From the outside, 1330 Solano Avenue looks like a classic flower shop. But walking deeper and deeper into the store, it becomes something else. Flowerland has been in Albany for 72 years. Owned by Berkeley High School (BHS) graduate Carly Dennett, the nursery, which doubles as a store, has a new approach to selling and displaying flowers and succulents. Sunny Linvill, a botanist who works at Flowerland said, “Instead of … lining plants up so you can walk and see each plant at one time, we really try and create inspiring spaces that emulate and imitate what you might create in your own backyard.” Flowerland is situated in an urban environment, so Linvill has to be clever about how to use the space. Linvil added that the staff “have to do a lot with a little” in order for Flowerland to serve as an escape from an urban environment.
Linvill is a manager, which means she helps the owner of the store run the staff as well as tend to the plants. “It’s pretty hard work. We keep a very calm environment, and it is a very beautiful environment, so we kind of look like we work in a very chill space, but in reality it’s a lot of work. Everything about our job changes with the change of the seasons,” said Linvill.
Griff Hulsey is a horticulturist and has been working at Flowerland for about two and a half years. “I came there because I really liked the place, I had scoped it out before [when] I was working at another nursery at the time. It was a good match,” he said.
Hulsey said that Flowerland employees “put things together and arrange the plants in a way to constantly reimagine the ways that you work with them and put them together.” Unlike other nurseries and stores, Flowerland organizes their plants based on their needs, such as the amount of sunlight they need, the amount of water, or type of soil, whereas standard stores line their flowers up alphabetically.
To attract customers, they also have Highwire coffee shop operating out of a truck on the property. Flowerland appears to be very invested in the community; while not only serving as a quiet, peaceful place in the clutter of city life, they also sell Christmas trees over the holidays, and a percentage of the Christmas tree profits are donated to BHS. In fact, several employees are BHS students.
Whether you are interested in plants and gardens, want somewhere calm and beautiful to go, or just a cup of coffee, Flowerland is an oasis of serenity and composure.