By Michelle Christian
Sweetbriar Gardens was established in April 2011 after helping my sister create floral arrangements for her Virginia based floral business. In October 2010, I had the opportunity to work with her while traveling back and forth to Charlottesville to help with our ailing mother. I discovered that I loved to work with flowers. Although dried flowers do have their own set of challenges, I love the look, smell, and texture of them and the fact that they will last for years. The flowers I use are sustainably grown and prepared in the Willamette Valley, and shipped to me where I create arrangements. I can also make custom orders for weddings, celebrations or other occasions.
I wanted to start a business that represented something unique about Ashland. As Ashland is the home to the Shakespeare Festival, I thought dried flowers would be a harmonious fit since flowers are referenced in many of the works of Shakespeare. William Shakespeare used floral imagery to describe a wide spectrum of emotions. My hope is to reflect some of those emotions by offering the same timeless and loved flowers that were enjoyed during his era.
Flower herbs such as lavender, heather, sage, statice and saffron are offered at Sweetbriar Gardens either in bundles or in arrangements. One of the more popular herbs known as lavender has been used for over 2000 years. During the Victorian Era, lavender was used for virtually everything from cleaning floors to scenting bed linens. Victorian woman would use lavender filled Tussie Mussies as perfume. Lavender was found in almost every home and sold by the bundles on the streets. The popularity of lavender led to the commercial production of the flower and lavender remains ever popular today.
In addition to the dried flowers, Sweetbriar Gardens offers refurbished antique furniture. Our furniture is refurbished and repainted using earth friendly natural chalk and clay based paints. These clay based paints do not contain any latex or acrylics. The colors involve a wide variety of palettes that are focused on the natural organic home décor and traditions.
Sweetbriar Gardens is located at the Ashland Emporium in space #248.
“The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odor which doth in it live.”
William Shakespeare (Sonnet 54)