Karly Huitsing knows plants. A Murillo, Ontario native, she has long been drawn to outdoor projects where she can get her hands dirty.
Growing up, she and her grandmother would spend hours together in the greenhouse amongst the flowers. Not only was she absorbing knowledge, a seed of interest in the natural world had been planted in her heart. Even after she moved to her own house, Huitsing continued to call and consult her grandmother about plants.
“My grandmother helped me a lot with different flowers to start out growing. We still spend hours on the phone talking about different varieties we are trying this year,” she says. “My interest slowly grew from there and I started to try arranging and making up bouquets. I fell in love with doing that because I was able to see the flowers I started from seed become these beautiful arrangements.”
Though moving off her childhood farm initially put distance between her and the outdoors, her kids ultimately brought her back to the lifestyle of her youth.
“I was working as a graphic designer for a few years out of college but found that sitting behind a computer was difficult with kids, so I was always trying to find something I could do with them alongside,” she explains.
As is the case with many residents on the North Shore of Lake Superior, once the natural world is part of your life, it’s hard to let it go. With her interest in gardening and plants reignited, her ideas kept growing. Three years ago, her desire to continue creative pursuits led to the development of her cut flower garden and floral business in the fertile Slate River, Ontario area, just outside of Thunder Bay.
From selling DIY Christmas arrangements to providing the flowers for numerous weddings, All in Bloom Florals stays busy throughout the year. She sells her products to the Thunder Bay area at local craft markets, some specialty grocery stores, and on her website.
“The biggest thing I have been basing my garden around is weddings, but I also do bouquets and arrangements and I dry flowers to do everlasting gardens,” Huitsing says.
Her everlasting gardens are unique flower displays that she has grown and dried herself. By placing each of the stems in their respective small holes drilled in a rectangular wooden board, every flower is exhibited prominently. She also has created everlasting wreaths that can be part of year-round decor.
For Huitsing, running her own small business with her family has had benefits beyond what she expected.
“This business has given me the opportunity to teach my kids to love working outside and getting their hands dirty,” she says. “My favorite memories are having my family in the garden with me. Those are always super special to me, watching my kids helping me plant or harvest.”
Forming a business is no small feat, and it doesn’t get any easier after that. Though she technically operates the business on her own, Huitsing is quick to share that she couldn’t be where she is today without help.
“My husband helps me get everything ready in the garden for planting and also keeps up throughout the summer. I also have an amazing friend from childhood who helped me all summer with weddings. Without Natalie Blekkenhorst, I don’t think I could have gotten through the summer,” she says. “I am so thankful for all my friends and family who have been super supportive and helpful during these first years of business.”
While her business and family already keep her busy, Huitsing has no plan to slow down any time soon. Planning her garden for this upcoming summer began in August of last year, when she ordered most of her seeds. She’ll spend the next few pre-planting months visioning and laying out the garden.
Like her garden, she also has plans to grow.
“I have planned to build a larger greenhouse for starting my plants as well as a spot to work during the winter, so I am very excited for that,” she says.
More information about All in Bloom Florals can be found online at: aibflorals.com.