Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Photographing a Different Kind of Nursery: Crinum Lillies in South Carolina

Believe it or not, I do a fair amount of work for commercial businesses, although don't really post much about it on my photography blog. But, I'm going to share with you the beautiful images from one of my commercial clients because I learned a lot and had too great of an experience not to share.

I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Lush Life Nurseries which specializes in Crinum Lillies. This beautiful Lilly farm is owned by Jenks Farmer, who gave me the grand tour of his behind the scenes operations. I met some of the hard working guys who get the job done on the family farm, and eventually I had the chance to roam around and soak up all of the rustic beauty and rich history of this very special location.

There is a story behind every one of these pictures, but this bucket with his name on it is my favorite because it's so personal. He has had this bucket ever since he was a boy! He still uses it every day when he tends to his farm! That's one handy bucket.

I watched as Jenks and his crew used their bare hands to dig up Lillis that were specially chosen for shipping to customers. Everything is done by hand and grown organically so that customers receive only the highest quality Crinum Lillies, which are shipped all over the country. For a few weeks out of the summer, these Crinum Lillies are a much sought after hot commodity when they are in full bloom.

After they are carefully removed from the ground, they are sorted and rinsed. It's truly a labor of love for Jenks, who proudly digs in the soil using just a shovel...no machinery or other high tech equipment. Around here, it's all about getting things done right and with love.

This is my next favorite picture....it has nothing to do with the Crinum, but it completely captures the essence of how slow paced and rustic this farm is.

And they grow more than just a bunch of pretty lillies here! There is a vegetable garden, which is also completely organic. It was a neat experience to eat peas fresh off the vine without having to worry about rinsing any chemicals off. They were fresh, crunchy and exploded with flavor unlike anything I've ever found at the grocery store before. And there are other things that you can eat straight off the plant...figs too! They were too pretty to eat as the sun set on them, so i just took a pretty picture instead!

This farm has so much character and like I said, every picture has a story behind it.....outside near some rows of lillies is a sink with a mirror attached to it and running water. It adds to the Southern charm!

And if you have a sink outside, you might as well have a bathtub too! Lillies look pretty taking a bath. I was happy when Jenks sent me home with this bouquet! My husband thought they were equally beautiful and he wasn't at all bothered that another man gave me flowers!!!! ha!!!

Twice a year, the farm invites customers to come roam the grounds, and bring their families too. Everyone eats freshly grown tomato sandwiches and learns some of the secrets that the farm has seen over the years. There is a real outhouse at the farm, and I had to laugh when I realized that there are lights hanging inside of it to illuminate it and let it's own special character shine!

But perhaps the most interesting part of visiting the farm is learning that there are three people buried there!!! Two Confederate soldiers found their final resting place on the property and a lady named Angelina. An entire garden was planted to honor her. She died in 1800 and hear headstone is still displayed next to her beautiful garden.

I could go on and on about this special place, and I so appreciate the opportunity to capture all of its character and history. Thanks so much Jenks, and I sure hope I get invited to eat one of those tomato sandwich with you next year!!!!!

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