Country Homes

November 22, 2021

See How Florist Alison Westlake Decorates Her P.E.C Farmhouse For The Holidays

Farm life comes naturally to Alison Westlake, who grew up on one in Hastings County, Ont. “I call them my Anne of Green Gables years: angst-ridden, cursing at the sky and longing for the day when I could pack up and head for the big city,” says Alison. “But I discovered that when I was elbow-deep in dirt, I felt the most like myself.” In her early 20’s, the entrepreneur worked for a landscape design company, arranging flowers for friends and family on the side. That led to opening Coriander Girl (after her nickname, Coriander) in 2009, in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood. “The original business model for the shop was actually more home decorating than floral, but BlogTO called us a ‘Top Florist’ and there was no going back!” she says.

In 2015, Alison moved from the city to Prince Edward County’s Sophiasburgh, just south of her childhood home. She’d had her first daughter and wanted to raise her the way she’d been raised, in a bucolic, small town setting. So she opened a new Coriander Girl shop nearby in Picton, Ont., and purchased a six-hectare farm to grow flowers to sell, but also to grow her business (she hopes to open an event venue here). “The property is one of the oldest in Ontario, and the perennial gardens are out of a Jane Austen novel,” says Alison. Nearly 50 per cent of the shop’s flowers — dahlias, zinnias, cosmos, snapdragons and sweet peas, to name a few — are grown on the acreage, which also boasts a historical farmhouse, where she lives with her two daughters, Hattie, 7, and Adeline, 4. “Prince Edward County is an incredible community to be a part of,” she says. “I’m seeing more young families and entrepreneurs here, and everyone wants to help each other.” Come early December, Alison begins her holiday decorating in a Scandi, farm-to-floral style.

Scroll down to see her cozy P.E.C farmhouse dressed for the holidays!

Author: Emily Evans

Valerie Wilcox


House & Home November 2021