From forgotten and forlorn to blooming with bliss, the Cambridge School of Flowers in the Galt section of Cambridge has reinvented the alley space beside their shop in an effort to help keep their doors open amid COVID-19 restrictions.
The community response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“A crazy reaction so far! People, I love when I see them walking by and they do that rubber neck thing when they you know, notice the tree,” said Elaine Martin, the owner of Cambridge School of Flowers.
The trees, evergreens, mini ferns, wreaths are all holiday themed. The space has been dubbed the Allée which is French for alley.
The alley gives customers the chance to shop safely outside, but it has also provided Martin the opportunity to give back.
She met Alex, a young man living with schizophrenia back in May. The two struck up a conversation that changed both of their lives.
“He was looking for us to support him financially and I said I have a better idea, do you know how to water plants? And he said I do. And he said well when do you want me to come? I said how about tomorrow at 11a.m., and he was here at a quarter to 11 and he comes every week and we pay him,” said Martin.
This hidden gem has become a source of inspiration for the community during the pandemic, hosting everything from engagements to elopements, and even graduation photos. Martin said it’s an opportunity to walk by and escape into something enchanted.
“I am absolutely delighted by it. It feels like you’ve walked into Paris when we come into this alley way, its crazy good,” said Claire Skinner, a Galt resident.
“With the pandemic I’m doing less photo shoots in my studio and indoors and looking for more beautiful places to shoot outside. When I was pulling up for the very first time, I couldn’t believe that this existed on this block,” said Lindsay Coulter, a local photographer.
Proceeds from professional photo shoots in the alley are donated to the local food bank.
Heading into the winter months, the flower shop Allée will stay open offering up a little escape at Water and Main.