In the years since Brad Lidge closed out the 2008 World Series for the Phillies, he and his wife, Lindsay, have established themselves in Boulder, Colorado, where Lindsay has become an advocate for the beauty and benefits of wildflowers and native flora. As the owner and grower of Reverie Fields, Lindsay designs bouquets and other floral offerings in keeping with local and native planting practices.
With the Lidges in town this week for Brad to throw the ceremonial first pitch before the Phillies’ narrow loss to fall behind 3-2 in this year’s World Series against the Houston Astros, Grid caught up with Lindsay about the work she’s been doing as part of the “Slow Flowers” movement and how it fits into a sustainable life — and, of course, a little baseball talk.
When you were in Philly, you and Brad were involved with the Food Trust and helped the organization and the Phillies build a strong relationship. How does your approach to food and nutrition reflect your broader approach to the environment and sustainability?
It’s so wild to think about the way we’ve been taught to think about things as individual separate pieces, like the way we eat and live is somehow separate from the Earth and its well-being. On some level we’ve all bought into the idea that “I’m separate and disconnected from you and everything else.” The truth is that there is no separation between any of us. The choices we make about everything — how we grow our food, how we live, the ideas we walk around with — all of these choices impact everything. The beauty is when we remember this way of being, it makes so much more sense than the way we’ve been doing things, and living closer to ways of harmony and making these choices becomes something you just want to be a part of.
How did you end up moving into the world of sustainable gardening and flowers?
We’ve made so much progress in the work around local, organic and Slow Food movements, but the discussion and awareness around U.S. flowers is far behind. The U.S. is one of the largest consumers of flowers in the world: 64% of this market is imported, mostly from South America. These flowers come with a huge carbon footprint — refrigerated air transport, sprayed with pesticides, often dipped in fungicides, think Valentine’s roses. They’re packaged with lots of plastic and have huge amounts of waste.
You could riff on any one of these issues but let’s just look at pesticides: In short, they hurt everything, from the minute organisms in the water systems to the soil that all plants and animals depend on. More and more of us are paying attention to the food we eat, how it’s grown and how it arrived on our tables, but not the flowers we give to our loved ones, that adorn our holiday tables and the ones we celebrate with.
I don’t know if you’re familiar with the story of the Meadows in South Philadelphia that developed over the last few years before work began, controversially, in the past few months to walk back the wild growth that took place there. What do you think wildflowers and untamed lands can offer from an ecological, environmental and experiential perspective?
I’m excited about any rewilding, both of our lands and our ways of thinking and being. This way of living with dominion over the lands, animals and peoples in this world is destructive to our species, all living beings and this gorgeous Earth we live on.
There is so much beauty, abundance and nourishment we are gifted with when we spend time in wild places. I learn so much about how to live from spending time in the woods. A couple times a week I go to one of my favorite trails to be with the plants, trees and animals there. I’m sure it sounds kind of out there for some people reading this, but if it does, give it a try. Go to a wild place and just sit with the trees. Pay attention to everything happening around you — the plants growing around the base of the tree, the sounds you’re hearing, the smells, the quiet. This is my meditation for sure. The presence and gratitude is undeniable and it totally shapes my way of being and experiencing everything.
What has your work with Reverie Fields taught you about local and native plants and their role in helping us build sustainable ways of living?
Working so intimately with the natural world only deepens my understanding of how abundant this Earth is with its gifts to us and all living things. And besides local flowers being a sustainable way, it’s also a million times more beautiful than imported flowers. We bring flowers into our homes because they’re gorgeous and it allows us to connect with the natural world in our homes.
When we choose local flowers and flora instead of imported ones, we’re more connected to the season and place around us. Lush red roses in Colorado in frozen February make no sense and only adds to our disconnection from nature. This year on our holiday table instead of imported flowers stiffly stuffed into floral foam, we’ll have gorgeous textural grasses and maybe some gourds we’ve grown. The inside of our home will feel like what’s going on outside our windows. You don’t have to be a florist to do this. Just head out to your yard and find something interesting to you — branches with a beautiful bend, some dried hydrangeas, whatever is interesting and beautiful to you.
With the World Series going on right now, I have to ask, what have you and Brad made of the Phillies’ unexpected playoff run this year?
It’s such a long season. They don’t say “it’s a marathon not a sprint” for nothing, and this team came together at the perfect moment. You can talk a lot about grit and digging in, which is totally true, but also I’d like to give a shout out to the fans here. There’s an undeniable advantage they give the Phillies when they step on the field. Being at the games and hearing that roar brings back so much for us. I think they’re the secret ingredient.
Given that Brad spent several years pitching in both Houston and Philadelphia, where does the Lidge family’s rooting interest lie for the World Series?
We spent nine years in the Houston organization and four with Philly. Having said that, without a doubt we’re cheering for the Phillies all the way! Our time here is and was golden. The way we all were embraced and treated like family by the fans, the incredible Phillies organization and the lifelong friends we made here are just tops. Go Phils!