Fox Valley loves a floral challenge

Published 5:22 pm Monday, December 13, 2010

This Fox Valley original Holiday Tree is fashioned from huckleberry foliage and accented with toy drums and candy canes by Tonia Patterson, (Left), and Nancy Reynolds.

Fox Valley Florist and Nursery, which opened in Nov. 2009, is the creative conception of owners and childhood friends Melissa Kelly and Cindy Hooks. Currently both work for Regions Bank, but may be found in the shop on Saturdays.

Daily operations are overseen by two enthusiastic women, Tonia Patterson and Nancy Reynolds, who are both intent upon providing arrangements of only the freshest blooms and going the extra mile for each customer.

“We can do anything a customer requests and if it’s something more unusual, then all the better because we love to figure out and try new things,” Reynolds and Patterson agree.

Tonia Patterson trained at Southern Heritage/Lackey Florist with Ida Leathers, one of their top designers.

Nancy Reynolds comes from a crafts background and has a natural eye for what looks good. She is the official bowmaker at the shop.

“We get flowers from our wholesale truck two or three times each week, and that’s not just because the driver is so cute, but because we won’t send any arrangement out less than fresh or that we wouldn’t be proud to send to a personal friend or family member.”

Reynolds and Patterson recently executed a fall arrangement that featured a carved-out pumpkin as the vase. Within, bi-color Chocolate Soldier roses gathered in raffia and aromatic passion lilies (grown and shipped in ice from Columbia, South America) were surrounded by greenery and eucalyptus.

This arrangement lasts two weeks with regular refills of water to the floral foam within, so it would be just right to enjoy over the holiday week and beyond. (File this thought for next year.)

Reynolds and Patterson are proud to say they have not had a single complaint about anything that has left their shop. Now decorated for Christmas, they have small green plants, such as Christmas Cacti or mini Norfolk Pines, in decorative holiday containers. They also offer custom wreaths with their original touches.

“We don’t like cookie cutter design, however we are members of Teleflora, FTD and the Flower Shop Network. Our only advertising so far has been word-of-mouth, but we hope folks from Alabaster and Helena will come in and see what we have to offer,” said Patterson.

The two often do the deliveries themselves and say, “the best part is seeing the look on the face of the recipient.”

For hours of operation and an overview, see their website at

Laura Brookhart can be reached by e-mail at