Earlier this year, I was afforded the opportunity to attend the alumni Ponderosa and Thyme retreat in Manzanita Oregon.  It was such an occasion for nurturing and centering my flower self, I couldn't pass it up.
film photo by anne blodgett of Pilar Zuniga and the alumni at the Alumni Ponderosa workshop
Photo of us at the Dining table by Anne Blodgett 
My friend Megan (from Isle de Flores in Nantucket) and I drove up to Manzanita together from my house in Oakland (I met her at last year's workshop in England and we hit it off immediately) She and I had a wonderful time together. We are flower souls, and maybe even just soul sisters.
Megan and I at a giant drive thru redwood as we headed up the coast.
the alumni crew after an installation at Manzanita BeachSome of us who attended the workshop Megan, Polina, Kristin, Sarah, Katie, Carrie, Mandy, Tara , (a small flower child) and Me (not pictured, Dallas, Maja, Mark and Anne)
floral installation by the alumni florist at the Ponderosa and Thyme workshopThe beach installation the group did, featuring local grown tulips from Witte Farm and our fabulous Model, Carrie McIntyre Jones.
The workshop/retreat itself was spectacular.  We all stayed in one house together, we cooked, we ate, we danced in the rain.  There were no expectations and yet, we managed to forge some very strong bonds and even heal our souls a bit.  We made beauty.  We cried.  We shared secrets.
bridal bouquet by Pilar Zuniga, of Gorgeous and Green at the Ponderosa workshop
Photo of my bridal bouquet/giant bridal bush held by Carrie in an Anthro dress. by Anne Blodgett
film photo of Manzanita Beach by Anne Blodgett
Film photo by Anne Blodgett of the beach at Manzanita, Oregon
The thing about being a florist, is it's really hard.  It's a creative job, and yet it's filled with a lot of labor (a lot), business decisions, tired hands, a lot of customer service, plenty of anxiety, flowers that die, expectations, cliques of designers and quite a bit of competition.  Hence the hashtag I often use #creativityovercompetition.
Katie in the workshop flowers at the Alumni Ponderosa WorkshopKatie, of Ponderosa and Thyme amongst our workshop materials including blooms from Witte Farm, Charles Little and Co and Grace Rose Farm at the Manzanita Beach House.
So, the fact that Katie was able to create this environment for floral designers, and that so many of us go to these types of workshops, is a testament to how much we need this.  We need it to keep designing. Actually, we need it to keep living. So go. Do it.  If you're not a florist, do it some way or do it anyway, shoot, it's a human thing. We all need something lik this. And we need it often.
I could go on and on here, but mostly I just wanted to share how much this experience opened my heart. It reminded me to live and work in the way I want to be seen in this world: as a beautiful person on the inside, creating beautiful things on the outside.
mandala dance, florists dancing in the rain at the Manzanita Beach workshop
A group of us who came together in the rain to make a flower mandala, and touch hearts.  Photo by Anne Blodgett
I'm thankful for all the hearts I've touched in the years I've been doing this work, and I look forward to connecting to more of us creative souls. In Peace and a florist's clarity of heart, Pilar of G&G 
Still life on the beach by Pilar Zuniga, photo by Anne Blodgett
 A photo of Pilar on the beach after our vessel arrangements were made. Photo by Anne Blodgett
June 27, 2017 — Pilar Zuniga

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