Flamingo Road Nursery owner Jim Dezell is used to the surprise on people's faces when they come to the nursery for the first time. "People commonly come in and say, ‘Wow, I never knew there was a garden center like this,’" he says. Maybe they're wowed by the park-like landscaping, complete with display gardens designed to inspire shoppers with ideas for plant combinations. Maybe they're blown away at the fountains, statues, and thousands of pieces of pottery. Or maybe they've just seen the pond surrounded by colorfully painted "shops" and palm trees. It's a "true experience" that's as much about shopping as it is about creating "memory and traditions", wrote Today's Garden Center in 2011, when it picked Flamingo Road Nursery as the most revolutionary garden center in the nation.
In addition to helping shoppers navigate the selection of flowers, trees, and other plants, the knowledgeable staff can also help them complete landscaping projects with outdoor artwork, waterfalls, and more. "It's professional advice here," says Jim. "We really try to understand our customers' needs and offer solutions that will both excite them and provide long-term enjoyment." He even recommends people bring in dimensions and photos of their space so the staff can get a better idea of what will grow well there. Flamingo Road Nursery offers delivery and complete installation services. Other garden-centric items, such as fountains and colorful adirondack furniture, give customers more chances to enjoy their outdoor living spaces.
The nursery also hosts an on-site Farmers Market shop, which hosts a large assortment of fresh fruits, vegetables, and artisan foods—some of the produce is even picked at the nursery itself. On the weekends, a beekeeper visits the store to explain how bees make honey to visiting kids, using the in-store observation beehive as a teaching tool. On Saturdays and Sundays, authentic southern BBQ including pulled pork, sausage, chicken, and ribs that have been slowly smoked for 5–10 hours are served under the giant tiki hut. The nursery holds seasonal celebrations as well, including an annual fall festival with pumpkin patch and a Christmas festival replete with sleigh rides, Santa visits, and a Christmas tree forest.
Some of Donn F. Flipse's earliest memories are of him wielding a broom, sweeping up the fallen petals and snipped-off stamen that have gathered around the feet of the floral designers at his family's flower shop. Eight-year-old Donn eventually moved up in rank, escorting arrangements to their destinations in the delivery truck as soon as he got his license. When he graduated college, he almost turned his back on the flower business his father and his grandfather built, but after mentoring under one of the shop's floral designers, he realized, “It was in [his] blood.” In 1990, he opened Field of Flowers in Davie.
The rose, he says, continues to be the most popular flower, although different breeds take the crown every so often—the current favorite is the garden rose, a throwback blossom like what might flourish in a well-tended backyard. Donn's favorites are the rose-like lisanthius and the Canterbury bells, which look delicate but are sturdy and long lasting, much like a quarterback who takes ballet classes.
Field of Flower's team of designers compose striking arrangements using popular flowers as well as rare blooms such as orchids or birds of paradise. The team also crafts design pieces for celebrations, with past creations including a french poodle sculpted from flowers and a Spongebob Squarepants–themed arrangements in which blue gel simulated the ocean, submerging plants in an under-the-sea wonderland.
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