Beginnings

As some of you may know, we at Holly Chapple Flowers have recently bought and opened our own flower farm here in Lucketts, Virginia. Within the past few months, Hope Flower Farm has hosted several classes and photo shoots. Every day we are working to help Chapel Designers and HCF grow. While I am easily able to update you all on our life through Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, blogging has been a struggle. We have had some technically difficulties with this blog and life has been very busy around here! My daughter, Hannah, a senior at VCU, has decided to write posts for me as frequently as her schedule allows. The following post is one that Hannah wrote a few months back, during our first Hope Flower Farm Chapel Designers Workshop with Ariel Dearie. Now that we have the Full Bouquet up and running again, we hope that you come back here every once in a while to see updates on Hope, the Chapel Designers, HCF, and life in the Chapple Family. The posts written by Hannah are her perspective as the daughter of a parent in the wedding industry.

This week has been something special. As I sit on a train headed from Washington, DC back to Richmond, I write this. Tomorrow I start my senior year of college, but this past week has been spent with my family, Holly Chapple Flowers, and the Chapel Designers. These past several days back in Lucketts, Virginia have been my first home since the purchase of Hope Flower Farm. Obviously, my mother wanted to christen her beautiful farm with a Chapel Designers workshop and class. I have never seen my mother teach before—I have to tell you, I have never seen her more in her element. 

Ariel Dearie, designing at the first Hope Flower Farm workshop. Photo by Jodi Miller Photography.

Ariel Dearie, designing at the first Hope Flower Farm workshop. Photo by Jodi Miller Photography.

My older sister, Abby, is a floral designer like our mother. She and I have worked with my mom—as have my other siblings—the past week to make sure Hope was perfect for the newest Chapel Designers. My sister and I watched my mother work, we talked with all of the designers, and we prepared the farm.  Last night, my mother had some Chapel Designer “veterans” over to our home, and we talked with them too. Today my sister and I realized something very interesting about my mom, the Flower Mama… she treats her Chapel Designers the way she treats her children.

This silly revelation is something you may not understand if you do not know the Chapple Family. My parents have seven children, and we range from 28 to six years old. We are close, even with such a drastic age gap. While my mother can play and have fun with all seven of us, the way she treats us is very different.  What I noticed within the past 24 hours of seeing both new and old Chapel Designers is that my mother treats the old CDs the way she treats her older children, and her new CDs the way she treats her younger children.

Holly Chapple and Ariel Dearie at the first Hope Flower Farm workshop in August of 2015. Photo by Jodi Miller Photography.

Holly Chapple and Ariel Dearie at the first Hope Flower Farm workshop in August of 2015. Photo by Jodi Miller Photography.

My mother is nurturing, regardless of whomever she is talking to. With her veteran Chapel Designers that we spent time with last night, she joked and swapped stories, the way she does with my elder siblings and I. With her new Chapel Designers she spent time with today, I noticed her offering a lot of “motherly” advice. Obviously these new Chapel Designers are just as skilled as the other members of our organization, but they’re new to the gang. My mom takes these new designers under her wing and teaches them, almost babying them, the way she does with my younger siblings.  This may seem like a meaningless connection to make, but it is crucial in explaining why we own Hope, and why my mom is so happy now.

The reason my mother is so incredibly in her element as a teacher of the Chapel Designers is because it combines her two passions better than anything I’ve ever seen—she can nurture and design. I guess this is why they call her Flower Mama. Hope is a step in the right direction for my entire family, but most importantly, it’s best for my mother.  Combining her two passions means that she will be able to bring more and more to this industry that she’s devoted the past 23 years of her life to.

To me, my mother has just always been my momma. But within these past several years since the forming of the Chapel Designers, I’ve realized how amazingly talented she truly is. Honestly, it’s rare now if I go a few days without bragging about my mom.  The Chapel Designers is something I don’t think she ever fathomed, and now that it is here, she’s happier than she’s ever been.  Combining flowers and parenting… who would have thought?

I suppose this post is a thank you to every single Chapel Designer. All 100-something of you. Whether in Ireland or Mexico, North Carolina or California, you have given my mother a new zest. My mom wears many different hats—mother, designer, grower, farmer, etc. I love being my mother’s daughter, and I have loved watching her be a florist these past 20 years, but this new hat, the hat of a teacher, is the best one I’ve seen her wear yet.

Holly teaching at the first Hope Flower Farm workshop in August of 2015. Photo by Jodi Miller Photography.

Holly teaching at the first Hope Flower Farm workshop in August of 2015. Photo by Jodi Miller Photography.




Hope Flower Farm

Several months ago this letter appeared on the Botanical Brouhaha Blog. It is a very special day when you hear your story through your child’s eyes. Please read the letter from my daughter Hannah.

Growing up, my friends’ parents were teachers and lawyers, nurses and stay-at-home parents. When classmates would ask me about my mother, reactions varied. In elementary school, telling kids your mother is a florist leads to the question, “does that mean she lays flooring?” In high school, telling your friends that your mother is a florist means them asking if she’s done flowers for any celebrities. Now, I am 22 years old. My mother has been a florist my entire life. Telling people my mother is a florist now usually leads to my friends saying they want her doing their wedding flowers.

My mother is devoted to her career, to her clients, and to her art. My siblings and I have always joked that we can’t go into a grocery store without my mom knowing at least one person there. This running joke isn’t just because my mother has been in Loudoun County her entire life, or that she’s met many people through her parents’ work in the agricultural industry, but because my mother builds a rapport with her clients unlike anyone I have ever seen.

I may be ridiculously biased, obviously… I’m Holly Chapple’s daughter. Writing about my mother may be silly for you to read, because I would look up to her and admire her regardless of what she decides to do. However; I have had a myriad of different jobs, I have worked in customer service, I have met new people and seen new things, but I have never found anyone who is as committed to their clients as my mother. More often than not, my mom ends up friends with her brides. Somehow my mom can run into a bride she hasn’t seen in years, and be able to remember the wedding date and the flower colors. My mom puts her heart and soul into every bridal bouquet she has made, into making every wedding she works absolutely flawless, and making sure each couple has the wedding they’ve dreamt of.

I don’t know why I’m writing this. My mom didn’t ask me to, I just felt that I needed to. I think it’s really important that The Full Bouquet becomes more regular in my mother’s career again. I think it is important that you know what goes into Holly Chapple Flowers. Every single day my mother does even more to improve her business and innovate the wedding industry. In creating the Chapel Designers, she made the first ever network for wedding florists—these men and women have come together as friends, have taught each other, learned together, and offered help to one another whenever possible. When my father joined the team, my mother and he worked together to improve the business and make the clients happier. With design, pipe and drape, and lighting, my parents made another move to better her business and give her customers the best possible weddings.

Something amazing has happened very recently. My mother does whatever possible to make the best life for my siblings and I, for her students, and for her brides. The most recent business move she has made to improve life for my siblings and I, to help her students, and to make her brides happy, was the purchase of Hope Flower Farm. This beautiful 25-acre property my parents have decided to declare their own has the space for all of the flowers, the storage for the inventory, the buildings for lessons, and houses for guests to stay in. HOPE isn’t just some dream that my parents had that they made happen. Hope was destiny. When friends and designers saw Hope, before my family officially owned it, all they could do was encourage my parents. When people truly and completely know the story of my parents, the story of my family, and the story of Holly Chapple Flowers, Hope just seemed like fate. It was a part of my family’s path to find Hope, and to have Hope.

My mother has worked for so many others, and she has worked for my siblings and I—and in my opinion there is no one more deserving of Hope. I am telling you this story strictly because I want to. My mother doesn’t know I’m typing this. She doesn’t know I feel this way. I wanted to write this tiny summary of my family’s history so you could understand only a fraction of my mother’s kindness and strength. My family and our business have thousands of different facets that explain the way we work. We have succeeded and we have struggled, we have failed and we have pushed harder. Every single tiny thing that happens to us leads us to try harder and be kinder.  I think it would take me way longer than I could write to explain what my parents do for others. The beauty of my life today would be nothing without my mother and her work, my father and his. Hope is a big deal for my family, so was Chapel Designers, and Holly Chapple Flower’s beginnings were as well. The most important thing I want you to understand about this is that while Hope is my mother’s success—she does it for everyone else, and she shares her success with everyone who was gotten her there.

Holly and Hannah, 1994.

Holly and Hannah, 1994.

Hope Flower Farm, photo by Jodi Miller Photography.

Hope Flower Farm, photo by Jodi Miller Photography.



Hope

hope

hōp/

noun

noun: hope; plural noun: hopes

  1. 1.

    a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

    "he looked through her belongings in the hope of coming across some information"

    synonyms:aspiration, desire, wish, expectation, ambition, aim, goal, plan, design; More

    dream, daydream, pipe dream

    "I had high hopes"

  2. 2.

    archaic

    a feeling of trust.

verb

verb: hope; 3rd person present: hopes; past tense: hoped; past participle: hoped; gerund or present participle: hoping

  1. 1.

    want something to happen or be the case.

    "he's hoping for an offer of compensation"

    synonyms:expect, anticipate, look for, be hopeful of, pin one's hopes on, want; More

    wish for, long for, dream of

    "he's hoping for a medal"

    • intend if possible to do something.

      "we're hoping to address all these issues"

      synonyms:aim, intend, be looking, have the intention, have in mind, plan, aspire

      "we're hoping to address the issue"

Origin

late Old English hopa (noun), hopian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hoop (noun), hopen (verb), and German hoffen (verb).