The day began early, around 5:30am. Late July in Cape May usually brings a misty heat, and this morning was no different. But the skies were clear, and sunlight gently filtered down onto the flower fields at Beach Plum Farm. There was work to be done.
Months ago, when the country was just beginning to grapple with the COVID pandemic, something caught Farm Agricultural Director Christina Albert's attention on Instagram. A designer named Lewis Miller (IG: @lewismillerdesign) was creating beautiful floral pop-up installations on the streets of Manhattan; little pockets of nature juxtaposed with cement and stop signs and subway entrances. They used real flowers, which meant they were designed to be temporary—enjoyed for a short time by passers-by who were lucky enough to discover them. He called these little installations Flower Flashes, and they became a social media hit.
Images @lewismillerdesign. All rights reserved.
Miller actually began creating Flower Flashes before the pandemic, but they took on a different meaning in these new times. Simple things—simple pleasures—seem to carry more importance, more beauty, more weight now. Miller's designs, placed outside of hospitals and healthcare facilities as thank-yous to frontline workers, weren't just floral displays. They were hope thrown in the face of despair.
This got Christina thinking: why not have our own little Flower Flash here, in Cape May?
"We thought we would offer a brief moment of joy to onlookers," Christina says. "We had a beautiful flower field this year and we wanted to share that beauty with everyone, not just those who wander our farm’s fields."
And so she began to put the plan into motion. Krystina Kennedy, General Manager of Beach Plum Farm, was instantly on board, and so were a few members of the farm's floral team. Early in the morning on a summer day of July 2020, the crew got to work collecting flowers from farm's field. They chose a gas light pole on Cape May's Perry Street as their setting, and once the harvest was complete, they trucked across town and began to decorate. The team moved like clockwork, and a couple of hours and hundreds of flowers later, Cape May's first-ever Flower Flash was up for all to enjoy.
Missed Beach Plum's Flower Flash in person? Don't worry—there are more in the works. "We plan on doing more as the opportunity finds us," Christina says. "They're a great way to show a little love to the Cape May community, and to hopefully make a few people smile as they walk through the streets of town. The beauty of flowers and nature is something we all share." ✯