York shop closes after 18 years – to customers’ dismay

Shutting up shop: Angela Ellis-Skelton, owner of Garden of Eden Florists. Photograph: YorkMix
30 Jan 2017 @ 7.06 pm
| Business, Shopping

One of York’s most colourfully creative businesses is to close after 18 years.

Garden of Eden Florists on Bootham shuts its doors for the last time on Tuesday (January 31).

It will allow owner Angela Ellis-Skelton to take a well-earned break. Since opening in September 1998 she has only closed the shop during normal opening hours once – and that was for her wedding.

“I want to spend a bit more time with the family,” Angela told YorkMix.

Floral tributes

Stig from Top Gear and an owl – two of the floral creations from Garden of Eden

As well as selling bouquets and supplying leading York hotels like the Grand and the Grange Angela and her team have designed unique floral tributes for many local funerals.

These have ranged from touching creations, like tractors and helicopters, to more off-the-wall commissions.

At a customer’s request, Angela once designed a floral tribute in the shape of a packet of 20 Benson & Hedges – with two cigarettes sticking out – and a can of Stella.

She also fashioned the word ‘Farty’ in flowers – it was the late gentleman’s nickname.

One of her long-time customers, David Beavers, has been buying flowers from Garden of Eden both for his family and for the York Burton Stone Lane Club where he is secretary for many years.

“It’s sad to see it go,” he said. “She’s always looked after us when we needed some flowers for a bereavement at the social club.”

Started at school

Two more blooming marvels

Angela said: “My customers have been really lovely. Some have been really sad that we’re closing – some have been a bit cross!”

She added that the competition had increased since she opened, with the supermarkets and shops like Next and Marks & Spencer moving into the flower market.

Her first foray into floristry came when she did a stint of work experience at well-known flower sellers Ward’s. Later she worked at Country Fair on Haxby Road and Metcalfe’s in Acomb before taking on Garden of Eden.

A floral fish

All remaining stock is being sold at bargain prices: see the shop Facebook page for more details.

Angela will continue working from home, fulfilling her wedding commitments. She is also considering hosting more flower arranging classes in future, which you can find out about here.

The shop is next door to former art gallery Priestley’s At No 36, which closed last October. No new tenant has yet agreed to move in.