Yesterday afternoon, February 20th, 2016, I spent (just) another day in production with Ferncroft. We put together two weddings. My work...well...I'm pretty much the driver. But. I brought my camera.
myself do not have the seemingly essential Carhartt jacket, although I do have overalls. My dad gifted them to me for Christmas when I was 18 or 19. At the time, I had three jackets to match as these were most important to the identity the gift of overalls was part of producing. I probably had my first Carhartt jacket at 12 or 13 years old. Again, we’ll simply say that it was standard issue at the farm and in the nursery. It was always somewhat of a complicated negotiation at school until the West Coast rap and hip hop scene started to offer a way to articulate Carhartt into a fashionable identity.
I suggest that now I don’t have a Carhartt jacket, or that I haven’t considered buying one, because it would be to buy something new just to work in – where I’m seemingly operating under this ethical sensibility of my grandmother that one works or plays in their old clothes – or, the ones that weren’t owned for public show and performances such as school or church. However, as time goes along, this model is under challenge as there really is no separation of public and private anymore – there is only the work-day (many times I even sleep in my work clothes).
Just finishing fashion week, I’ll add a few bullet points:
1. Specifically for work in the summer time, I buy canvas shorts from Patagonia with a 6” inseam. There was an old rule of the green professions my dad advocated (enforced) – shorts must have a hem at the bottom (no cut-offs), four pockets, a button and zipper, and no elastic around the waist. Now, this is a tough specification to find in a Men’s short that doesn’t come down below the knee.
2. I buy plain white t-shirts – Hanes or Fruit-of-the-Loom – and wear these exclusively through the season. I like everything as plain and unmarked as possible. It will suffice for me for the dirt and wear on the shirt to be seen as the texture of my décor.
3. I always wear Red-Wing boots. I consider boots of paramount importance in landscape production. Although bulkier, four years ago I began wearing steel-toe and puncture resistant boots. It is a basic safety measure I now see as absolute.
What I have called "The Buffalo Winter Flower Project" is doing everything I hoped to this point - keeping the wintertime active and stimulating. Doing work and engaging in practice brings an endless expansion of qualities to living everyday life...and making one's future work, skills, and potential that much greater. Here is a look at some of the "considering" I have been engaged in with this project.
1. "Access." Before this project I had only bought cut flowers at the consumption end but never as part of the production process. I have been learning the WNY wholesale market and seeing a larger field of possibility in niche mail order as well as local specialized growers. Personal relationships (AKA Ferncroft) make this possible. One can't find this world on google.
2. "Looking." I see "florals" as microscopic renderings of isolated landscape ideas. I am more acutely attuned to the landscape around me this winter as I am trying to find "interest" out there in the dull winter garden. On the one hand, the ever present question running through my eyes is "what can I forage for this weeks project?" But, (Holy cow!!!), I assure you, as garden designs start being imagined in the next week or two for the springtime, the "winter interest" in my work will be nothing like it has been in the past.
3. "Place." Being based in foraging, the works created in the project become isolated representations of the landscape around me. A criticism that is brought to my third week's project is, "It looks awfully Christmassy." Fair. I recognize the connotation when one uses coniferous greens in floral work. Yet, to me, at the same time, it is January and what else is available? This just points out that anything "green" in January floral work is something that is going to be shipped in or greenhouse grown - which, I'm not suggesting is negative in anyway - only I'm in question of exactly what it means to be "seasonal." Is "seasonal" market based or is "seasonal" place based?
To get away from "Christmas greens" this week, I used Oak branches, Miscanthus plumes, the seedhead of a perennial I do not know the name of, and Privet Berries.
Landscape designer and Proprietor of Buffalo Horticulture