Bee has told me the story of how she decided to open The Gardener's Cottage many times and I always love hearing it. It never fails to make me laugh, mainly because I can just picture it so perfectly. For those of you who know Bee, this won't surprise you at all...
Bee Sieburg and her husband Dick moved to Asheville, NC in 1997 from St. Louis where she owned a very busy flower company called Wildflowers. Exhausted from the flower business and ready to relax, Bee had no intention of opening another company... but she also did not intend on driving by a charming English tudor cottage with a "FOR RENT" sign in front of it. Thinking what a wonderful flower shop that would make, she pulled into the parking lot saying to herself "you fool, you fool, you fool!" Shortly after she'd rented herself the building and The Gardener's Cottage was underway. No rest for the weary.
Five years later my sister moved to Asheville and began working for Molly and Bee and would do so for the next two years. After graduating college in 2003, I moved to the area as well and decided to switch paths and enroll in pastry school. It wasn't long after that the opportunity presented itself to take over the shop. Bee decided that after 7 years of being in the flower business again, she really was ready to relax and with Molly expecting her first child, the timing just seemed right. In 2004, it was a done deal. Continuing on with pastry school in the beginning, I would get up early, go to class and then come into the shop in my chefs uniform...sending a confusing message to customers I'm sure. Three years later, my sister and her husband Tosh moved home to Pensacola, FL to start their family and I decided to stay on and run the shop. Fast forward 12 years later and here we are! I'm so grateful for the continued support and loyalty of our customers. Never did I see myself becoming a flower shop owner and doing weddings (and the like) but I am so thankful I got to learn all of this and realize how much I love it.
My wonderful family
"Big Nance" headed up our flower crew for about the first 3 years we owned the business and did such a fantastic job. She taught me so much (still does) and is a big part of our flower crew today.
I don't know WHAT I'd do without Alice! Alice makes the shop feel like home. She does the work of 3 people. It's not easy keeping that shop in order and clean..and she works nonstop to make it happen.
My mom serving up one of her signature pound cakes at the holiday open house. Always willing to help out whenever she's in town...and the holiday open house just would not be the same without her.
Donna and Worthy coming by for a visit. We love when they (and Junebug) stop by.
The immensely talented Dan, who makes a bunch of really cool things for the shop. He's a true artist. I call him the shop's guardian angel because he seems to show up right when we're really needing some help with something. i.e. flower emergency.
Always love seeing these two come through the door. Mack and Yvonne Day.
My sweet niece, Hannah, gathering flowers with me at Flying Cloud Farm. Family affair.
Lucky to know this one! Sayre Meyer "Sayrebear"
It's hard to believe that it has been 12 years since my sister Laura Belsinger and I took over the shop and 19 years since Bee Sieburg and Molly Courcelle decided to open it in the first place. I am so grateful for the friendships made over the years and the wonderful people I've met because of this place!
Celebrating ten years of owning the shop in 2014
Bee Sieburg, original owner and Libby Endry
The Shop Family
It takes a village to run a flower/garden shop and I feel so fortunate to have had the most wonderful and dedicated people find The Gardener's Cottage through the years. I am going to flood you with pictures now of these special souls and long time friends of the shop. A trip down memory lane...I couldn't find pictures of everyone but here's a whole lot...
This lovely lady, the always smiling Barbara Boylan, worked with us in the early days for about 3 years. Lots of laughs with this one...she always brought such energy and enthusiasm to the shop, as well as the best king cakes every year for Mardi Gras.
Love this pic...Barbara's husband Robin, lending us a hand getting ready for an event...with a Starbucks in hand no less. (And in work clothes) See, it really does take a village!! Love the Boylans.
The one and only Erica Mehan Johns, my wonderful friend, confidante and in this picture "wedding organizer". I literally hired her from the top of the stairs in the stairwell frantically getting ready for the holiday open house. Just had a good feeling.
Telia Blackard has been family of the shop since the beginning when Bee and Molly owned it. She found exquisite antiques for the shop, having been in the antique business for years in New Orleans. Telia is a special friend and one of my very favorite people.
My sis, who came in town and helped on this wedding and Martha, who heads up our flower team.
Martha Collett has been my flower confidante for over 7 years now and is always there to help me brainstorm and execute events. We've had the good fortune to have some fun adventures and "flower field trips" together and always have a great time in the process. Here's to many more!
Martha and I doing flowers at Highpoint Furniture Market.
Our awesome neighbor Nate, who helped us by playing bartender at Bee's Meet the Artist party.
Doug Kriek, our accountant who helps out with a lot more than the books!
Brenna Smith and Bee Sieburg
Martha, Elizabeth and I
taking a break from constructing a wedding.
My co pilot Cricket, always along for the ride and always seems to find just the right spot at the shop when she knows it's going to be a long night. Funniest dog award.
Cricket prefers a box of moss for a bed. Always has.
Another wedding...recruiting flower crew all the way from Florida. Took a long time to clean up this studio.
It's that time of year again when you can enjoy blooming branches inside your home! Nothing brings the outside in like blooming branches and they're very easy to force.
Simply look for branches that have lots of buds on them. This indicates they are sufficient to be forced.
Then cut to desired length.
If the stems are especially fibrous or large I either cut a slit into the stem or crush the ends of the stem with a hammer to help them absorb the water faster.
Next, place in very warm water.
We are currently forcing peach and forsythia at the shop. Next up cherry and apple, even dogwood. Dogwood can be a little finicky in water and even though it's given me a few scares over the years when needing them for an event, it is still one of my favorites. That's nature for ya.