by Thérèse Chapman
AFO Guest Writer
Nestled in the walkway of West Seattle apartment complexes and restaurants resides Our Secret
Garden—a small niche filled with custom antique pieces and unique floral arrangements. Inside, shop
owners Alonzo Fernandez and David O’Connell take pride in creating artistic pieces where pops of
purple and green befriend driftwood towers and caverns.
“All people love flowers,” says a smiling Fernandez. “They are special in all different cultures; they
represent love and caring.” His favorite flower, an orchid, brings back a fond memory from Fernandez’s childhood in Mexico where one Mother’s Day his father brought home an orchid for his mother, a rare find in that region. Since then, Fernandez has held onto this flower’s beauty as a favorite.
O’Connell on the other hand favors a tropical flower called Birds of Paradise. “They have a big bloom
and lots of different colors,” he says, pulling up a picture on the shop’s computer to have a look. It’s an exciting looking flower, and safe to say it matches the man’s entrepreneurial spirit.
But flowers aren’t the only treasure here. A reupholstered blue sofa, bronze and crystal lamps, and statuettes also adorn the shelves of Our Secret Garden, complemented at times by the sprigs and spirals of air plants. A refreshing mix where history meets modernity.
If it’s classic arrangements on the agenda, Fernandez and O’Connell have those too. Bouquets and vases of fresh roses and tulips await the next date, holiday, or oops-I- messed up occasion. Whether intended as gesture of love, a celebration, an apology, or to console sorrow, these flowers and plants are here to help.
From the shops bouquets to the arrival of Seattle’s spring flowers, we’re reminded of nature’s life lessons. Take a walk through a garden, a meadow, a mountain trail, the woods, or even a local florist or nursery will do. Look around. A flower is admired and cherished as-is. The petals don’t dress themselves up. The bigger blossoms don’t taunt the smaller. Stems don’t regard themselves more important than the leaves and buds they support; nor do the leaves and buds take advantage of the care given to them. Red roses and yellow roses get along just fine. The Violet is no more regal than the white Bleeding Heart. And the pink Shooting Star passes no judgement upon its flowerless foliage neighbors.
It’s no wonder then that plants and flowers “become like pets, something people can care about” as
O’Connell put it. Fernandez adds to this, mentioning that nowadays many are consumed by digital
interaction; when they get home at the end of the day, “flowers are something a person can baby,
something that gives peace and tranquility.”
So if adding some of that peace and tranquility is part of your springtime itinerary, “Come in! We’re open!”, says O’Connell.
Who: Our Secret Garden
Established Oct 24th , 2015
Where: 4723 42 nd Ave SW, Ste 128
Mon - Sun, 9am – 6pm