Archives for category: Photos by Sophia

A weekend visiting family in Switzerland with lunches in Germany and France.

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Last month I got to experience the most incredibly flower-filled week in Portland. The main reason for our trip was to partake in a rather special flower workshop run by The Little Flower School (Nicolette & Sarah) at Schreiner’s Bearded Iris Farm. A combination of things that proved exceptionally inspiring, joyful and exciting. We were pigs in mud. I was there with three Australian’s – Jardine, Eliza and Josh, and we met many local florists, and others who had travelled with Nicolette and Sarah to help out on the day. We visited flower farms (I’m looking at you Elizabeth), were taught how to water paint by Helen Dealtry, and enjoyed playing with endless leftovers. A notable thank you to Madison of Hart Floral (and her boyfriend Kyle) for showing us some of the amazing countryside beyond the city. You can read about her impression of us lot here. Sorry for the massive overload of pics but it was super difficult to cull.

IMG_3764IMG_3768IMG_3778IMG_3773IMG_3781IMG_3790thumb_IMG_3795_1024IMG_3822IMG_3824IMG_3825IMG_3826IMG_3829IMG_3834IMG_3835IMG_3837IMG_3840IMG_3850IMG_3860IMG_3866IMG_3869IMG_3874IMG_3890IMG_3906IMG_3908IMG_3909IMG_3912IMG_3914IMG_3921IMG_3939IMG_3942IMG_3971IMG_3972thumb_IMG_3981_1024IMG_3988IMG_4006IMG_4009IMG_4013  All photographs by Sophia Kaplan.

Surfing, rock-climbing and plenty of padrón peppers while in Biarritz and Saint-Jean-de-Luz back in July.

  All photographs by Sophia Kaplan.

Sophia Kaplan Plants & Flowers is well and truly open for business. I’ve had so much fun on all the jobs I’ve done since I got back from Europe. To all my wonderful brides (and their grooms) and my lovely clients thank you so much for letting me flower for you. I’m also rather enjoying getting better acquainted with the other florists in our little flower gang. How fun and supportive you all are 🙂

I’ve just updated the website so feel free check it out, and please enjoy some of the new work I’ve posted below. For more information or any enquiries please email hello@sophia-kaplan.com

  

After our first week in Paris last July we took the morning train down to Lyon and then hired a car and drove down across the border to Murazzano in Piedmonte where we worked for a week on Finocchio Verde, a beautiful goat, sheep and everything else farm. From there we then cruised back up into France through the Swiss alps, through soaring, snow capped mountains. The alpine wildflowers around here are some of the most stunning. There are so many different varieties, I feel like you could be turning around in the same spot for hours constantly discovering different delicate little petals. Our destination was Port Lesney in the Jura region where we stayed in an ancient blue window framed home and whiled away our days drinking wine and eating cheese by the river, and exploring the nearby villages and countryside.

  

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In late June James and I took a train down to Lyon, hired a car and cruised across the alps to Piedmont arriving at dusk to an amazing little farm by the name of Finocchio Verde.

We found our hosts Mario and Isa along with another WWOOFer Marco milking the sheep and goats in the barn, next to a mama giving birth to a little lamb. We wandered around the beautiful property pointing out to each other all the edible things along with the melange of animals. Keeping the goats and sheep company were donkeys, endless cats and kittens that seemed to share mothers jumping from one teet to the next, two dogs one just a puppy and a few grubby pigs at the bottom of the vegetable garden. That night we were fed one of many amazing meals and returned to our room through a path of fireflies.

Our mornings were spent doing hard labour – erecting temporary fences, clearing stinging nettle and tending to the vines. We stopped when it got too hot and made our way inside to help prepare lunch. Most everything we ate was grown on the farm. We would go to the garden to collect asparagus, beans, lettuce, artichoke, purslane, herbs, capers, peppers, and the very first tomatoes of the season.

After siesta we would wander the property looking for wild fruit. Next to Mario & Isa’s property are some semi abandoned farmhouses which make for great exploring. Like the owners just disappeared they are still full with farm equipment and even old stiff coats still hanging from pegs next to doorways. We picked cherries, prunes and red currents and made summer fruit tarts most evenings, which I always decorated with sage flowers or rose petals. The wild flowers growing provided us with sweet little table arrangements which Marco sweetly started making with me.

Along with some of the most amazing cheeses I’ve had, Mario and Isa also make their own honey, jam, wine, vinegar, olives, and once a year they slaughter a pig and make many different types of delicious salami that last them through the year.

One afternoon Mario returned from a nearby fish auction with a tonne of fish bought from his fisherman friends. I gutted my first fish that afternoon and we helped clean maybe 100 more while Mario salted 50 kilos of anchovies. That evening he cooked the most delicious fish gently poached in a pot of incredible homemade passata, wine, garlic and olives. Another food highlight was the fried pardon-style peppers and raw minced meat seasoned simply with salt, pepper and wine covered with freshly shaved local truffles. And the fresh pasta… I could go on. It was all so bloody delicious.

On our final evening Mario’s family came for dinner and he fired up the pizza oven while the whole team helped prepare the delicious rounds of dough. A perfect send off. They really know how to work hard but also get the absolute most out of their day. They take such pleasure in their land and the food that they cook, it’s catching.

We are so happy and thankful to have experienced this small amount of time on their farm. They welcomed us with such generosity and their enthusiasm, vitality and ability to live so thoroughly off the land is enviable. IMG_3499IMG_3333IMG_3358IMG_3360

IMG_3340 IMG_3350     IMG_3382IMG_3366IMG_3394    IMG_3439IMG_3516IMG_3464 IMG_3491    IMG_3503 IMG_3506

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I find myself back in Paris once again. Thus the lack of posts lately – my apologies – as I’ve been rather wifi-less of late. Our week in Paris at the end of June involved lots of summer fruits, flowers and food and sun.

We ate at Clamato, Bones, Le Verre Vole, saw an amazing Charles-Edouard Jeanneret exhibition at the Pompidou and spent the afternoon in the garden of the Chateau du Versailles. We wandered through the Parc de Belleville, the Jardin du Luxembourg, and bought some begonias at the Marché aux Fleurs. Then we left for a beautiful little farm in Italy – more on the farm to come.

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I recently changed my Instagram handle from @thesecretgardenblog to @sophia_kaplan

Still the same photographs of gardens and flowers, but I wanted it to reflect my new branding and website.

Some recent posts…

All images by Sophia Kaplan.

This garden, in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, and off the Promenade Plantée which I have previously written about, was an explosion of colour when I visited in summer last year.

 All photographs by Sophia Kaplan.

After Gili Air and Ubud we headed up into the mountains at Sideman where we stumbled upon the most amazing Patal Kikian. We were the only people staying and had a huge private balcony looking straight onto the volcano where we wiled away our days reading on the day bed and exploring the volcano by scooter. The grounds were so lush as with everything here. All the sun and water makes for an incredibly green and healthy landscape. After Sideman we headed to Nusa Lembongan to snorkel and chill by beach. A perfect little holiday.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset    All photographs by Sophia Kaplan.

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