Mother Knows Best

Democrat Herald:

Paula Gardner took her advice and opened Isabella’s Garden

It’s usually a good idea to do what your mother tells you. Following mom’s advice certainly led to good things for Paula Gardner.

“She told me to do something with the garden. I’m glad I did,” Gardner said.

The garden that she began eight years ago while caring for her mother, Lillian Lauenstein, has become even more personal since she opened her business, Isabella’s Garden, in June.

Named partly for a curious rabbit that visited her garden and partly for Isabella Gardner, an outspoken turn-of-the-century social leader and art collector, the floral design and gift shop combines her two loves – planting and fine arts.

“I started out in art and did some shows but I’ve been involved in all aspects of gardening for 30 years,” said Gardner, who runs the shop from her home. “I started this on a whim after mom passed away.”

She said that putting her two talents together has worked well. She creates original floral designs for individuals and events and also has order-in florals available for what she can’t grow herself.

Most of her product comes directly from her three acre garden designed and planted from scratch in 2000.

“I did the terracing, stone work and all the digging and planting myself,” she said. “It was meant to be a working garden. I planted it with floral arranging in mind.”

In just over a month, she has expanded her floral shop to include gifts, but it is the flowers that bring her the most pleasure.

“I love to design for specific orders…to learn about people and then build an arrangement for them,” says Gardner.

Designs can be as small as hand bouquets or as large as patio pots. Gardner has experience in wall decoration and patio design. She says she can create something for every price range.

Help comes from her fiance Brian Olson and her son Charles, who provides photography. A new website was designed by Brian’s 17-year-old son Matt. Her oldest son William is now in Australia after serving in Afghanistan. She gets day-long companionship from her 10-year old dog Sydney, who also models.

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