THE PATRIOT LEDGER – To most people, a chandelier is just a light fixture; a bookcase a bookcase; a sink a sink.
But for Hanover’s Dana Roberts, they’re vessels waiting to be filled with soil, greenery and colorful blooms.
“I’m a collector of odd containers. I like anything unique and funky,” Roberts said. “I find things in stores, at flea markets, antiquing, on the side of the road. I can use anything.”
Roberts, a longtime florist, will open the Water Street Flower Farm in Hanover this weekend. A floral farm meets design studio meets educational center, the shop will grow blooms for cutting, teach classes on flower arrangement and gardening, host events and fulfill orders from a recently renovated outbuilding on her property.
Roberts has worked in the floral industry since 1990s. She cut her teeth at a popular floral shop on Beacon Hill and has since started her own business designing and installing container floral arrangements for businesses and private clients. Her patio installations are on display at Square Café and Previte’s Marketplace in Hanover.
“I capture the environment that I’m planting in by using unique plant materials,” Roberts said. “It’s subtle and natural. Nothing is ordinary or contrived. I have a flair that’s unique to me and each one is different.”
A longtime South Shore resident, Roberts moved to her Water Street home in 2015 and immediately started planting. She has flowers, bushes and trees galore, and this year added large flower beds to a front section of the garden. There, she’ll plant marigolds, cosmos, zinnias, snapdragons and more to serve her budding business.
“I was tired of going into the city to buy flowers and I hate mowing, so the plan will be to eventually replace 90% of the grass (in my yard) with flowers,” Roberts said.
Though she’s always gravitated toward containers for her floral arrangements − a chandelier with weeping moss and greens hangs from the ceiling of her studio − she said she’s come into her own with gardening in the last decade.
“I used to help my mom in the garden and think, ‘This stinks,'” she remembered. “You dig and you hit rocks and it’s hard, but she’d say, ‘You just wait,’ and she was right, I grew into it and I hope other people do too. … When you get older, you start to want to put things in the ground.”
The on-site studio will host workshops on arranging window boxes, designing bouquets and creating seasonal centerpieces, to name a few.
Water Street Flower Farm will host its opening-day event Saturday, May 6, at 176 Water St., Hanover. Visitors will be able to see sample Mother’s Day arrangements for preorder, peruse the workshop schedule and buy wildflower seedling kits and other seasonal gifts. Workshop discounts and gift cards will also be available.
By Mary Whitfill, The Patriot Ledger