Stepping inside Garden’s Path Floral Design is a satisfying experience. Blooms arranged in exquisite shapes and a seemingly unending spectrum of colours create a feeling of serenity. The fragrant smell of fresh cuts — garden roses, evening scented jasmines and mathiola, the subtleness of double freesias and muscari — looms in the air, stimulating your senses with pleasant recollections.
Inhale deeply, and your mood will lift. Many physiological responses are triggered by our sense of smell, so it’s no wonder that flowers convey messages of love, condolences, good tidings and congratulations. Above all, they’re synonymous with celebration, and for 23 years, owner John Schell has been in the business of celebrating life.
“I believe that nature makes our soul sing and brings peace and harmony to us,” he says. “So, it’s only fitting that the basis of my floral design is to bring that beauty of nature to life.”
Six years ago, Schell uprooted and transplanted his elegant flower boutique to the heart of Leslieville. Since then, Garden’s Path has blossomed into a beloved neighbourhood staple.
Part of the appeal of this Queen East shop lies in its aesthetic — the space itself is as pretty as the flowers it sells. At just 500 square feet, what the shop lacks in size it more than makes up for in show-stopping blooms with 30 to 50 varieties in rotation at any given time.
The variety is diverse at this Queen East florist: from delicate, petite bouquets to grand and bold arrangements, it offers a bit of floral chic for every taste.
Well regarded for special occasions, event and wedding floristry, Garden’s Path is perfect for a polished, smart and hand-tied bouquet for the spontaneous romantic or discerning loved one. The shop also has the perfect card or special accent to accompany its arrangements.
Expect a friendly smile, and quite possibly a lick from Sebastian, a chocolate-brown Labradoodle and resident mascot that can often be found wagging his tail around the shop.
CREATING A WHIMSICAL EXPERIENCE
Garden’s Path eschews the conventional, cookie-cutter market variety for a floral experience that is fresh, seasonal and custom-tailored to each client.
“We thoughtfully consider and arranged flowers to gift with the intention of inspiring and brightening,” John says. “Each arrangement is one of a kind; we strive to cultivate harmony and happiness through composition and colour. Selecting each bloom with the shifting of the seasons and working with you to strike the perfect balance and intention with each arrangement."
Quality and freshness are the top priorities for Garden’s Path. From local Ontario blooms to exotic imports, selection shifts with the season and premium flowers are carefully hand-picked (sometimes into the wee hours of the morning). This allows the shop to strike the perfect balance and intention with each arrangement. Replenished stock and proper conditioning mean the flowers here start fresh and may last up to two weeks.
“Textures, colour combinations as well as spirit and general feel of nature are what breathes life into my designs,” John says. “When you look at the way a flower grows, it either looks up and searches for the sunlight or bows to the clouds. Imitating nature is what I try to incorporate into my designs. There is nothing more perfectly in tune with our soul as nature.”
What sets Garden’s Path apart goes beyond fabulous flowers, and into friendly and personalized service. John says his shop’s client relationships are paramount and communication and education is key to getting things right.
“My thought with a custom design is that it will have ‘wow’ factor,” John says. “Trends evolve in the floral industry and as florists we play a role in this evolution. I either create a new trend and educate my clients or follow trends others have started and adapt them to my own design. Showing my clientele something new and exciting is a thrill.”
A PASSION FOR FLOWERS
Flowers mean a lot to Schell — after all, he’s devoted his life to perfecting the art of floristry.
“My love and passion for flowers started at a very young age,” he says. “I remember saying to myself when I was around eight years old, ‘when I am an old man I will work in a flower shop.’”
Little did he know the craft was very physically demanding.
“In my late twenties, I helped out a friend in his shop and quickly realized that working in a flower shop is hard work,” he recalls. “So, I shouldn't wait until I am an old man.”
The hard work paid off for Schell, as people took notice of his inventive arrangements and penchant for flower design. While working as a florist’s apprentice he studied the art of floral design and floral care through intensive courses in Montreal and throughout Quebec.
He eventually moved to Toronto, and in 1993 opened Garden’s Path on Mother’s Day of all dates, which became the fulfilment of a lifelong dream.
A BLOSSOMING COMMUNITY
While he loves working with flowers — his favourites alternate with each season from Amaryllis to parrot tulips, lilacs and peonies with viburnum and ranunculus to dahlias and celosia — what John enjoys most about working at Garden’s Path is interacting with his customers.
“You’ll find friendly local staff here at Garden's Path and this makes us part of the community,” Schell says. “We want to know our clients. Their likes and dislikes so we can surprise them and have something special in-store for them. Knowing our clients helps us with future orders and simplifies the process when repeat orders come in.”
“We always get as many small bites of information about the recipient or the occasion to be able to custom create the design to their liking. What style do they like or have at home — contemporary, traditional, bohemian? These are some of the points to consider before designing their display.”
Being a part of momentous personal events is one of John’s favourite parts of the job. He feels very connected to the story of each customer he works with, from the joys to the sorrows.
“I love Leslieville,” he says. “The friendliness of people, the pace, the food — everything. On a sunny day you can take a stroll down Queen Street East and will be greeted by smiles. I love that feeling.”
To order flowers or just ask a question about blooms, give John and the Garden’s Path Floral Design staff a call at 416-466-0116 or visit them online at gardenspath.com
Garden’s Path Floral Design is located at 983 Queen St. E. Hours are Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
This is a sponsored post brought to you by Garden's Path Floral Design. The opinions are those of GOODHOOD.