Reminiscences from Camp Joy Apprentice Anne Williams, 1986-1989

I was at Camp Joy for 3 years, between 1986-1989.  I especially remember you, my inspiring flower grower/arranger teacher (1 year together) and Teri, with whom I continued the flower business for

the following 2 years.  I mostly worked with Lang, but also with Jim and Lynnie and I took a pest management course from Rich Merrill during that period.  She got an A; I barely passed on pass/fail basis. I’d be happy to follow your links and see what I come up with because it was a very

special experience for me to play with beautiful flowers and work cooperatively (mostly!).  Oh, and

Mark and that Christian Science couple – Robin and ?  And big, tall Kate! 

Obviously, I wouldn’t write a stream of conscious piece, but I’m just starting to

remember those good times and good people, plus Yeti and his beautiful, often naked girlfriend.

In 1985, my dear friend, Beth, invited me to raise flowers with her at Camp Joy. What a revelation!  So much of the world of flowers was unknown to me before that first spring, starting with Schizanthus!  The little orchid-faced “butterfly flower” was only a painting on a seed packet until we sowed it, pricked it out and grew it into its dainty self. And gradually, through the seasons I met so many new blooms – Agrostemma, Salpiglossis, Cleome, Tithonia along with all the flowers for wreath making,

the charming Globe Amaranths, the Bells of Ireland, the “devil in the bush” Nigella pods. We made the most gorgeous bouquets and wreathes together, Beth and I. And later, Teri came to Camp Joy, and I partnered with her to do more of the same, always with a joyful crew of mentors and apprentices, most memorably Mark and Jim and Lang and Lynn during my 3 years at the farm.

Around the big kitchen table, we’d make our bouquets, fragrance of Sweet Peas, brilliance of Godetias, elegance of Shirley Poppies and Queen Anne’s Lace, mixing together into colorful, fresh bunches for sale from the cart, from the porch or for special occasions. It was a creative, inspiring time in my life I will never forget.  My children benefited, too, from spending so many hours at Camp Joy.  Both my sons work in landscaping and gardening, are rarely indoors at all. After leaving Camp Joy,  I went to work at Shepherd’s Garden Seeds and then at Renee’s Garden, well prepared to enjoy 10 years as a horticultural adviser.  And today, as I look out on my chilly March garden, getting ready to transplant lettuce, I realize that since those days in the 1980’s I have never been without a garden, never without flowers on my table, and for that and for lifetime friendships made at Camp Joy, I am deeply grateful.

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