Jami Plummer says feeling her hands in the soil and nurturing plants is what she’s meant to do.
“It’s my religion. It’s my church,” she said. “Sunday is rose day and I inspect and care for each one.”
After successfully creating flower arrangements out of her home for the past two years, Plummer opened Petal Hill Floral Studio in Eastsound on Feb. 4. Her shop is in the same space that housed the Nest, a plant and flower store, for years.
It all began at the start of the pandemic. Plummer, who grew up on Orcas and lives in Eastsound, had been running a successful cake business. With weddings on hold, she needed a new artistic outlet. Plummer chose to explore the gardening opportunities on her property and had a small planter box built for her dahlias. Then she put in three rose bushes.
After giving away arrangements to friends and family, demand for her colorful, creative bouquets grew. Plummer bought tools and acquired salvaged wood to build more planters to accommodate 40 rose bushes from Christianson’s Nursery and plants she purchased each week at Driftwood Nursery.
“I just bought a bunch of weird stuff. I didn’t know what I was doing, really,” laughed Plummer, who now tends to 71 rose plants on her property.
Inspired by the rocky terrain at her home, Plummer named her business Petal Hill. When Mindy Sonshine of Orcas Leather Goods asked Plummer to provide weekly arrangements for her store, she tried a variety of arrangements.
“She was my guinea pig and she gave me honest feedback,” Plummer said.
Cole Sisson of Doe Bay Wine Company and Roots noticed her designs and hired Plummer to outfit both of his businesses with weekly bouquets. This past summer, Nest owner Cindy Morgan, who had moved her services out of town and into her house, asked Plummer if she’d take over flower deliveries for the island so Morgan could focus exclusively on weddings.
Plummer knew it was time to get serious about her burgeoning business.
“My heart was already in flowers but not in a monetized way,” she said.
Her garden was not enough to keep up with islanders’ flower needs. After trying a few different suppliers, Plummer settled on Mayesh Wholesale Florists on Orcas Street in Seattle. Deliveries come three times a week by plane although Plummer has even boated over to San Juan to pick up delayed shipments in order to fulfill customers’ requests. Since September, she and her hired drivers have been delivering flowers all over the island.
When in season, flowers will also come from local farmers. Plummer will have a “featured farmer” each week at Petal Hill during the spring and summer.
“I want it to be collaborative — a cooperative flower hub,” she said. “It’s not a store, it’s a studio.”
Plummer says she is grateful to Morgan and Suzanne Morrissey of Peace and Plenty Flowers (which recently closed its doors) for their guidance.
“I’ve had these two incredible mentors,” she said. “It’s all happened so fast. I can’t believe I have a storefront in Eastsound. My vision is an outdoor flower market. My big dream is a 5-acre rose farm in Crow Valley.”
Petal Hill is open Thursday-Sunday or by appointment. The shop shares space with Blue Fern on Main Street. Plummer welcomes calls or texts at 360-622-9591 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of Plummer’s favorite aspects of the flower business is being a part of something special between two people, whether it’s for a birthday, a death or simply an “I love you.”
“What people say on the cards — you see so much care,” Plummer said. “Sending flowers is how so many people were taught to show care. It’s their instinct when something big happens in their life. It’s a love language.”