A Walk With Her: Phoebe Poole

“A Walk With Her” is a new blog series where we will be featuring incredibly creative and thoughtful women who we admire. Our goal is to shed light on a range of businesses and professions, share advice (big & small) and spark inspiration. Stay tuned as we continue to introduce extraordinary women.

Tell us a bit about yourself and Weatherlow Farms. 
Now that I've been farming for so many years, and because I find the work so wonderfully all-consuming, I'm not sure there's much to tell about myself that's not farm-related! I grew up on Cape Cod and the South Coast, and as a child eagerly participated in lots of outdoor tasks around our yard - planting tulip bulbs, weeding the flower beds, cutting back hedges, stacking firewood - so that I was instilled with a strong work ethic and an appreciation for the tangible results from that sort of work. After about ten years working on farms of various sizes and with diverse business strategies across the country, I was able to come on at Weatherlow to develop the cut flower aspect when the farm as a whole was just getting started. Besides the sustainably grown cut flowers, the farm raises a whole host of grassfed livestock, and has a wonderful farm kitchen producing all sorts of prepared foods with the farm-raised proteins. All of these items are offered in the quaint farm store on the property, as well as through dinners and events that also utilize the stunning grounds and beautiful barn.

How did you get into flower farming? 
My love affair with farming in general, and flowers specifically, began with my needing a break from academics. Immediately upon graduating from college, I started working on a small-scale diversified farm - learning to grow vegetables and flowers, and raise livestock - and I haven't stopped since. Flowers were always in the mix, in one way or another, but my deep dive into the world of specialty cut flowers didn't happen until I had the opportunity to join the team at Weatherlow Farms and head up the flower side of the business.

What is your first memory as a flower farmer and when did you know that was your passion? 
My first flower farming memory is harvesting celosia during my first year of farming. It can be an unassuming crop, but I was blown away by the myriad varieties. The rainbow of colors, the incredible forms and shapes, and that it could be used fresh for market bouquets or hung to dry and used later in dried arrangements and wreaths. Let alone that the seed could be saved from the especially beautiful plants, and planted the next season, and that you could select for gorgeous anomalies and create new varieties with enough time and diligence and imagination.

What words of wisdom would you share to our community of women? This can be about anything - life, business, relationships, etc! 
I think that, across the board, it is important to be tough yet flexible. The most wonderful accomplishments in life and business have seemed to come from working very hard to push forward with what excites you, while keeping an ear and an eye open to what those around you are doing and asking for. 

What do you do for fun
I'm terrible about downtime, but when I can make it happen I relish quiet time puttering around at home with my dog, running on the great country roads we have here on the South Coast, and getting out on the water.

Style icon 
Katherine Hepburn - all of those high-waisted tailored trousers, collared shirts with feminine touches, and patterned scarves.

Favorite vacation spot 
All of the little cayes off the coast of Belize. When I was a kid, my dad's friends ran a marine research station out there amongst the coral reefs, and it was totally wild and off the grid. Lots of sun and snorkeling and delicious fish - absolute magic.
Quote that you live by 
"Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting - over and over announcing your place in the family of things." - from my favorite poet, Mary Oliver

If you could have coffee with anyone (dead or alive), who would it be 
I would be thrilled to have coffee with my grandmother, Kitty Wickes Poole, who passed away before I was born - but with whom I am sure I'd have a lot to chat about. She was an avid gardener, obsessed with growing roses (which I know nothing about), had an impeccable sense of style, and grew up in a world which was so different than the current one - I'd appreciate hearing her advice and perspective on how to be a woman of high spirit and strong character.

Quarantine savior 
Honestly - work. The cycle of farming, and flower farming in particular, means that the planning and preparation happen very far in advance. We're constantly pushed forward and along a track, but with all sorts of variation and change and beauty and puzzles and experiments. It's the best salve for uncertain times, you can tire yourself out with the hard physical work and know that some gorgeous blooms will result from that labor.

Favorite instagram account 
Current favorite - for it's spot-on use of seasonal materials, and a ton of inspiration for all of the edible flower and pressed flower and dried flower stuff we are doing on a tiny scale - is @jamjar_flowers (also the Brits might be the most passionate botanically-minded folks, which I really appreciate).

Currently reading or watching 
I've been watching the seriously engrossing 'Mrs. Wilson' on PBS Masterpiece. 

Favorite flower (we had to ask!)
Most difficult question ever! I swoon just as much as the next person over the big gorgeous show-stopping blooms - ranunculus and peonies and dahlias and those ladies. However, I'd have to say my favorites are the delicate little flowers that somehow transform an arrangement, and magically pull it together. The sneaky beauty that blew us out of the water this season was 'Blushing Lanterns' silene. Little nodding heads in shades of pale pink, beige, white, on wiry stems... just a quiet stunner!

Favorite brand (besides us of course!)
My favorite work (and all the other tasks) clothing comes from Gamine, an incredible company run based in Tiverton, RI (just down the road from Weatherlow). The founder is a dear friend and even more plant obsessed than I am. She understands implicitly what is needed pattern- and fit-wise for women's workwear and the pieces happen to be incredibly beautiful, too. I rely on the smocks and sweaters and dungarees.

Favorite AW piece 
Since I'm relentlessly practical, my favorite AW piece is the brilliant Car Coat because I can actually wear it for work! It instantly became my fall, winter, and spring chore coat. The pockets are wonderfully large, and the little standup collar is perfection. The cut is super clean and stylish, but roomy enough to allow full range of movement for harvesting and shoveling and generally running around the farm. I'm glad to have the charcoal color, so that stains and soil won't show, but am already lusting after the blush pink!

Follow Phoebe at @weatherlow_florals
Photos by @christine.chitnis

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