Women in Bloom….

“You are here and warm 
But I could look away and you’d be gone 
Cause we live in a time 
When meaning falls in splinters from our lives 
And that’s why I’ve travelled far 
Cause I come so together where you are 

And all of the things that I said that I wanted 
Come rushing by in my head when I’m with you 
14 joys and a will to be merry 
And all of the things that we say are very 
Sentimental gentle wind 
Blowing through my life again 
Sentimental lady 
Gentle one “-Sentimental Lady by Bob Welch, A 70′s One-Hit Wonder!

The lyrics from the great 70′s hit, Sentimental Lady, were written to be the perfect love song. Bob Welch, the writer and singer, gave it a lilting rhythm and a chorus you can’t help but hum along to.  It’s a song with a catchy hook that could easily be chalked up to a one-hit wonder. But if you listen closely to the lyrics you find a meaning that transcends simple pick-up lines and a disco beat. When you think of the words applied to the friends and family who inspire you and touch your life, this little ditty possesses a real poetry. It’s the evolution of those friendships, the rich beautiful patina that those relationships gain with time, in which we find our truest, strongest selves. To quote Mr. Welch, we are able to “come so together where you are.” I don’t know if there has ever been anything truer written about the people who inspire us and the power of those friendships.   

That song has been on my mind a lot this month as the world celebrated Women’s History Month. (I’m a sentimental kind of girl anyway). March brought more than crazy weather; it ushered in Viv’s first experience with “girl drama” at school. I thought it was ironic that in a month celebrating the accomplishments of women, I was trying to mend my daughter’s broken heart with stories of the real meaning of friendship. It’s hard for her to know at ten years of age when thoughts are of the latest toy, the cutest dress, the silliest boy, that with time none of that matters and your “gal pals” become your real source of power, your “Tara”, your strength.

So, while Hillary has campaigned, celebrities have marched on the UN, naked women have stormed the Louvre, and aspiring actresses have cried and laughed their way through yet another production of The Vagina Monologues, the English Garden ladies and I have talked with Viv about the women who really make the world go ’round. The moms, wives, partners, single ladies, friends, teachers, co-workers, running buddies, artists, gurus, entrepreneurs, volunteers who quietly and without any need for attention make the world, our world, a better place.

As March bids adieu and Women’s History Month comes to a close, the EG girls would like to give a “shout out” with that little 70′s ditty to the ladies who touch our lives. The women we are sentimental about. You are our friends, our family, our constant inspiration, our pick-me-up on a down day, our reason to race to the finish line, our hand-holders, our secret keepers, our dreamcatchers, our shoulders to cry on, our pillars of strength. You are our heroes and we celebrate you- with a little floral flourish, of course. Thanks for being part of our history. And remember, whether you need a daisy for your hair, a bouquet for your walk down the aisle, or a sunflower to brighten your day, we are here for you and are always your greatest fans!

With love and admiration, 

Your English Garden “Soul Sisters”-Cydney, Lacey, Lauren, Renee, Irma, Mariela, Nikki, Valerie, Amanda H., Amanda B., Pam M., Elva, Judy, Pam H., AnnMarie, and the amazing Viv!

The Women Who Inspire Us (as told in the language of flowers) 

Lavender-Virtue. Lora Davis Stocker is the George Washington of little sisters. She cannot tell a lie. She lives her life with an honesty that so often seems absent from our quick time, soundbite world. She'll tell you when you look radiant and level with you when your jeans are more than a little tight. She's addicted to old movies, crazy about Robert Wagner and attends African dance class once a month. In her art as she is in her life, Lora is virtuous and true and authentic in a way that touches all those who know her.

Lavender-Virtue. Lora Davis Stocker is the George Washington of little sisters. She cannot tell a lie. She lives her life with an honesty that so often seems absent from our quick time, soundbite world. She’ll tell you when you look radiant and level with you when your jeans are more than a little tight. She’s addicted to old movies, crazy about Robert Wagner and attends African dance class once a month. In her art as she is in her life, Lora is virtuous and true and authentic in a way that touches all those who know her.

The Gladiola-Strength of Character. Jo & Jan Faircloth. Brilliant, funny, "gun-totin'" (literally). This dynamic duo, these wonder twins define sisterly love. Jo's endless devotion to her sister as Jan battles cancer. Jan's unyielding fight to kick cancer's a**. We dare you to show us a greater display of character and strength.

The Gladiola-Strength of Character. Jo & Jan Faircloth. Brilliant, funny, “gun-totin’” (literally). This dynamic duo, these wonder twins define sisterly love. Jo’s endless devotion to her sister as Jan battles cancer. Jan’s unyielding fight to kick cancer’s a**. We dare you to show us a greater display of character and strength.

Iris-Inspiration. Pat Wilkins has inspired class after class of Junior League recruits with her great gifts of leadership, kindness and selflessness. Pat's vibrant personality lights up a room and her organizational skills light up fundraisers across the Triangle ensuring the  success of events like A Shopping Spree, The Inaugural Ball & Band Together. Raleigh would not be the same without Pat's leadership. Running for Mayor soon, we hope!

Iris-Inspiration. Pat Wilkins has inspired class after class of Junior League recruits with her great gifts of leadership, kindness and selflessness. Pat’s vibrant personality lights up a room and her organizational skills light up fundraisers across the Triangle ensuring the success of events like A Shopping Spree, The Inaugural Ball & Band Together. Raleigh would not be the same without Pat’s leadership. Running for Mayor soon, we hope!

Edelweiss-Courage. Clara Cloaninger Guy-Entrepreneur, mom/chef/designer/trendsetter who shows Martha Stewart how to do it. Clara doesn't let a little thing like cancer stop her. She runs harder & faster & farther showing her little girls true Girl Power. For Clara, C means nothing but Courage.

Edelweiss-Courage. Clara Cloaninger Guy-Entrepreneur, mom/chef/designer/trendsetter who shows Martha Stewart how to do it. Clara doesn’t let a little thing like cancer stop her. She runs harder & faster & farther showing her little girls true Girl Power. For Clara, C means nothing but Courage.

Star of Bethlehem-Hope. There are news breakers and news makers. Pam Saulsby is both. One of the Triangle's most trusted TV personalities, Pam's delivery of even the most unsettling news is done with a signature style that's a bit Oprah and bit Walter Cronkite. When she comes into our living rooms, we know she is our friend and she is going to do more than just give us the facts. She is going to give us hope. And if you think her magical voice is great on the news, you should hear her on stage belting out a tune.

Star of Bethlehem-Hope. There are news breakers and news makers. Pam Saulsby is both. One of the Triangle’s most trusted TV personalities, Pam’s delivery of even the most unsettling news is done with a signature style that’s a bit Oprah and a bit Walter Cronkite. When she comes into our living rooms, we know she is our friend and she is going to do more than just give us the facts. She is going to give us hope. And if you think her magical voice is great on the news, you should hear her on stage belting out a tune.

Basil-Good Wishes. We had to incorporate something floral & food inspired when talking about Katrina Ryan. The Triangle's Cake Boss!, Katrina creates amazing treats for her clients filling their celebrations with good wishes & happiness. She brings these same gifts to the lives of her friends and colleagues. A mentor, a friend, an inspiration. Being Katrina's friend is one sweet treat.

Basil-Good Wishes. We had to incorporate something floral & food inspired when talking about Katrina Ryan. The Triangle’s Cake Boss!, Katrina creates amazing treats for her clients filling their celebrations with good wishes & happiness. She brings these same gifts to the lives of her friends and colleagues. A mentor, a friend, an inspiration. Knowing Katrina is one sweet treat.

Myrtle-Emblem of Marriage, Love. Jenna Parks Olender is in the wedding business. As co-editor of one of the region's best and brightest mags, Southern Bride & Groom, Jenna has her finger on the pulse of what brides want. That Jenna is in the "love" business comes as no surprise to those who know her. The unabashed way in which she shows love for her family, friends & life makes her more than a little quotable on the subject. Jenna's amazing & that news fit to print!

Myrtle-Emblem of Marriage, Love. Jenna Parks Olender is in the wedding business. As co-editor of one of the region’s best and brightest mags, Southern Bride & Groom, Jenna has her finger on the pulse of what brides want. That Jenna is in the “love” business comes as no surprise to those who know her. The unabashed way in which she shows love for her family, friends & life makes her more than a little quotable on the subject. Jenna’s amazing & that news fit to print!

 

Wisteria-Steadfastness. In our fast paced world, friends come and go, but not Josette Smith. Follow her on Facebook and you will quickly observe that her friends today are friends of a lifetime. She is loyal, true and steadfast. She speaks her mind personally, professionally AND politically for sure, but she does it with a grace and humor and honesty that is the hallmark of a true friend. No buddy of Josette's will ever walk through a party with toilet paper on their shoe.

Wisteria-Steadfastness. In our fast paced world, friends come and go, but not Josette Smith. Follow her on Facebook and you will quickly observe that her friends today are friends of a lifetime. She is loyal, true and steadfast. She speaks her mind personally, professionally AND politically for sure, but she does it with a grace and humor and honesty that is the hallmark of a true friend. No buddy of Josette’s will ever walk through a party with toilet paper on their shoe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delphinium-Boldness. Now, Judy will probably go tisk, tisk when she sees this, but she will just have to deal with it. Bold, beautiful, brainy-Judy is a triple threat and more. A talented floral designer, loving mother & wife, loyal friend, she entertains with her witty blog and her engaging repartee. She can talk politics as easily as party planning and she greets life with a boldness we envy & applaud.

Delphinium-Boldness. Now, Judy will probably go tisk, tisk when she sees this, but she will just have to deal with it. Bold, beautiful, brainy-Judy is a triple threat and more. A talented floral designer, loving mother & wife, loyal friend, she entertains with her witty blog and her engaging repartee. She can talk politics as easily as party planning and she greets life with a boldness we envy & applaud.

 

 

 

Daffodil-Regard. First, let us say that Beth Hemphill IS a Wonder Woman. She didn't send us a picture & we had to include her. Regard equals attention & care and that is just what Beth brings to her role as a mother to her brilliant daughters, her work and her friendships. Every conversation starts with "How are you?" and ends with "Take Care of Yourself." Beth is one of the most wonderful people we know and you should see what she can do with a lasso. Send us a picture Beth!

Daffodil-Regard. First, let us say that Beth Hemphill IS a Wonder Woman. She didn’t send us a picture but that won’t keep us from including her on this list. “Regard” equals attention & care and that is Beth’s hallmark- as a mother to her brilliant daughters, as a trusted cornerstone of a thriving company and as a caring, constant friend. Every conversation starts with “How are you?” and ends with “Take Care of Yourself.” Beth is one of the most wonderful people we know and we are pretty sure she’s wicked with a lasso. Send us a picture Beth!

Morning Glory-Affection. Spend 10 seconds around Kim Thomasson and you will wonder how anyone could possibly love life and family more. She possesses an affection for her children, husband and family that is contagious.  Kim works to preserve NC's farming tradition while ensuring her children have the opportunity to pursue their dreams in life. Grounded, confident, a woman of faith & purpose, we can't help but feel affection for this incredible lady.

Morning Glory-Affection. Spend 10 seconds around Kim Thomasson and you will wonder how anyone could possibly love life and family more. She possesses an affection for her children, husband and family that is contagious. Kim works to preserve NC’s farming tradition while ensuring her children have the opportunity to pursue their dreams in life. Grounded, confident, a woman of faith & purpose, we can’t help but feel affection for this incredible lady.

Holly-Domestic Happiness. If you've ever visited Anna Reed at home, you know the definition of a happy, inviting home. Gracious, stylish, loaded with charisma, Anna embraces her role as  mother with a zeal Betty Crocker couldn't match. While juggling graduate studies, she balances her duties as a mom to two young children and as a busy volunteer with an aplomb only a Southern Gal could possess.

Holly-Domestic Happiness. If you’ve ever visited Anna Reed at home, you know the definition of a happy, inviting home. Gracious, stylish, loaded with charisma, Anna embraces her roles of mother & homemaker with a zeal Betty Crocker couldn’t match. While juggling graduate studies, she balances her duties as a mom to two young children and as a busy volunteer with an aplomb only a Southern Gal could possess.

Geranium-Comfort. Denise Doll is a pet's best friend. Blessed with an innate sense of how to care for animals,  Denise has built a thriving business by treating her four legged clients like top dogs. She might be a pet whisperer but the comfort she brings to others especially in times of loss speaks volumes to her character.

Geranium-Comfort. Denise Doll is a pet’s best friend. Blessed with an innate sense of how to care for animals, Denise has built a thriving business by treating her four legged clients like top dogs. She might be a pet whisperer but the comfort she brings to others especially in times of loss speaks volumes to her character.

Apple Blossom-Promise. Amelia Harms might be the next Diane Von Furstenberg or the next Kate Spade. She is a clothing & textiles designer with immeasurable talent & promise. But it is the selfless way in which she shares her talent with others & her community through that will make her a cover story. Remember to send us samples Amelia when you are in the pages of Vogue.

Apple Blossom-Promise. Amelia Harms might be the next Diane Von Furstenberg or the next Kate Spade. She is a clothing & textiles designer with immeasurable talent & promise. But it is the selfless way in which she shares her talent with others & her community that will make her a cover story. Remember to send us samples Amelia when you are in the pages of Vogue.

Ranunculus-Radiance. Brittany Ruch-Interior Design Maven & one uber cool chic. Her  radiance & zest for life are transformative and she brings these traits  to her work helping her clients (who quickly become friends) turn houses into warm, welcoming homes.

Ranunculus-Radiance. Brittany Ruch-Interior Design Maven & one uber cool chic. Her radiance & zest for life are transformative and she brings these traits to her work helping her clients (who quickly become friends) turn houses into warm, welcoming homes. Blonde or ginger, Brittany is our go-to when we want to feel happy and vibrant and radiant.

Freesia-Spirited. Patty Robinson is as groovy & cool as any woman could dream of being. Whether styling events for Wake Tech or cookin' up tasty trouble in her kitchen, Patty is a force, a spirit, to be reckoned with, especially when partnering with her adorable "mini-me."

Freesia-Spirited. Patty Robinson is as groovy & cool as any woman could dream of being. Whether styling events for Wake Tech or cookin’ up tasty trouble in her kitchen, Patty is a force, a spirit, to be reckoned with, especially when partnering with her adorable “mini-me.”

Gardenia-Joy. The One Who Keeps Us In Stitches-Margareth Galardi. Mom, volunteer, domestic goddess, friend-Margareth's outlook on life is one of pure joy and endless laughter & happiness.

Gardenia-Joy. The One Who Keeps Us In Stitches-Margareth Galardi. Mom, volunteer, domestic goddess, friend-Margareth’s outlook on life is one of pure joy and endless laughter & happiness. She’s the first to come to your rescue and the last to leave when the dishes need to be done after a party. Loyal, true, trusted. Women like Margareth come along once in a lifetime. We are glad she came along in ours.

Daisy-Hope & Innocence. My Glorious Ray of Sunshine Vivienne. I'm so looking forward to seeing the woman you become and watching you make history.

Daisy-Hope & Innocence. The Glorious Ray of Sunshine- Vivienne. We are SO looking forward to seeing the woman you become and watching you make history whether it’s as an artist, a civil rights crusader, the Prime Minister of Japan. Whatever you do, you will be amazing! May your heart continue to be filled with hope and innocence and joy. And always remember that yesterday, today, and tomorrow your Mommy loves you ever after.