Worlds End Farm

When I think of shelter, in my head I see four walls and a roof. My heart, however, has other ideas. My heart sees a farm. A modest home, of course, but otherwise lots of space for trees, plants, and me. The sky will be huge, framed by distant landscapes and forest canopies, and the earth will be bountiful. The garden will be wild and voluptuous. Oh, what a shelter it will be!

This is my dream. Sometimes, when I’m feeling framed by concrete, steel and technology it feels fantastical. But it will happen one day. For now, this shelter exists only in my heart.

Sometimes, to achieve the shelter we crave, we have to take a leap. Follow an idea, surrender to our intuition, and take a risk in order to really live in honesty to our true selves.

A beautiful illustration of this is World’s End Farm. Frustrated by the lack of interesting flowers available at the New York flower markets after the 2008 global financial crisis, floral designer, stylist and writer Sarah Ryhanen bought the 107 acre property in upstate New York with a dream to grow her own flowers to supply her Brooklyn based floral studio, Saipua.

Not only will the farm supply unusually beautiful flowers, Sarah is also keen for the property to be a place of botanical study. On the Worlds End website she states:

I would like this farm to eventually serve as a center for the study of the botanic arts. A place people can visit to learn, study, work, and practice the art of floral arranging. The world needs more people to pay attention to nature; I like to imagine that somehow flowers could be a sort of mascot for that shift. Ambitious, I know. But flowers have a strange power over us.

Sarah writes extensively about her experiences at Worlds End Farm on her blog (well worth a read!). Brutally honest and with a keen eye for self examination, her words paints a very realistic picture of what to many would seem like a deliciously romantic venture. For example, here is one of her musings on gardening and flower arranging:

So far my forays into gardening have been haphazard, resulting in the wrong combinations of things – last fall I did as Piet Oudolf has been said to do; I mixed all my tulip bulbs together in a bucket and threw them out into the garden without any order. In the spring this resulted in a horrendous fruit-salad of a garden that I hated and now have to dig up.You would think that making gardens would be akin to making flower arrangements. Color, form, texture. Arrange, dig, repeat. Not so – and – not so fast.

I realize now that one of the things I love about arranging flowers is how instantly satisfying it is. You can see the results so quickly; a dutch masterpiece can form in front of you in just under an hour. Also with flowers you don’t have to plan as far in advance. The whole process is truncated by the fact that most of the work (the growing!) has been done already. It’s a real quick high, and I love it.

Sydney based floral stylist and photographer Jardine Hansen spent some time at Worlds End Farm last year. She says;

World’s End is a flower farm. Or a sheep farm. Or a haven for nature to unravel beautifully. The chicken coop door has a pretty vintage door knob. There’s no oven, they cook outside on a barbecue, even in winter. It is a place where strange and wonderful plants are nurtured, where friends and family gather. They have carved out a remarkable life, taking shelter in the land (tempered by the rigours of farm life). It feels like a place where anything is possible.

It certainly sounds like my kind of shelter. Think I will go and pack my bags. World’s End, here I come!