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Harriet Garbelman continues to sparkle at 75

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image Harriet Garbelman. Mitch Traphagen photo

Harriet has been creatively sharing her talents with the Ruskin-South Shore area since she and her mother, Violet Hovey, completed floral design school when Harriet was only 14 years old.

There will be a Diamond Celebration at Harriet’s Flowers on Nov. 7.  No, it’s not the 75th anniversary of the flower shop, although it has been serving Ruskin and the surrounding areas for almost that long.  The honor goes to Harriet Garbelman, founder of Harriet’s Flowers, who  turns 75 on Nov. 7. 

Harriet has been creatively sharing her talents with the Ruskin-South Shore area since she and her mother, Violet Hovey, completed floral design school when Harriet was only 14 years old.  She has lent her talent and creativity to countless weddings, birthdays and holiday celebrations. During those years, Harriet has accomplished some remarkable things.  Beyond creating award winning floral arrangements, she became personally invested in the lives and emotions of her customers.  Over the years she has celebrated, laughed, and sometimes cried with her customers over the events that have impacted their lives.  So single minded has Harriet been over her commitment to her customers, that the day after her flower shop and home burned to the ground in 1977, she put her personal life on hold so she could fulfill her commitment to a young bride whose wedding celebration took place the following day. 

The beauty of her creations has also eased the suffering of many families during times of great loss. She has woven an intricate pattern of color and style into our community.  She has a long list of achievements and awards, more blue ribbons than you can count and has served as President of the Florida West Coast Florist Association. Harriet has shared her talent over the years doing many demonstrations for community organizations, most recently helping to prepare FFA (Future Farmers of American) students from Lennard High School for the National Floriculture Competition where they went on to win 3rd place.

Harriet, like her mother did with her, has shared her love of the floral business with her daughter, Gail, who now carries on the family tradition as the third generation owner of Harriet’s Flowers. Harriet continues to make beautiful floral designs and has even branched out creating her own line of jewelry.  She also spends much of her time outdoors in her orchid garden and with the plants and flowers surrounding her home she continues to share with Harriet’s Flowers. 

In honor of Harriet’s colorful career, you are invited to stop by the shop Nov. 7, 8 or 9  between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to reminisce, share your stories, look through photo albums and scrapbooks (your wedding photos might even be in them), enjoy some refreshments and wish Harriet a happy 75th birthday.  If you can’t make it by the shop, her daughter Gail, would love for you to send a story of your favorite memory about Harriet that brought you some of Harriet’s creative love. Send your birthday wish via e-mail to harrietsflowers@tampabay.rr.com or find them on Facebook.

The flower shop is located at 226 W. College Ave., Ruskin.

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