gave me a tour of her garden. She primarily grows spring and fall crops when the Pacific Northwest rains are abundant. Sarah explained that she uses a technique of gardening called Hugelkultur, which essentially mimics what natures does in the forest community, where plants grow on top of decaying trees. By composting organic material in the same locations where you grow plants, the fertility in the soil builds, weeds are reduced, and soil retains its moisture. Perhaps this was the magic that caused Sarah’s gorgeous dahlias to re-grow on their own this season with the most fantastic blooms.
Sarah’s garden was absolutely wonderful to see in real life. She has beautiful foliages and flowers, and even fruit plants for cuttings. There were apple tress, blueberry bushes, raspberry bushes, currant plants, lavender bushes, drumstick allium, monkshood, hellebore, gladiolus, moneywort, yarrow, lady’s mantle, zinnias, garlic, and corylopsis to name a few. I snapped a few photos of some of these beautiful plants.
Sarah also hosts botanically themed hands-on workshops. She mentioned a former workshop where participants got to make lavender wands. Lavender wands were often used in the middle ages for fragrance. People could perfume themselves when regular bathing was not as common as it is today. Women would tuck these wands into their bosoms to smell nice. You can find out about Sarah’s upcoming workshops HERE.
Before I left SUOT Farm and headed back home, Sarah sent me off with some garlic, potatoes, and a big beautiful bouquet of her lovely garden flowers. It was one of the best departing gifts that I have ever received. The bouquet is still sitting in my studio, as lovely as can be, and a cheerful reminder of nature’s incredible warmth. I cannot wait to use SUOT flowers for future weddings and events, and share the magic that grows there.