The Secret Garden was a favorite book of mine as a child. I was always the type of reader drawn to mystery and the title spoke to me as being special. Years later I can still imagine scenes from the book: the way the roses grew and bloomed everywhere-almost like magic. I adore roses and I attribute this adoration to that childhood classic.
There is a magic to be found at Emerald Petals, a floral shop tucked into a small shop on Mississippi Avenue in Portland, Oregon. The shop within a shop opens up with light shining in from above through a white chandelier accented with leaves. There are fragrant organic arrangements on every surface and any object is game to be used as a vessel for flowers and greenery.
Hilary, the floral designer and owner of Emerald Petals, created this verdant space that reminded me so much of that secret garden. I was as charmed by her pink novelty print dress as I was by her ability to artfully create arrangements as she and I talked.
“Jump in. Life is too short. There is no sense in spending your days not doing what you love”
Hilary always knew she wanted to do something organic and tangible, something using her hands. She liked plants and botany, but as she entered college felt she needed to do something more traditional. She realized, however, that a degree in psychology was not for her and left school.
A friend of hers worked at a flower shop in New Hampshire and helped Hilary get a job there. It was during this time, Hilary learned the ins and outs of running a floral shop and floral design. She found that she loved “playing in the dirt” and the tactile and visual world of flowers.
Hilary made the decision to move to Portland, Oregon and says that she was drawn to the Mississippi neighborhood. Hilary worked in Portland for a time before making the decision to open her very own floral shop. She has been on Mississippi Avenue ever since, and in her current space for over a year. “It was harder than I thought it’d be” Hilary says of starting out on her own. Still, she found the neighborhood supportive and was able to steadily grow her business. Not only did Hilary source and design flowers, but she also marketed Emerald Petals through cold calling and leveraging referrals. She was diligent and did everything on her own until she was able to bring on help. A second location is in the works and come this fall Emerald Petals will also be found inside of Providore, a food lovers market set to open on NE Sandy.
From using local flowers to using upcycled containers for vases, Hilary puts weight behind being part of the slow flower movement. She uses organic flowers and sources locally. Emerald Petals is branded as being an Eco Florist and conscientious sustainability is an important part of Hilary’s life.
“Jump in. Life is too short. There is no sense in spending your days not doing what you love”, Hilary said. This is simple enough advice, but trusting your feelings and having the resolve to build something is extraordinary in my book.
Emerald Petals is located inside Flutter at 3498 N Mississippi Avenue in Portland, OR
Visit http://www.emeraldpetalspdx.com to learn more
Written by Andrea Garrity
Photos by Angelina Lusetti and Andrea Garrity