The business name is unconventional – Snaffle+Mane plant + floral design – and the proprietor admits to being a bit “quirky” as the latest offering at 83 Maple Ave., Haliburton springs into life.

Gillian Taylor is likely a familiar face to many. She ran the Cookhouse at the Haliburton Forest for a spell. She was at Boshkung Brewing and Castle Antiques for a short time. She’s done carpentry and a lot of marketing for other businesses. She’s a horse afficionado.

While potting succulents at her shop overlooking the corner of Maple Avenue and York Street, Taylor said her own postcard marketing illustrates the fact, “I’m a pretty quirky human, so I was like, ‘I’m just going to do whatever I think. I want it to be ridiculous’.” The advertising postcard depicts a horse and rabbit along with some plants.

Taylor has had the business for almost seven years, operating out of markets in Toronto. She now lives on Stormy Lake with her mother.

When Heidi Hudspith was moving her Mixtape Vintage business, she asked Taylor if she would be interested in taking over the space. She recalled saying, “don’t be crazy.”

However, “I mulled it over for a weekend and then I made the decision that it was time to take my business to the next level.” She took over the storefront Feb. 2, renovated “solidly” and opened Feb. 11.

Asked about her trade, she said she started out concentrating on succulents. She grows them. She was doing arrangements in upcycled, repurposed antiques.

“I’ve always loved plants. In my condo in Toronto, I had huge windows and exposed ceilings. I just literally jammed plants into every single nook and cranny. Then, I started becoming more interested in different varieties and different species. It just kind of took off from there.

“I’ve just always loved flowers,” she added. “I started doing events and little pop-ups. It really brought me a lot of joy.”

However, the logistics of not having a physical location, and a proper storage fridge, were challenging, especially if doing weddings or other events. She said her home became “coo coo.”

Asked to elaborate on her love of plants, Taylor retorted with a laugh, “well, plants don’t talk back.

“I’ll pick up a plant, I’ll be ‘oh, hi!’ Watching things grow, I don’t have children, so I don’t really have that element of watching something be cultivated by hand. My horse obviously is sort of that for me.”

She said she’s also always been customer service oriented. Her core business values include consistent hours, a friendly face that says hello when someone comes through the door, accommodating as much as she possibly can, taking the time to have chats with people and get to know them, not just view them as a dollar sign.

She hopes to do a lot of weddings and celebrations. She plans to do subscription programs for regular customers, with possible pick-up points so people don’t have to travel to Haliburton. She wants to keep her prices as reasonable as possible “to allow people to bring flowers into their lives on a regular basis.” She sources her stock herself in-person when she can.

“Anything I do, I put 100 per cent towards. Having done that for so many other people, it was time to work those 12 hours a day and see that work directly pay off … I just want to be open and busy.”

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