Au­drey Flan­ders’ growth mind­set

Dart­mouth’s new trop­i­cal shop has its eyes on the green thumbs.

The Coast - - SHOPTALK - BY AL­LI­SON SAUN­DERS

Afew days be­fore Christ­mas, Au­drey’s Lit­tle Shop of Plants (104 Port­land Street, the for­mer home of Bodega Bou­tique)— a sweet spot for trop­i­cal plants and ex­pert ad­vice on keep­ing them alive—bloomed in down­town Dart­mouth. It was a quiet ar­rival but the oa­sis, and its owner Au­drey Flan­ders, are more than ready to get grow­ing.

“I’ve been in hor­ti­cul­ture my whole life,” she says. “I worked in green­houses, gar­den cen­tres, land­scap­ing.” She also ran her own shop in Toronto, Stamin and Pis­til Botanti

cals, be­fore mov­ing to Nova Sco­tia last spring where she honed a pas­sion and ex­per­tise in trop­i­cals. “When I was kid every­one had trop­i­cal plants and now it’s com­ing back to that,” says Flan­ders. She calls her bou­tique more of a plant spa than any­thing. That’s be­cause Au­drey’s Lit­tle Shop isn’t just a place to find weird and won­der­ful green­ery and planters— think aloes, snake plants, string of pearls and suc­cu­lents—but a spot to res­cue and re­new the plants you al­ready own. Flan­ders is happy to help cus­tomers di­ag­nose and deal with is­sues their house plants are hav­ing, as well as trans­plant, prune or clean them.

“For me it’s more about hav­ing a store for every­one. Plants are staged a lot in mag­a­zines and stuff, some­times they’re not vi­able, they don’t grow that way,” she says. “We take in plants from other stores and I don’t even care as long as I can fix it.”

Aim­ing to sell beau­ti­ful things at af­ford­able prices—and sow her ex­per­tise all through your in­door gar­den—Flan­ders is bring­ing in lots of hard-to-find trop­i­cals, mix­ing up spe­cialty soils and of­fer­ing pub­lic classes in ter­rar­i­ums, moss ball planters and plant care.

She says while right now suc­cu­lent and rain­for­est plants are hav­ing a highly-In­sta­grammable mo­ment, peo­ples’ love for them isn’t a new thing, or trend that’ll fade. That’s why Au­drey’s Lit­tle Shop of Plants wants to help peo­ple pick plants that they can help thrive eas­ily. “It has a lot to do with be­ing able to watch some­thing grow, hav­ing some kind of liv­ing thing near you. Every­one should be able to have beau­ti­ful things.”

RACHEL MC­GRATH

Less bou­tique than plant spa, Flan­ders says “every­one should be able to have beau­ti­ful things.”

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