Since starting Georgian Roots in 2015, I have never really done an about About Us that tells our story in depth. I enjoy finding out about the people behind a business, and today happens to be the anniversary of mine and Gavin's engagement seven years ago, which is a big part of our story. This is a bit of a read, because we have been together since we were kids -- and like actually kids, I was 12, and he was 13 when we started dating.
In May of 2013, we were two weeks into a sixty day backpacking trip through Europe after finishing our undergrad. The backpacking trip was a dream for us, and would be my second occasion ever to travel by air. For the last five years, we had both attended Queen's University where Gavin had done degrees in commerce and environmental science, and I had done a bachelors of arts in history. In the fall, we were moving to Toronto, where I was starting a master's in museum studies that focused on exhibition design and programming at U of T.
We were not supposed to get engaged while travelling, that was the deal. In the first couple years of our 20s, whenever we went on a day trip, or a camping adventure, or had a really romantic date night, I thought he was going to propose. This would then lead to disappointment when it didn't happen, and ruin an otherwise great experience. Gavin is always true to his word, so that morning in Paris, I was unsuspecting of anything more than what he had said would be the "ultimate date" day.
The ultimate date day for me included all my favourite little details such as a picnic with baguette, pears, and brie, a swing that Gavin had carted around in his backpack, and most importantly a trip to Monet's gardens in Giverny, France. Monet's artwork is one of my first loves; a print of The Artist's Garden at Vétheuil has hung on my wall wherever I went for as long as I can remember. Every elementary school show-and-tell I lugged in that print and my Monet books to share with others, because I thought it was really interesting. When I look at Monet's paintings, the undefined borders let my imagination run wild. That freedom of imagination transports me to a world of serene settings where the romance of nature reminds me that beauty can come from chaos. Flowers do come from dirt after all.
Gavin asked me to marry him on a small bridge at the end of the garden, looking out over the water lilies. He hired a photographer from Paris to secretly capture the moment and had chosen the exact spot so that it looked like I was part of the paintings I had loved all my life.
That moment continues to inspire us to work harder, think deeper, and create with great care the settings for our clients's own special moments. These transporting experiences happen when the lines of reality are just a little bit blurred; like an impressionist painting. All the elements have to be ordinary enough that they are familiar, but then get used in a way that brings into focus the beauty of those details and the story that they can tell.
Since that day in May seven years ago, we started to plan out what we wanted from life together, and that always meant being on the farm. As much as I Iove Monet's gardens, my absolute favourite place in the world is Gavin's family home. He once joked that I married him so I could always have the farm to wander on. The farm is a hundred and fifty acres of horse pasture, hay fields, a wild apple orchard, our little flower farm, and two types of woodland. It sits on the edge of the sandy Nippissing Bluff and looks out on to the shores of Georgian Bay.
The farm is what we named our company after. GEORGIAN for the bay, and ROOTS both because the family horse farm is Celtic Roots Equestrian, but also because the area's natural settings, community, and culture are the foundation for creating, enjoying, and celebrating life's simple luxuries.
Since 2015, Gavin and I have worked to create experiences with others who also love life here in the heart of Georgian Bay. In doing so, we wanted to set up atmospheres for events that were true to where we lived, and so started using foraged and garden grown flowers and greenery in our designs. Then, because we wanted to offer locally grown flowers, we started a small flower farm plot.
This year our life is changing in many ways. We welcomed our long tried for first baby, Cameron, in December 2019. For the 2020 season we've expanded our flower farm to include over 80 different varieties. Soon, we are launching our farm store to share those flowers that will be ready in a few short weeks, with everyone else who loves life here on the shores of the bay. We, like the rest of the world, weren't planning on a pandemic, obviously, but the flowers don't stop growing.
When I think about walking across that garden bridge seven years ago today, and the life that we have since lived and built with Georgian Roots, I am reminded of so many of Monet's quotes such as "I must have flowers always and always," and "I am following Nature without being able to grasp her," but most importantly: it is simply necessary to love. It will be a different summer without so many weddings, but the love is still there, as are life's simple luxuries and we are excited to share them with others to enjoy.