Monday, November 23, 2009

Art, Flowers, and Velvet Pumpkins

One of the things I so love about Fredericksburg is the abundance of creative people who have chosen to live here. I can count shop after shop of individuals who have a special gift for creating their own niche in our wonderful town.
While Main Street is the obvious locale for a lot of these special spots, I continue to stumble upon "hidden treasure". One of my favorites is Sprout, created by Michelle Hodges and Rhoda Reynolds. Sprout is not hidden by any means, but has evolved over the last few years and is now tucked into a wonderful old German house just a block off of Main Street.

Peeking in the door, one can see beautiful fresh flowers and wonderful vignettes of vintage accessories and local art.

I love the mix of vintage items, art, gifts, and flowers, each in beautiful composition.

My favorite
find on the day I visited were the velvet pumpkins, made with with gorgeous velvet and real pumpkin stems in an array of yummy colors.

I love the colors, with names like harvest, merlot and rose.

Without further ado, I'd like to share my visit with Michelle, one of the two creators of the wonderful Sprout.

Cute Michelle, working on a custom arrangement, was most accommodating and happy to share her story!

When did you first begin selling flowers? What was the original concept and will you describe the setting you began with? (I am thinking of those days I would see you or Rhoda sitting on the porch swing next door to the Peach Tree, but that may have not been the beginning....)

Sprout began in 2005 as a simple flower stand that was open a few days a week--initially on the porch of a vacant building and later in the courtyard outside Rather Sweet bakery. Both settings were quite picturesque, but only when the weather cooperated.

How did the original concept develop?

I've always been inspired by the appreciation Europeans have for fresh flowers. Even in the poorest countries, it is customary to take flowers when going to some one's house for a meal. I love the idea of seeing them almost as an essential part of daily life rather than a luxury. This appreciation has led to some incredible flower shops as well. I lived in England for a bit and in the nearby market town, which was similar in size to Fredericksburg, there were three flower shops within two blocks of the High Street--each very unique and very busy.

How has the concept grown over the years and what other services/products do you provide?

A flower stand has its limitations, so when a space became available, we expanded into more of a flower market which enabled us to carry more product and eventually we added gift items as well. The first week we were open, we were asked to book a wedding and that has now become a large part of our business as well as offering arrangements for special occasions and events.

How did you begin having art shows in the shop?

We have always had art on display at Sprout. It was just part of the aesthetic that I wanted in the shop. When Fredericksburg began promoting a monthly art walk, we joined in. We don't necessarily have a show every month, but we have had six in the last year and I've really enjoyed seeing them come together. Most of the artists have been local and I love being part of such a creative community.

What is your favorite part of the business?

It has to be shopping for the flowers. Yes, its about the customer and the end product, but going into the flower cooler always makes me happy. This may sound a bit cheesy, but I once saw a movie where Christian Slater delivered flowers. When asked why, he said because of the expression on the people's faces when they opened the door--that's pretty good too.

Are all of your customers local?

walk-in customers tend to be local, but most of our wedding business tends to be people from out of town. Fredericksburg has become quite a popular place for destination weddings.

Sprout is also available for custom arrangements and multiple flowers for special events, be it a small dinner party or a huge fiesta! Love the flowers shown here.........

Sprout filled tin cans from a Mexican grocery store for a Mexican themed dinner party.

Aren't they fun!

Of course, with access to this fabulous old rock building, Michelle couldn't let the upstairs go unused, so true to her creative nature, she opened the most charming bed and breakfast, called, what else? Flowerbed!

For more information click here.

Thank you so much, Michelle, for sharing the story of Sprout with me.

Oh............and did I mention that a few velvet pumpkins came home with me? Just perfect for the season, don't you think?


  1. Loving the velvet pumpkins and a bed and breakfast named Flowerbed? perfect!!

  2. Hi Ann! The post looks great! I hope Friday helped! I need some of those velvet pumkins, too!

  3. Those pumpkins are gorgeous and they look so wonderful on your table.
    Blessings and best wishes this Thanksgiving, Natasha.

  4. Sprout looks great! Today I saw a florist put an arrangement in a real pumpkin. It looked fabulous. I love the velvet on them...great ideas for next year.

  5. I just saw this Ann--thanks so much for the lovely feature and your table looks fantastic!

  6. Ann, My name is Monya and I am the Artist who created your velvet Pumpkins. It is always fun to see how people display them in their home. WOW!! I love what you have done, and every detail of your dining room from the chairs to the table runner are amazing. I look forward to working with Michelle next season and sending her some new colors to add to your collection
    Thanks for the nice write up on her shop and including my Pumpkins

  7. Love those velvet pumpkins -how cute!! Happy Thanksgiving. Michele

  8. I can promise some of those velvet pumpkins would have made it home with me also! Lovely! I use to live in New Braunfels (now Tyler) and visited Fredericksburg. A truly enchanting little town full of charm!

  9. I too love those velvet punkins' and you can just pack them up and send them my way!
    And thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving such a wonderful long comment. You have an keen eye for detail, both for design and on the subject of men :-)
    Hope you had a wonderful TG!
    xo xo

  10. The velvet pumpkins are adorable! I want one in every color!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I am thrilled that you found me through Laura Casey and was happy to hear we have that same university connection...just sent my college student back at 5:45am this morning!

    Drop me an email note when you can as I would love to compare design, business and college notes with you!

    My best,

  11. Can't wait to check out Sprout! Looks darling and those velvet pumpkins are too precious!

  12. Thanks so much for letting me know about Sprout. Although I'm practically local, being only 20 miles away, it's amazing how much gets past me!

  13. What a great shop! I haven't been to Fredericksburg in years...... I need to go.....
    Loved the velvet pumpkins,,, and the flowers in the Mexican fruit cans.......

  14. Hey, Ann. So great to get re-connected. Your blog is great and you have a lovely home.



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