If there were ever an ideal place to have a floral shop, it would be at Sneed’s Nursery. A Richmond institution as well as a hidden gem, outfitted from all angles with colorful flowers and foliage, thousands of plant varieties, as well as pots and garden accessories of all shapes, colors, and sizes, Sneed’s invokes the ultimate sense of calm and tranquility.
“Every day I’m able to feel connected with the seasons and with nature, and it’s a feast for the senses,” says the passionate Kristi Hord, owner of Flower Girls, the floral shop on premises. Flower Girls, which focuses on providing arrangements for weddings and events, has also been creating the gorgeous bouquets which decorate Can Can Brasserie for the past eight years. They have been in business since 2006, but only recently moved to Sneed’s in January.
A passion for flowers and for using them as a medium to create stunning pieces of art has always been a part in Kristi’s life. “I see it as a way of self-care and connecting to the Earth,” she affectionately remarks. The joy it brings to her is evidenced not only by the stunning pieces she produces, but also by the way her eyes light up as she talks about her business.
Kristi’s interest developed as she was growing up, through observing her step mom create the arrangements for their church and for special events. Her step mom also kept a lovely garden and learned much of what she knew through her mentor, an experienced gardener named Polly. Kristi amiably looks back at Polly and her step mom’s time together as special and serene, and much of her love for flowers and nature blossomed from observing this relationship.
Similarly, Flower Girls’ lead floral designer Dana Cooper’s infatuation for the craft was also established at a very young age. She fondly remembers being eight years old and living near a woman who had an abundant garden with a wide variety of flowers. “I loved them so much that I picked every single one of them and took them home…and when my mom found out, I had to take all the flowers back to the lady and apologize.” Luckily for Dana, she is now able to pick flowers around Sneed’s at her own leisure, and often goes to the garden for inspiration when she feels that a piece needs a special touch.
Being located at Sneed’s, which is the only garden center in the Richmond area that focuses on sustainable practices and organics, has allowed Flower Girls to incorporate more flowers from local growers into their creations. They work with unique flowers from all over the world, including Holland and Canada, but much of what they use comes from growers in places such as Powhatan, Warsaw, and Blackstone.
What truly makes Flower Girls unique is their ability to employ the natural growth around them at Sneed’s. “We get to use so many different types of flowers and foliage by being located at the Nursery. We fall in love with the plants and flowers that we buy for our gardens, which we also cut from,” says Kristi. Using the gardens as their main source of inspiration, she and Dana take joy in implementing different colors, textures and fragrances to bring their arrangements to life. Everything they create is made with care, and they take pride in being able to understand their customers’ visions, and make them even better than they had imagined.
In regards to the future, it looks very bright for both Sneed’s and for Flower Girls. This weekend, Sneed’s is launching a gift registry for weddings, holidays, and other special occasions, and in a few months they plan to start building a learning center in which events and classes will be held. Kristi also hopes to eventually grow more cut flowers, and to continue to build the business while being environmentally conscious. “I just feel very very lucky to have a job where I can serve my community and establish great relationships with my clients. We’re very fortunate to be at Sneed’s, and I’m excited to be a part of the growth here,” she adds.
With the two businesses being able to work together so harmoniously, it seems inevitable they they will both blossom beautifully