Manotick’s Rebel Petal underwent an ambitious expansion during the pandemic. The joyful space, launched late spring 2021, is a welcoming sanctuary for owner Michelle Vandenbosch and her staff.
Capturing the Beauty
Rebel Petal owner Michelle VandenBosch jokes that a major expansion of her flower shop was perfectly timed. She started the work (with the help of McLaughlin Custom Carpentry) in February 2020 just as the pandemic began to pick up steam. Her reasoning? Even as she knocked out a wall, expanding her shop fourfold by moving into the store next door, she could continue taking online orders. Though she had envisioned a grand opening, that proved impossible. And so VandenBosch treated herself to a photoshoot, getting photographer Justin Van Leeuwen to capture the gloriousness of her newly finished space.
The Power of Flowers
“Flowers have the power to change the way a room feels,” says VandenBosch. Not surprisingly, her online sales have skyrocketed over the past year as customers, weary of being shut in, seek to add some colour to homes that have also become office and classroom. Others have called to order for girlfriends, friends, or family who are having a tough time. Monthly flower subscriptions have proven popular, as have the tiny ready- to-go arrangements VandenBosch calls Rebel Cups. Housed in a glass votive cup, the arrangements are made up of sunny, long-lasting blooms. “They’re perfect as a pick-me-up. I call them a breath of spring.”
Rebel Petal found another niche this past winter, when snowbirds would ordinarily be comfortably ensconced on their porches and patios in Cuba and Mexico, Florida and North Carolina, and local families might have been looking forward to a March break getaway. Instead, many customers are calling to ask about Rebel Petal’s “fabulous fakes” — big artificial tropical plants that will allow them to recreate the lushness of their favourite southern destinations in their own living rooms. Fireplaces and furnaces dry out the air. Keeping tropical plants alive is tricky, and having them thrive almost impossible. “I call it ‘lush without the trouble,’” says VandenBosch with a laugh.