Ponderosa Workshop: Tuscany

In the Garden

If you did a search for “feast for the senses” I wouldn’t be surprised if Castello di Potentino was one of the first things that showed up. You see photos of Tuscany and you think it will be magical to witness, but what’s surprising is on how many levels this place can speak to you. In the early morning, as the sun rises it illuminates the lush green valley below, sparking the chorus of birdsong and chirping insects, and driving the scent from the oregano orchards through the old wooden shutter of your room (I’m not kidding when I say it smells like a delicious pizza). And that’s just the morning. As the day passes, new tidbits of joy emerge in succession, bringing a new smile to your face when you least expect it. 

Life moves at a different pace in Italy than in the States. The days and nights passed slowly and intentionally, allowing one to truly grasp the most from each passing moment. For floristry, that’s conducive to a wonderful mix of introspective processing and creative output. It allows you to take in all that’s on offer, from the sun soaked color palette of the landscape and architecture, to the tactile quality of smooth olive leaves and tall, golden grass. Everything seems to absorb into you, and you into it.

Our group consisted of beautiful souls from eight different countries from five different continents. The sense of community we built in five days, I think, was a testament to the spirit of the place where we were staying. And the creativity exhibited from each and every one who was there was so rewarding to guide and witness. 

It was such a treat to host our Italy Ponderosa Workshop at Castello di Potentino. Even as someone who has romanticized Italy for a long time, this special spot in a secret Tuscan valley was so far beyond my wildest dreams. The charisma of each and every room, every vista, every nook and cranny of the Castello was set to inspire. I’m so glad that Maria Lamb was our photographer, because she captured the vibe of the place perfectly. She nailed everything from room shots to the styled shoots.

I am so grateful to the group of ladies who came to Italy to join me in this floral adventure. Looking back, the little fairy den we created together in the frame of an ancient, broken tree is one of my most favorite Ponderosa Workshop memories. The scene ended up looking like a visual representation of the joy of the retreat. I will always remember us gathered at the base of it, laughing together under the warm Italian sun.


Katie Davis

March 18, 2016