Ravenna – Many residents in Ravenna may be familiar with the City Gardener & Florist, a full-service retail florist located in a grand 1897 Victorian home on Chestnut Street. What they might not know is that the historic home is the former residence of Dr. Thomas Mendenhall, the first professor of physics at The Ohio State University, where a building still bears his name. For those unfamiliar with his contributions, Dr. Mendenhall was instrumental in developing the Ohio State Meteorological Service, and headed a geodetic survey in Alaska, where a glacier is also named after him. Upon his retirement, this accomplished scientist retired in Ravenna, supporting community endeavors and opening his home to Ravenna High School students, sharing his scientific knowledge with them. 

For the past 25 years this legacy of community involvement has continued, thanks to the City Gardener. 

The shop has become an integral part of the community, by supporting downtown Ravenna and the groups that support it, and by building community by hosting parade goers on the shop’s front porch during Ravenna’s Memorial Day parade. 

Paul Moore, the shop’s owner, is a self-described “attorney in remission.” He returned to Ravenna after working at a corporate job in New York for 18 years. Building community by getting involved in the neighborhood, the City Gardener has joined local efforts to bolster downtown businesses. And Ravenna High School students, as well as students from around Portage County still visit the elegant historic location for corsages, bouquets and boutonnieres for homecoming, formals, and proms. And their families frequent the thriving business to find the perfect floral arrangement or gift item, or to purchase unique, decorative garden statuaries. Much like the home’s previous owner, he exchanged his life in a big city for a return to small-town living, and once again, Ravenna is fortunate for this gain.

“There comes a point when you want to do what you want to do, not what you’ve been doing your whole life,” Moore explained. Today, three full time and three part-time employees now call the 15-room residence home, and clients like Robin, couldn’t be happier. “I’m visiting from out of town and stopped in to visit,” she shared online. “What an exquisite place. I can honestly say it’s, by far, the best florist I’ve been to. Just beautiful,” she added.

Moore notes that like most flower shops, his business is holiday-driven. The year begins with Valentine’s Day, moves forward to Mother’s Day, the single busiest time of the year. Prom season, weddings, and the Christmas season rounds out the year. “One thing that’s important to me is our relationship with our clients. We’re there to take part in their weddings. We’re there when the baby is born, and years later, for their children’s’ homecomings and proms.” They offer seasonal-inspired designs using locally-grown flowers. A customer posted a glowing review, sharing “I received the most beautiful floral arrangements for my anniversary!” Traci Ann noted. “It was absolutely breathtaking.” 

“We’ve even done second-generation weddings, which is a wonderful aspect of the relationship we have with our customers. That’s what we do, and what I like about our business,” Moore noted. “We have some really talented floral designers. That’s how we built our business.”

In addition to floral and gift items, they also offer design classes, like making a Mother’s Day arrangement, or a succulent garden and basic floral design workshops. “We’ve gotten a lot of people who want to do that,” Moore shared. “We’ve been very pleased with the response.”

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This season, they’ve once again opened their Potting Shed, providing visitors with an area to peruse pottery, select garden sculptures, wind chimes, handcrafted bent willow furniture, and garden décor. The outdoor space is also a destination that can accommodate up to 80 people for events. The intimate space feels like a secret garden, and would be an ideal location for a wedding or baby shower or a local garden club meeting. The Potting Shed has the same Monday through Saturday hours as the shop, but the Potting Shed and surrounding space are available for rental. City Gardener can provide the venue and the flowers as well as recommendations for local caterers.

Rachel shared, “City Gardener & Florist designed my wedding and bridal party bouquets. They were gorgeous and brought beauty to our special day in ways I could not have imagined! We received so many compliments on them during and after the celebration. The shop’s owner, Paul, was wonderful to communicate with. With everything that needs to be planned for a wedding, I always felt relaxed and confident that our bouquets were in good hands.”

Creative design, quality work and exceptional service have kept customers coming back to City Gardener & Florist for the past 25 years. Visit the shop at 329 North Chestnut Street in Ravenna, online at www.citygardener.com or on Facebook or Instagram or call 330-296-8681.