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The vernal equinox marked the beginning of spring Tuesday, but things have been blossoming in Old Town already for the last 10 weeks. In January, Brittany Simmons and her mother, Lisa Demankowski, opened Where the Wild Things Bloom, a full-service specialty flower shop/artisan goods store that carries locally grown plants, flowers and home décor items.
“We’ve really been looking forward to the arrival of spring and the potential it brings,” Simmons said. “As of right now we’re just enjoying our days and feeling thankful for the wonderful community we’re a part of.”
The 700-square-foot space is teeming with exotic flowers and succulents, but with gardening season almost here, the store’s inventory of heirloom seeds, soil mixes, gardening tools and pots has started to expand. There’s also a selection of handmade items fashioned from natural materials, including wool mittens, porcupine quill jewelry and beeswax candles.
“Everything we carry in the store is made by me, my husband, my mother or local creators,” Simmons said. “We’re lucky to have so many talented friends and gifted artistic people in the community.”
Simmons was introduced to floral design 13 years ago when she was in college. She’d been focusing on art and trying to find the medium that was the best fit for her when she discovered the field.
“Floral design proved to be a really enjoyable job and I quickly fell into it full time,” she said. “I've learned so much over the years working with other people. And then being exposed to a variety of good floral design mechanics and different elements over the years helped me develop a passion for contemporary styles.”
Simmons and her husband have a small farm in Bancroft where they maintain vegetable gardens and the greenhouse where she grows some of her plants. They also raise free-range chickens and honeybees; later this year, Simmons said she plans to add honey and beeswax to the store’s selection.
Where the Wild Things Bloom also offers adult workshops every Friday from 6-8 pm., with costs varying between $30- $40 per person based on the project.
“These are wine- and beer-friendly gatherings and everyone takes their completed project home when they’re finished,” Simmons said. “Current projects are floral designs, hanging wall planters and terrarium building, but we’ll be adding more as time goes on.”
Free or low-cost children's gatherings are also held every Saturday from 2-3 p.m. These events are designed to encourage mindfulness and familiarity with plants and flowers. The store specializes in wedding and special event designs, but can accommodate a wide range of arrangements pulling from Simmons’ base stock of orchids, bromeliads and succulents. Demankowski, an architect and “creative soul,” helps her daughter by curating projects and developing inventory.
“My relationship with my mother is amazing,” Simmons said. “I'm a lucky gal to have been raised by her. We’ve always enjoyed creating together. She’s the one who pushed me to take the risk and open the flower shop, which has allowed us to spend more time together and given us creative freedom with our workdays.”
Where the Wild Things Bloom 523 E. Grand River Ave. (Cesar E. Chavez Ave.), Lansing 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; Sunday by appointment only (517) 253-8519, wildthingsbloom.com