Their eyes and hands work in tandem, flitting swiftly from stem to stem, placing, repositioning, then pulling back a bit to appraise the overall effect and adjust where necessary. 

The expert process turns a bucketful of seemingly random flowers and greenery into a fragrant and eye-catching collection of color. 

The natural kaleidoscopes are on display in Dan Ward’s bright new flower shop on Simonton Street. 

Dan’s Floral & Gift Baskets is a full-service flower shop that opened just in time for the flower-focused springtime holidays of Easter and Mother’s Day.

“We just opened March 15, although I’ve been immersed in the flower industry for the past 30 years, since high school actually, working in everything from large chain stores to intimate floral shops with a detour into nursery plants and home decor,” said Ward. 

Dan’s Floral & Gift Baskets, 605 Simonton St., is the first Key West business venture for Ward and his partner, Jim Argoudelis.

The shop’s talented design team includes Ward, Kate Brennan and Ronnie Rupe, who assemble bouquets, roses, Easter and Mother’s Day arrangements, wedding flowers and accessories, prom accessories, and dish gardens of plants.

The shop also boasts a huge selection of orchids, bromeliads and striking duranga sapphire trees, with tiny, vibrant clusters of periwinkle flowers.

And as the name implies, the shop is more than flowers. 

“We do gift baskets for every occasion and budget,” Ward said. “We can assemble something for a customer, whether it’s a wine and cheese basket or a kid’s Easter basket. Other times a customer will bring in custom items they want to include and we’ll put it all together and make it look perfect.”

And don’t forget the bonnets.

Easter is evident in every corner of the shop. Soft and giant stuffed Easter bunnies sit on chairs and blue-, pink- and yellow-themed Easter baskets are packed with candy, small toys and other treats. But hanging on the back wall and dangling from the ceiling are handmade Easter bonnets in an array of colors, ribbons, feathers and other finishing touches.

“They can be both Easter bonnets and Derby hats for the Kentucky Derby on May 1,” Ward said.

Finally, for those of us who can kill plants with a mere sideways glance, Ward and his team turn their design skills to silk arrangements that can almost pass the test of touch. 

Dan’s Floral & Gift Baskets offers delivery to Big Coppitt, with online ordering coming soon. The shop is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday 9 to 5 and closed Sunday except for holidays. So call 305-396-7007 for special holiday hours. Visit them online at dansfloralkeywest.com.

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