Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Delightful Visit With James Farmer

On this day my daughter Sharon and I had the great pleasure of attending an event sponsored by the Tallahassee Garden Club. We all met at the local Goodwood Museum and Gardens to enjoy "A Morning with James Farmer."   He was the special guest speaker for the event,  helping to celebrate 90 years of the Tallahassee Garden Club.

I'll just tell you .... If you ever get a chance to hear James Farmer speak at an event, whatever you do, don't miss it!  What a treat in so many ways ... He truly is delightful!  With every sentence of his speech he kept us laughing.  You know you have met a real-true-authentic-Southerner when you meet this wonderful man.

The Magnolia and Violet Circles of the Garden Club sponsored the event for today which was open to all in the community, not just the Garden Club, and there was quite a nice turnout.   Below we see the lovely brunch prepared by all members of the Magnolia Circle of the Garden Club.

In the below photo we see the beautiful floral arrangement for the brunch-table- 
centerpiece,  designed by members of the Magnolia Circle.

In the below photo we see some of the guests visiting before the presentation began.

The below photo shows a pretty bouquet of flowers arranged for the event.
However, the heavy rains in the early morning wilted the flowers a bit but they were still pretty.

In the below photo we see several guests around the brunch table.

 Our program was scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM.  The Carriage House at Goodwood Gardens and Museum was filled to capacity and everyone was anxiously awaiting the program ...
And, suddenly, there he was!

James Farmer III was the guest speaker and as he kept all of us laughing during his speech with his stories about growing up in the South, he also worked on this lovely floral arrangement.  The greenery was already in place as he began his talk. He then began filling in with hydrangeas, more ferns, beautiful roses and kumquats branches.  These coral roses (he pronounced the color "Carl" in his charming Southern drawl) are his favorite roses.  He shared with us the name of these splendid roses ... They are called "free spirit" roses and they do have a beautiful red/coral color.

There is so much to know about James Farmer III.  Where to begin ...  He grew up on an old Plantation in Kathleen, Georgia which is just outside of Macon, Georgia.  That area is the pecan and peach capital of the world.  He told us that as a child he spent many days in the kitchen with his beloved Mimi, who was his grandmother.  He loved to bring her vegetables from the garden and  cooking together.

From there he developed a passion for tabletop decorating and flower arranging, using family antique vases to arrange the flowers, herbs, vines or anything else from the garden outside.

With the love of the land and Southern culture James earned a degree in gardening and landscape design from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama,  which is only a short two-and-a-half-hour drive from his home in Kathleen, Georgia.

After graduation from Auburn, as destiny would have it,  James was asked to consult on an important historic garden that needed restoration.  News spread quickly about his work and he began creating floral arrangements and consulting about food choices for private parties and weddings.  Before he knew it,  he was in great demand in the South for a "James Farmer Party." 

James is now Editor-At-Large for Southern Living magazine and has appeared on the Today Show and many other television programs.  His work has been featured in Southern Living and Traditional Home Magazines.

In 2005 James opened his own floral and interior design business in the charming little Southern town of Perry, Georgia which is very close to Kathleen, Georgia where he grew up.  He has also written seven very popular books which are all available on Amazon.   They are:  Dinner On The Grounds, A Time To Cook, A Time To Plant,  Porch Living, Sip And Savor, Wreaths For All Seasons, and A Time To Celebrate.  James will also have another book coming out sometime this year.  All of his books are inspired by his life growing up on a farm where farm-to-table was a lifestyle.  In these books full of lovely photographs James shows us what Southern hospitality is all about.

In the below photo we again see the finished arrangement and we see the President of the Garden Club inviting folks to visit with James Farmer in the pavilion outside.

There was a long line of guests waiting to have his books signed.

I tried not to interrupt or be rude, but I so wanted to get a good photo of this true Southern Boy.  
He said he would be glad to have his picture taken.  He is a true Southern gentlemen.
Don't you love the blue gingham shirt ... Even that look is so-o-o Southern!

I only have one of his books, "A Time To Plant - Southern Style Garden Living,"  
but I also plan to take a good look at the rest of his books.

The inscription inside of this book, A Time To Plant  is so beautiful I wanted to share:

To my family, who taught me to love,
"the beauty of the earth,
... the glory of the skies;
...the love which from our birth, (that)
Over and around us lies ..."

To cherish, 
the wonder of each hour,
Of (each) day and of (each)night;
(the wonder of each) Hill, vale and tree and flow'r
(the wonder of the) Sun and moon, and stars of light ...

... the joy of ear and eye,
... the heart and mind's delight;
... the mystic harmony, (thus)
Linking sense and sound and sight ...

To show,
"... the joy of human love, (to every)
Brother, sister, parent, child; (to every)
Friend on Earth and friend above, (and)
For all gentle thoughts and mild;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise."

I found this YouTube video of James creating a pretty flower 
arrangement if you would like to take a look: 

Wishing you many blessings as we all begin a new week on this beautiful earth wherever you may be.

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