When the economy took a turn in 2008 Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua, the esteemed floral design studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn, first noticed the changes at the flower market. "The floral industry is one of the first to feel the blow of a weak economy," says Ryhanen who noticed that, "the unusual, weedy, wild stuff that I was so into and that made my work unique," had disappeared. She turned to local farms to supplement the loss, and even sourced flowers from as far as the West Coast. But when Ryhanen still couldn't locate favorites (unusual bearded iris, black hellebore...), she decided to just grow them herself.
That was when Ryhanen and partner Eric Famisan bought what is now called Worlds End, 107 acres of farmland located outside of Albany, New York. The two keep busy cultivating rare floral varieties from seed, tending to 19 chickens, raising an entire hellebore garden (a.k.a. living the dream), and feeding themselves from their kitchen garden. The main purpose of the farm? To supply "unusually beautiful flowers to our business, Saipua, and also to our friends who have flower businesses," says Ryhanen. For more information and upcoming events, visit Worlds End.
Above: The original barn and house date to 1825. Photographs by Sarah Ryhanen from Worlds End (unless otherwise noted).
Above: After the farm is producing enough yield to supply the store full-time, Ryhanen hopes to grow Worlds End into a center for the study of botanic arts.
Above: The 19 chickens on the farm belong to three breeds: Black Laced Wyandottes, Buff Orpingtons, and Arcaucanas.
Above: Eric Famisan, Sarah Ryhanen and city-to-farm dog Nea photographed by Jason Frank Rothenberg for Worlds End.
Above: Budding narcissus in the winter soil.
Above: Hellebores that were once highly coveted by Ryhanen; now she grows her on in a hellebore garden.
Above: The farm provides a moody backdrop for floral arranging.
Above: A kitchen vegetable garden runs alongside the flower farm.
Above: Homegrown squash.