Drive-By Truckers, Hamilton, weddings and the Weimar Republic

It's been a lazy June at the Garden, though July-September are going to be absolute shitshows.  14 weddings in 12 weeks, and we have 3 "off" weekends, too.  On the off weekend in July, I'm going to Indy with my brother to see our beloved Drive-By Truckers, so that's way exciting!  AND Ma and I are going to HAMILTON on Saturday.  I'm not even allowing myself to think about it because I wouldn't get a THING done tomorrow, and I have to order flowers for 4 weddings.  Gulp.  Man, I'm telling you- growing a lot of our own product has REALLY cut down on our wholesale bill.  

But all of this activity/stress is nothing.  The great evil that is currently taking place down on the border with Mexico is just sickening.  Those poor babies/kiddos/teens, and their parents- gah.  The Orange Menace and cohorts are going to be reincarnated as dung beetles, and even that's too good for them.  Tapeworms?   Maybe.  They're evil, full stop.  Who could do that?  The whole thing smacks of the post-fall Weimar Republic, and I... would I leave? Or stay and fight for what is true and right and loving and kind?  I think the latter.  

Paige and Lane

This sweet August wedding hit all sorts of high points.  Paige and her mom Janet were very low-key, but knew what elements were the most important to them.  The name on everyone's lips was DAHLIAS, so I knew I had to call my girls Jennifer O'Neal at PepperHarrow Farm, and Jennifer Hobbs at Five Petal Farm (yes, there are a LOT of flower women named Jennifer).  PepperHarrow is located in Winterset, Five Petal in North Liberty and I'll take any excuse to drive over to get flowers.  These ladies grow the prettiest flowers in the Upper Midwest. 

Dahlias and assorted other fleurs in hand, we started creating lush, romantic and over-the-top arrangements and bouquets.  We even had a bike to decorate!  Mom, Karen and Annie did an amazing job on that project.  Poor Sara got roped into helping me with the huge installations, and I'm pretty sure the air over Barn On the Ridge is still blue from the obscenities emerging from my mouth.  (I love making installations, but sometimes they don't love me)

Paige and Lane had so many thoughtful touches, from using her grandmother's china, to their presents for each other.  They wanted to include Lane's daughters as much as they could, and the little girls were utterly delighted.  (I'd be utterly delighted too if I was that darling) 
According to Paige- "Our wedding was a representation of us becoming a family. We even placed rings on their fingers during the ceremony." 

Brandy Swartz just NAILED the photography- she's one of the best photographers working at the moment.  Paige says, "My other favorite moment was when we walked to the edge of the water to have a moment to pray together, the sun came out from behind the clouds, and stayed out the rest of the evening!"  Brandy's stunning photography shows how magical this day truly was for the happy couple, their friends and families.  



Even though winter is always long here in Iowa, I'm really struggling with just feeling heavy.  Of course, I found two lumps in my breast last month, and just had them yanked out last weekend.  SO that could account for the sadness.  (they're almost for sure benign)  

I've always had weird health stuff happen to me, but it seems to be ratcheting up over the past few years.  Due to my liver condition, I don't drink- though I miss it dearly sometimes, especially when our esteemed leader starts waving the nuclear button around.  I can't eat a lot of salt (WHICH IS WHAT REALLY MAKES ME MAD), or have any really great sushi because one bad piece could quite literally kill me.  

However, things could be worse.  My docs have always patched me up, and I have food, shelter and a warm place to rest, a job I love, and that feeds my soul.  And I am a Good Friend- lots of people don't have that comfort. 

Also, with evey subzero day, millions of those damn Japanese beetle larvae die, so my roses may bloom unbothered in the spring.  AND THAT'S SOMETHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR. 

PARIS! (not Texas)

I haven't purchased the tickets yet, but in January, I will be going to Paris for a long weekend. OH MY GOD I'M GOING TO PARIS FOR 3 DAYS (the vacation packages are insanely cheap right now because January- like I paid more for my plane ticket to + car rental in Charlotte). I have a shoestring budget, but am planning on eating nicely once, and buying a bottle of perfume. That's it. This is for inspiration only. 


I'm either staying in Monmarte or St. Germain (oh my LORD), and plan to hit Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, Musee d'Orsay, Musee d' Orangerie, the top of the Printemps store for the views, and Pierre Herme for the Ispahan macrons. (ISPAHAN MACRONS). Probably not the Louvre this time (THIS TIME) because it's so huge. My French is ok enough- I know how to ask where the toilet is, politely demand un cafe s'il vous plait and order in a restaurant. I am assuming my accent is completely appalling because my accent is completely appalling in IOWA.


Advice? Places to go? Ways to get real fluent, real fast?

Pre-holiday blahs

Here in Iowa, we're kind of in the teenager time of the year- not quite winter (adult), but definitely too cold for fall (pre-teen).  I *just* finished digging up the last of my dahlia tubers, and am thinking about getting a few more bulbs to plant.  All of my usual online sources are sold out, so I'll be finishing our tulips, daffys and hyacinths with stock from Lowes or Menards.  The glamour.  I do have some ranunculus and anemones from Floret(!), so I'd better get those in the ground ASAP..  

Apparently, my incessant bitching about the big garden has paid off- my dad is going to cover the whole thing with a load of compost, so that is amazing.  Having an uncle who is a complete hippie is paying dividends. Thank you Uncle Spoony.  The whoa! fertile soil means I'll be moving my dahlias back over to the big garden, so that's awesome.  

This is what I think about at 3AM.  Pictures from a styled shoot I worked on last month are coming soon.  <3  

Weddings 2017, part 2

In no particular order.

Pictures by Melissa Cervantes Photography, Brandy Swartz Photography, and Rebecca Bender Photography.  Best photographers in eastern Iowa/western Illinois (and that is an understatement).

We made it

Valentine's Day and Mother's Day are our two genuinely huge holidays.  Valentine's is basically the 13th and the 14th of February... but Mother's Day is over the whole WEEK preceding the holiday.  So, if we're politely surly the day after these, keep in mind that we have stared into the MOUTH OF HELL.  

That being said, we had a VERY, very good Valentine's Day.  It's just that we all want to DIE at the moment.  

Hello... hello... hello... is there anybody in there?

Well, first off, I don't particularly care for Pink Floyd, so there's that.  BAD experience with an old boyfriend that thought the Floyd was the Second Coming (the baby Jesus, not the criminally maligned second Stone Roses album), and I still get a bit twitchy at The Wall.  

Okay, that was random.  Welcome to Clara's Garden, the coolest little flower shop in Iowa.  My name is Jen Hinson, and my beloved mother, Meredith, owns the Garden.  She's the brains and I'm the hustle.  She's the money, and I'm the mouth.  She's the DJ, and I'm the rapper. We're both screaming pinko feminist liberals, so if you're a customer of the opposite political persuasion, I would tell you to approach these posts with caution.  Don't want to offend my fives of readers. 

Also, I sometimes refer to Ma as "Ethel."  Don't ask me.  I'm prone to nickname people. My dad is strictly "Johnno" or the "cranky old codger."  He's not really old. 

You may notice that concept of the rules of grammar is sporadic here.  One of my English teacher friends once told me that I have a "distinctive voice." That's my story, and sticking to it and all that. (I never bothered paying attention to the parts of speech bits in elementary school, because I couldn't be bothered)

That's about enough insufferable for today, so onto the link-o-rama.  

-If you are on Twitter, follow Jason Isbell and his wife Amanda Shires.  They are talented and hilarious. 

-Teen Vogue rocks our socks.  Go on ladies! 

-Our big cool friend, Linda Doan of Aunt Willie's Wildflowers, is such a purely kind and gentle lady, and was just a delight to get to know at her "Happily Ever After Workshop."  Honestly, I was more relaxed after the class than after a full workup at the spa.  Her Instagram is awesome.  
Till next time, y'all.  Play nice with others.