Wednesday, December 10, 2014

more thoughts on the fall



Autumn is my favorite season. I guess I'm still talking about it.
I wait all year for it and when it gets here I try so hard to make it stay.
I watch it like a hawk

The flowers were the best right before the end; when the temperature dips the flowers get brighter, rusty some; hearty and boisterous.  At some point I gave up on the field and would go out there in the mornings just to watch the dogs hunt for field mice under the straw mulch. I left all sorts of tomato volunteer plants in the dahlia beds this year and I would walk around eating them; chewing around the rotten bits and the worm holes - looking at the half-spoiled garden. A beautiful riot. When things in October were so hectic in the Saipua realm this was a calm in the eye of the storm. Just watching the last ditch efforts of plants hang on before the end.


It felt like I grew dahlias just for myself this year, leaving most of them in the field instead of selling them. At times it felt indulgent, but I'm still figuring it all out - the growing part, of course - but also the being both florist and farmer. Saipua has developed a huge appetite for anything Worlds End grows, our two businesses now so inextricably linked.

Now that the farm is frozen I see how lucky we are at Saipua to have this resource. Making flowers in the city this week with only market flowers feels relatively cold and lifeless.

We have been making progress on the barn, which I hope to be finished before I die. It's been painfully slow and expensive. The floor is finished now, and has an incredible sound to it when you walk across it. We made a wedding in it at the end of October for a bride in Hudson, NY. Even without doors or lights or a dope sound system we managed to make it work.


Once the barn studio/greenhouse is finished, the next big renovation project at Worlds End will be to renovate the other half of the barn; another 2000 square feet of bunkhouses and living space where people can stay when they visit. You know, for my dance classes and astrological exploration weekends.

Integrating our city work with our upstate work is the key to better flowers and business but we need the infastructure to make it happen. Only so many people can sleep on air mattresses on the floor of our house. It's so exciting to me; I just have to be patient and keep my head down in the thick of the work we're doing to make it happen.



Something must be said of Genevieve Rainsburger who joined the Saipua coven a few months back. She was one of our summer interns and at first I didn't think about her too much; I've met hundreds of enthusiastic girls. She's basically my polar opposite; she's warm, full of positive energy, she likes people and talking to people. She uses the work 'magical' A LOT. She smiles A LOT and it's the most beautiful, genuine thing you'll ever see. And it makes me smile, which is not something I do. She literally shines from inside and I'm kind of grossing myself out as I type this but it's got to be said because it's so true. I hope to god you get the chance to meet this woman. I fall for her more everyday.



I haven't mentioned it here but we have a new dog - Zelda - calling her Ziggy. She's a border collie and will be our herding dog. She will hopefully help us move the sheep from field to field and also round them up when they decide to  go to town...literally. Zelda is a nut and after a long bit of not being sure about her (face it, she's not Nea) I can say now that I love her.



Autumn feels like a race, doesn't it? In the city and in nature. The scurrying, the preparations. We all have to get our nuts and store them. But the season also brings a certain weighted sadness with it. It's a particular aesthetic, timeless and placeless. It's time running out. There were not enough afternoons for walking with the dogs. (There won't ever be)

I revel in the melancholy of autumn. The romance of the end is so much more interesting than the flightyness of the beginning. Like when being broken hearted feels kind of good because you're feeling something so much instead of nothing at all. This time of year I just want to drive around listening to nick cave and smoke cigarettes in graveyards. What the hell? i say to myself. snap out of it. But you know I don't really want to.

Thinking of spring I think of innocent new yorkers walking by on an unseasonably warm 70 degree day in March and maybe you're carrying a huge bale of dogwood down the block and people stop with gigantic grins and pronouce "OMG cherry blossoms! IT's SPRING!!!" and you want to be like; "yo this is DOGWOOD and was actually cut in February and forced open in a humid rat infested basement on 28th street." But so it goes.



Time marches on. 34 falls. The meaning of life? Sheep help with those fucked up contemplations because when you hang out with them you realize they are just as alive as you are and all they care about is grass (and avoiding the ram we got to breed them).

I wanted to be an astronaut but I'm a florist. I'm mildly claustrophobic so I'm probably better off.



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

end of autumn


This is my haunted house, I live here with Eric and dogs and chickens and two feral cats and sheep.
I'll start from the beginning.

In the mornings now I wake up at 4:30am or 5am and slip to down to the kitchen, flip the coffee on. Thats when the thinking starts and the looking out the window. With ages to go before it's light enough to go outside. So I hit the computer. The fact that I have a computer here is strange to me. Nothing here is computed. Nothing here understands or speaks the language of computer. It's a one way relationship. All this goes uploaded into the ether and gets stamped WORLDS END


It feels sometimes like a lonely odd job, ferrying all the things - all the moments up to their after life in the cloud. Keeping up appearances in instagram.

No, now I'm in the city. I'll start from the beginning, feeding act which I take serious as a heart attack and what keeps me motivated to never stop working. Ever. I'm food motivated.


I eat alone a lot which I rather enjoy. Here are my major food groups:

nuts and nut butter

I eat so many nuts and nut butter. We make jokes about nuts that are appropriate for a 6th grade audience, I don't care. I rub coconut oil on my face everyday now, this is one of the self care acts I've installed to keep myself from the edge of self pity. (I nut myself) I carry a peanut butter sandwich in my bag about 30% of the time. If I'm on the traveling that increases to 100%. I paid $18.99 for a jar of nut butter recently on Martha's Vineyard.


Things at Saipua have been so good but so complicated lately. Asheley retired, moving on to her own projects and I miss her so much. But I like the drama of change, the energy of things shifting and we're working with great new people.

We did the biggest wedding we've ever done in September. I watched that come and go like a dream. As we started doing bigger and bigger events these past 2 years we noticed our payrolls were harder and harder make on time. Doesn't make a lot of sense. Relied on our credit cards too much. So in September we stopped and switched gears, released ourselves from the high end only market and started picking up smaller weddings and generally just saying yes to everything. Which is really fun when you have a positive attitude about it. I was tired of being a flower snob; it got boring. And I miss the smaller budget brides because it's how we started, ball jars in the back of my pick up truck. Friends are all like don't dilute your brand!
Which gives me pause, but then I'm like fuck it. What brand? Us? I want to farm and have money to feed my pack of dogs, give my girls raises and finish the barn so I can start my next big project: SARAHS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF ASTROLOGY AND HIP HOP DANCE


Through all this, Eric has held down the farm so artfully. I am back and forth like a nut (!) managing the flower fields (now finished) and helping with chores, trying to make plans, figure out how to move forward there. We lost a sheep, caught in the electric fence one night. Aster, our oldest ewe. I was in the city when it happened and Eric dealt with it alone. Relatively unfazed, I noticed him differently that week... if one becomes a farmer -- goes from playing at it to really being it then he crossed that line some time ago. He hauled her body out to the back 70 acres across the farm and left her for the coyotes. Days later I walked the dogs back there sort of timidly looking for her remains. I wanted her horns. The sheep was long gone. To greener pastures, obviously.

rt 145 house

On my drive between the farm and the city I get a lot of thinking done. I feel like I'm resting when I'm driving, listening to music. Stop at all my happy places for a coffee or to eat some kale out of an old yogurt container. This is an old abandoned house I pass on my way. Its a greek revival, similar to ours which was popular in the early 1800's before the war and the proliferation of victorian frills... before machines. Where we live in the mohawk valley - Central NY - you can throw a stone and find an abandoned greek revival. Built to look epic and substantial as new Americans forged their way, they are often very simple and modest on the inside. I think about the time when these houses were built. The bravery, the false bravado, the desperation. I laugh out loud. Because it's very Saipua.


Saturday, October 11, 2014






WORLDS END TREND REPORT: YELLOW, Nicotiana (varieties 'chocolate smoke' and n. Langsdorffii green'), Martagon Lilies, 'Seattle' dahlias, Champagne Currants, Honeysuckle (there's a variety -I forget now- that is immune to mildew that I love), Maremmas, striking layer hens, struggle, tantrums, grilling.

Again, I feel like there's so much more to say but for now I trust you'll take these pictures from August. It's 5:45 am I'm drinking coffee in bed camped out at an inn in Marthas Vinyard waiting for the sun to come up so I can go finish decorating the wedding for one of my dearest ex-interns. The color palette? Yellow! To hell with soft peach and blush!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! To hell with Dusty Miller!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Goodbye hot house grown 'Juliet' Roses ... FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lastly, consider marking your calendars for our first BULB SALE at the studio November 1st... We're trying to raise money to put in our Martagon Lily order, which - oops! is $10,000. My dealer was like 'yeah, you picked some fancy lilies' and I was like "yeah' and threw up the Worlds End gang sign.
Over the phone.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014


I feel like I owe you something.
These photos are from the farm in July.
I can't seem to write lately. When I sit down to write something I end up fucking around on spotify listening to music and making playlists instead.
If you want to explore my procrastination and hear various combinations of cocteau twins and emmylou harris you can go on there and search 'spotify:user:sarahryhanen' since I'm not linked through face book it can be tricky to find me.
When I emerge from this drought I'll have lots to say, Trust.

formosa lilies









Monday, July 14, 2014

hashtag flowers hashtag wedding hashtag brooklyn


melissa and casey2

We fired up the SAIPUA wedding machine in Brooklyn last week again and let me tell you how smooth that shit runs. Purrs like a big kitten...


I spend a lot of my time working on Worlds End stuff; when I come back to pull together the flowers for an event I'm always surprised by the professional tactics the girls have up their sleeves. Like pre-ironed linens or a 16 foot refridgerated truck. To buy flowers they have one of our crew pick me up and drive me to the market. There was a time I would bus-to-train it to market. Which was fun in it's own way - ever ridden the subway with armloads of flowers? Great way to meet people.

melissa and casey3
IMG_0982We never have to work late anymore. The arrangements are tucked in and the studio swept (!) by 6pm.

We're finally able to cut some serious flowers from the farm at Worlds End and I brought down foxgloves, clematis, currants, yarrow, ninebark and astilbe...I bought the most gorgeous sweet peas from Ariella's Zonnderfeld Farm.

melissa and casey4

I started writing this from the apartment. It's around the corner from the studio in Red Hook. It's dingy in that way that old city buildings are, the corners, the windowsills can never be clean. The dust builds up and solidifies and then you just paint over it. Every time I come back I pick up pieces of the ceiling that have fallen. It's filled with all of our old stuff. A random gaggle of house plants that we miraculously keep watered between visits. It is where our record collection lives. When I met Eric he was 25 and I was 19. I bragged to all my friends about how I was dating an older man. He had a room in a house that was filled with obscure magazines and jazz records. The posters on his wall were vintage and framed. I had never heard of Charles Mingus or Thelonious Monk.


After the wedding on Friday I came home and threw around half a dozen records trying to find the right one.
Ella; no
Bonnie Rait; no
Grace Jones; def no
Neil Diamond; no
Judee Sill; no

Albert King, I'm in a Phone Booth, Baby ...
I prepared a very large, considerably undercooked steak which I devoured leaning at the counter half dressed. It is hotter than hell in the apartment. I have an old shitty fan called The Hawaian Breeze; it was kicking in the corner blowing dust around. My feelings for red meat after weddings are vampiric.

Cocteau Twins; no.
Boards of Canada.

You know who knows a lot about music? Deanna/aka/SoundsDisatrous. She has a radio show on Tuesday nights from 9-10 pm you can live stream it and prank call her here:

She's gonna play some Vandross, you gonna take your pants off.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014


[The beautiful end to ranunculus trials at Peterkort Roses in Portland, Oregon.]

My least favorite season has descended like a hot damp cloud.
Here's a list of things I hate about summer:

1. people talking about pie
2. days over 85 degrees. no, 80 degrees
3. cookouts. (considering the state of affairs at the farm I am pretty much over cookouts forever)
4. the smell of axe body spray on the subway
5. people not working normal work day hours and not answering phones (europeans you are especially guilty of this)
6. rest areas on the thruway
7. trying to keep flowers from wilting
8. white wine
9. the hamptons
10. thinking about air conditioners and energy consumption

[Primrose in Ray Schreiner's garden]

Granted now that we have a farm and are trying to grow flowers, summer holds a few allures; I can throw myself into weeding and spraying fish fertilizer for hours in the field. This is as close as I come to meditation and it seems good for me.

Things I like about summer:

1. tomato sandwiches
2. weeding
3. when I go to the city it feels empty (and I don't have to wait in line at the mr. softie truck)

[Schrieners Iris farm in Oregon]

It's been a busy spring, and it's gone by too fast. Our baby girl Asheley got married. I met Asheley sometime around 2007 I think. She was our first intern. Years later she came back, all grown up. Within days of working as a freelancer I knew we needed her on staff. She's transformed the flower stuff at Saipua from my chaotic brainchild mess of a business to a well oiled machine. A machine that gets paid on time, and one with a much friendlier interface (Apparently I frighten clients by saying weird shit at inappropriate times, or hanging up on them).

Needless to say, employees become like family and so it was a special weekend for us at Saipua. Ben cut us some very special wisteria and azalea. Flowers are just on fire in May. Everyone should get married mid May.

ash and erik big arrangement

Between the four special weddings we made and the trips for Flower School to Portland and the UK not to mention the special wedding we did in Italy I'm feeling like a gutted fish but the kind that keeps flapping after it's been gutted. In other words, I'm not stopping. And I'm happier than I've been in a while which is really nice.

There's this meditation guru who says "If you are breathing, there's actually more right with you than wrong with you."


I am in the city now. It's 5:30 pm and I'm sitting in the back of the studio sweating. I started the day 12 hours ago at 5:30 am with the dogs the chickens the sheep the chaos of the flower field at the farm.

Its been so hot that it's best to work in the field very early and very late. The field is a wreck and I came in around 8 to express my concern to Eric that maybe we're making too many mistakes. Maybe we bit off too much. We're dumping our precious resources into a project that should have been planned better. Then I left. Just like that I threw a pair of panties and my camera in a bag and drove away. I have a meeting with a client tomorrow. Two worlds.

[Columbines at our farm]

This evening I had a phone meeting with the mother of a bride who was considering hiring us. It seemed harmless, but once on the phone she talked without letting me say a word for 25 minutes about how wrong our proposal process was, how we didn't do enough research on the venue, how our business doesn't make any sense.

She made me feel really insulted and just bad. I wanted to hang up 5 minutes in, but then I thought that everyone deserves to be heard. When she finally relented I didn't know what the hell to say. When I started to tell her about how important flowers are to us and how we're trying to grow them to make our flowers even better I started crying. Which is oddly out of character for me at work. She told me that as a female business owner I should learn to separate my emotions from my business.
I told her keeping my emotions involved made me better at business.
Then I hung up on her.

I think about the sheep in the field far away right now. There's no question what they are thinking about. Grass. And eating more of it.

Things are shifting and it feels good. Hard but good.