55 Mill, building #57, 416-364-6232 www.vintagegardener.com Rating: NNNNN
The summery scent of lavender greets green buffs at the Distillery District's Vintage Gardener. Owner Elaine Martin styles her rustic space with rough and chic antiques loaded with sprigs of the fragrant, violet bud. Boxy, dried shrubs spring from terra cotta pots, gauzy sachets wrap lavender potpourri, and a 25-year-old topiary of the Spanish variety blooms in her doorway.
Flowers are sourced from an organic grower in the south of France, and they're culinary quality, best sampled in 13-year-old Emma Mills-George's lemony shortbread packaged with her recipe. Martin's own son Daniel and best friend McCauley Glen sell lavender pillows made from vintage linens, with proceeds benefiting the Walk to End Breast Cancer.
Martin comes from a long line of green thumbs and pays homage to Grandma's garden with wreaths of dried peonies in fuchsia and pale pink and casual bunches of iridescent turquoise hydrangeas. Her sophisticated arrangements are complemented by outdoor accessories and little in-house luxuries like rose and honeysuckle linen water.
Vintage Gardener picks: The lavender topiary stands almost 4 feet tall and will set you back $195; a Sarah Green stone bird is created using lightweight concrete cast in a vintage mould, $29; an art cart in front of the shop Thursdays through Sundays stocks the lavender pillows, $20 to $35.
Look for: Vintage Gardener's Harvesting A Floral Garden luncheon on August 15, when they'll dish out lavender lemon loaf and flowery martinis. Tickets $75 each.
Hours: Sunday to Wednesday 10 am to 7 pm, Thursday to Saturday 10 am to 9 pm.