Utah Stories

Babs in the City: Petal it Forward

Utah may be a desert, but the flowers still bloom.


2751462767_dfa24f4e69_zKindness comes in many forms. I know, it may have been hard in this past election season, full of absolute, unadulterated meanness, to sift out kindness from all the B.S. that fell from the sky. But kindness is delivered every darned day, often by florists, on behalf of lovers, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, kids and cousins, friends and neighbors.

Last month, a friend of mine who owns Especially for You, participated in the national Petal it Forward Day. She and her staff made up 100 bouquets and handed them out to strangers downtown. Once a stranger accepted the unsolicited gift, they were given a second bouquet and told to ‘petal it forward’ to someone else to make their day a little happier. Damn, Daniel, that’s sweet!

When the ol’ pioneers landed in our fair territory, they didn’t find natives selling posies to any Joe, Dottie or Brigham on every street corner. Way back then you had to make do with picking wildflowers or planting bulbs, trees or seeds you brought in your hand cart. For a time, it was a thing to make flowers out of your own hair or the hair of a deceased loved onea morbid craft project at best. You can go to our very own Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Memorial Museum and see examples of these rare pieces of historic art.

Railroads helped increase access to plants, and at the turn of the last century you could find a variety of greenhouses selling things like Boston ferns (they were all the rage in homes back then) in Salt Lake City.  

Huddart Floral opened in 1887 in Salt Lake City, and they are now the oldest family-run florist in Utah. Art Floral downtown is a second generation business catering to city residents and the Greek community. Moab’s Flowers by Jerry has been around since the 1960’s, and Provo’s Jeppson’s, formerly known as Knudsen’s, has also been around for a long, long time. Marci and her husband at Especially for You, are celebrating 30 years downtown, and Ensign has been selling flowers wholesale since 1955.

We love our nature and flora in this state. In 1930, Dr. Walter Cottam, co-founder of the Nature Conservancy, and past chair of the Botany Department at the U of U, was honored for his work by our own Utah Legislature, who recognized the landscape he planted at the school as the State Arboretum. In 1983, Ezekiel Dumke and Richard Hildreth helped get 100 acres donated to the U, and thus, Red Butte Garden and Arboretum was created, which many of you know as a kick-ass concert venue in the summer time.

Grocery stores now sell fresh flowers and bouquets. Florists create masterpieces. Support your local flower artist and petal it forward yourself this Thanksgiving.

Babs De Lay: Broker Urban Utah Homes & Estates image002

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