A Sanctuary for Flowers and Their Admirers

Photo Karen Graham.
Cosmos is one of the prolific summer blooms at The Floral Sanctuary.

Don’t assume that because The Floral Sanctuary is a business inspired by a dream about flowers that owner Shannon Van Denbroek is a romantic wearing rose-coloured glasses.

She is in fact a realist who brings her extensive experience in inventory management to her new venture.  With fond memories of growing flowers with her grandmother, Shannon is taking careful, practical steps, exploring the possibility of following the adage: do what you love.

Last year, she and her husband purchased a 28 acre property on Moore Drive that had all the ingredients for her to do just that. In addition to the requisite house and garage, a shed located a short walk behind the house required minimal effort to make it suitable for the new floral business.  This spot also faced large fields and meadows beneath a string of hydro towers.

Despite their realtor’s hesitation about this feature, Shannon saw this location as ideal for her purposes, allowing her to convert an area that had already experienced significant human intrusion into a beneficial ecosystem sitting comfortably beside meadows filled with native plants and pollinators.  To preserve the environment, only organic growing practices are used.

The business is developing with a minimal overhead.  Annual seeds sourced from a variety of reputable suppliers were ordered, focusing on varieties with later season blooms to give her time to find some customers.  Some landscape fabric, a back-pack sprayer for watering and a few shelves and vases were all that was required to get started.

Shannon’s colour choices are on the bold side and her flowers include colourful zinnias, cosmos, marigolds and sunflower varieties that don’t produce pollen.  Some flowers have been selected because they work well in dried arrangements, which will extend her season, including globe amaranth, celosia and strawflower.  These are not the drab dried flowers of the 80’s but modern varieties that retain their brilliant colour.  More varieties will be added next season, along with large swaths of perennials.  New beds will be extended along the hydro corridor extending west.

While Shannon sensed an appetite for flowers in the community, as a business person she recognizes the need to build a regular clientele.  To that end she has begun building bridges with local funeral homes, event organizers and restaurants who might provide regular business and is considering joining the farmers’ market next season.

If you are interested in brightening someone’s day with some fresh local flowers, fresh local blooms is an inexpensive luxury to brighten the day of someone special.  To learn more about this business, visit www.thefloralsanctuary.com or contact Shannon at 1-416-553-2682. KG

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