“That thing you do, after your day job, in your free time, too early in the morning, too late at night. That thing you read about, write about, think about, in fact fantasize about. That thing you do when you’re all alone and there’s no one to impress, nothing to prove, no money to be made, simply a passion to pursue. That’s it. That’s your thing. That’s your heart, your guide. That’s the thing you must, must do.” -Jess Allen
During the pandemic, I have begun to open my heart to new possibilities, new passions, and new perspectives on life and love. An area that has been circling my mind for awhile is the meaning of beauty. Often times, we think of beauty as youth, unmarked, without wrinkles or tears, that perfect age, the perfect night, or even the perfect lighting.
What I have come to realize is beauty surrounds us daily and the beauty we give from our heart is something far beyond the “perfect moment.”
I grew up playing with flowers. In my parents yard, we had a part of the yard that was coined “down below.” I am not sure why we called it that. It was honestly the side yard where the trash cans were placed. However, beyond the trash cans were amazing trees including an almond tree, apricot tree, and a plum tree. Out of my bedroom window, I could smell the blossoms in the spring time and hear the bees busy at work pollinating the blossoms for our summer harvest. It was a bit of a wild area, with flowers that bloomed in the most peculiar places, boysenberry vines that took hold along the fence, and the surprise of country roses that would burst through the green bushes.
The rest of the yard was perfectly manicured and had beautiful places to play and enjoy.
However, I was always called to that secret garden that was the “down below” yard. It felt magical and mysterious. This is where I played hide and seek as a child, this is where I would take my journal to write when I was a teenager, and this is the place I went as an adult to watch the most beautiful sunsets when my dad passed away. I felt connected to the earth, to the beauty that surrounds us daily, and to the simple pleasures of picking a freshly ripened apricot.
As an adult, I have tried to recreate that “down below” space in the Iler Orchard. The girls create their forts and hide outs in that space that is beginning to expand with fruit trees, berry vines, and a wild flower garden with herbs and California poppies. It is something that I didn’t even realize I was recreating for my own girls from my own childhood.
You might be wondering where this is going. . . this Perfectly imperfect space, this natural beauty, this connection with our natural environment. . . this simple beauty, we want to bring this to you. Meet Iler Meadows.
My mom and I were asked about a year and a half ago if we could do the floral design for a dear friend’s wedding. Mind you we never had done a wedding before. We had played with flowers for decades, and given hand picked bouquets to friends and families, but actually putting our secret talents at a big event we had never entertained the idea. The bride wanted something that was not cookie cutter or perfect. She wanted it to look natural and a bit of a moody look. Our friend said, “Ask Suzanne and Erin. They are so artsy, I am sure they can pull something off beyond your wildest dreams.” With a leap of faith and a Pinterest board to guide us along the way, we designed our first bridal floral bouquets and arrangements. We surprised ourselves on how we captured the “perfectly imperfect” look of flowers.
Fast forward to January of 2021. We both have had a calling in our heart for quite some time to bring hope, happiness, and healing to others. There is a lot of emotion around the gifting of flowers and plants. There is the excitement of a new relationship, an ending to a chapter in one’s life, a new start with work, an accomplishment achieved, a feeling of comfort when life might seem unsurmountable. Can you remember a time when you were gifted flowers or a special plant? Can you also name the emotion behind it?
The art of arranging flowers is not only beautiful to the eyes, it can be beautiful to the heart. With each arrangement we have made, we truly include a piece of our heart into the work. What I have noticed over the years is the most exquisite gardens and oases capture a feeling.
With Iler Meadows we really want to use natural herbs and native plants in all of our designs. As you walk through a Meadow, there is a mixture of natural vegetation and unexpected flowers that bloom in the most unusual places. Each herb we have chosen to use as part of our signature holds meaning.
Rosemary signifies love, loyalty and remembrance. It is a plant that is sturdy and can weather all types of situations.
The olive branch is a symbol of peace. It is a sturdy plant and it can survive during various weather conditions. The ability to sway in the wind but still stand upright is a plant that also brings inward strength.
Lavender. . . well, the calming effect of a bath infused with lavender, an aroma of lavender before bedtime, an eye pillow with a lavender sachet, this amazing herb brings serenity and calmness.
Mint- the medicinal uses behind this herb can help the digestive system but it can also bring clarity to the mind. Whenever I write, I diffuse peppermint in the air. It helps me to focus and stay on the task that is needed to complete. Mint can capture that precious moment and help you to be fully present.
Eucalyptus- this leaf has a purifying effect, dispersing negative energy. This plant reminds us to use our strength not as a force but a guiding light for others.
Each arrangement is named, and hand picked. You might be wondering where do we source our flowers and plants from? We work with amazing family owned businesses that help us cultivate our bouquets and designs. Read a future blog about Glendora Gardens and Growers Direct. Most of the herbs we use come from our personal gardens and orchards.
Iler Meadows is here to compliment Iler Woods. That forest you sometimes have to walk through for awhile, and then emerges an unexpected field. . . The rainbow that glistens after a rainstorm. . .the rock that is broken and a precious stone that sparkles from within, we want to celebrate those moments.
According to Alice Walker “Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.” We say thank you to our community as we embark on this new part of our journey. We can’t wait to spread love like wildflowers.