Ladew Garden Festival
We have had a focus on building up the community of local craftsmen, artists and makers through our collaborations and events held in the barn. It was an incredible experience to be able to attend one of these community events held at the beautiful Ladew Gardens this past weekend, one that we won’t forget and will look forward to in the years to come. Some way or another, our family has been involved with Ladew Gardens for over 40 years; two generations of kids all grew up playing in their beautiful gardens, and have enjoyed their many illustrious events and parties put on for the country community. This year, for the 10th annual Garden Festival, Ladew invited us to be alongside 45 other vendors showing and selling their life’s work: colorful plants and flowers, specially crafted garden pots and furniture and other treasures found and created.
We love being around inspiring, creative people and the festival was perfect in that every corner held cloister to talented people and their collective wares. Like all things Ladew, its all about the grand entrance. The main aisle of the show opened with a long road lined with striped tents, brimming with vibrant plant life; cutting right through the tent lanes was the iconic fox hunt topiaries of Ladew. We had a great spot between both roads at the top of the hill, where we set up some of Peter's extra vegetable starts from and our Star Bright Farm products. The table was fully stoked with our whole line of creams, butters, mists and soap as well as our tomato, blueberry and doggy products. Helen’s photography set the backdrop for us, and our tables were filled with many of our new ventures and collaborations.
Our most popular items of the day were the garden aprons that we co-desIgned with a friend's local textile business. If you looked around closely, there were a few aprons already walking on the hips of friends that picked them up from our Barn Market the prior weekend; by the end of the day we had completely sold out of our waxed cotton apron and had to start a list for the next round of fabrication. Bunny Williams loved the aprons so much we had to sell her the last waxed cotton apron right off of Helen's waist!
Another favorite were the financiers, baked by our friend Lisa Doyle. We teased ourselves with by putting them right next to checkout. It was hard to work with a mound of snacks starting back at eye level. One woman bought one to try, and after her first bite asked to buy three more (less torture for us). Here's a photo of a friend’s daughter and her reaction after trying one.
Between wandering the festival and talking with the other vendors, we were able to take a break and walk through the gardens. The azaleas were in full bloom, bright and colorful and the koi fish were friendly enough to be pet. In a scene framed by the gentle sunlight and filled with a sea of green and unfolding color; It was a peaceful adventure away from the busy and packed festival. We did our best to encourage newcomers of Ladew to go and explore it themselves. Wcould all use a little more garden Zen in our daily routine.
We met hundreds of people this weekend, between Friday night’s pre-sale event and the main event on Saturday. Come the end of Saturday, we were pretty pooped; but , we were still riding the high through packing the truck in the rain and made it back to the farm for a delicious dinner with some other vendors staying as guests. Our physical takeaway of the weekend included a fountain for our garden that we’ve been looking for over the past 4 years. A perfect addition to the view, looking out from the barn. It feels silly to thank the weather, as it will be what it will, but, were quite lucky to have clear skies in May (excepting a light sprinkle towards the end of the day). What a lovely day to saddle the wagons, get off the compound, and jump into be part of something much bigger than our own farm. We are excited for where these new relationships will take us, and grateful for the opportunity to participate in a modern classic of Maryland heritage.