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How the dream was started...

   From a young age my fondest memories are summers at Pelican Lake planting a garden with my irish Grandpa, and adventuring through the fields and forest with my cousins all summer long. We rarely went to the city, we learned to respect nature, the land and the water that surrounded us for what it gives back to the earth. Old fashion sustainability.  

Our family moved to BC when I was 17 years old and my eyes where opened to the landscape of the west coast, it was love at first site. My mom always grew peonies and planted sweet peas that still to this day are two of my favourite fragrant flowers. In BC her garden was amazing with a whole new perspective on the new plant species and textures, it was endless.

One of my first jobs was in the display and merchandising departments for The Hudson Bay Company in Langley BC, while enrolled in Fine Arts at Kwantlen Collage. During this time I also worked at Art Knapp’s Garden Centre as their assistant nursery manager. I then went on to work for a wholesale greenhouse, Nordic Nursery where I was in charge of their commercial hanging basket department that provided large moss baskets for many restaurants and properties on the water front.   

I became a mom and began to miss the prairie's. The seasonal change and sunshine brought this prairie girl and mom of two boys, back to her roots here in Manitoba. Opening Front Door Stories in 2008 was a dream, I could stay home with my boys and still do something that fed all my passions, but it didn’t come without it’s challenges. I freelanced at The Garden Room for their holiday trees and displays during this time as well, so I was in tuned to the retail industry here in Winnipeg. Front Door Stories was a new idea in 2008 so to build my client base was key. I started doing workshops in my backyard greenhouse and doing presentations to garden clubs to get the word out that container gardening can be year round.

Container Gardening in zone3 is a bit of a challenge so building my techniques with trial and error of the changing seasons showed me that I had to do something different. While learning and growing I spent 3 years at Assiniboine Park in the English Garden as one of the gardeners involved with the restoration of the english garden. It was life changing and inspiring all the same. I was then hired by T and T seeds to manage their displays and store set up along with some buying throughout the store. It made me realize my talents were finally getting recognized and it was time to make the move and focus on my own business full time.

Winnipeg was finally ready and I had the confidence to open a boutique style studio space to expand my services. The story continues as my business grows and teaches me lessons everyday.

Thank you to everyone who supported my dream along the way...you know who you are.

Sharlene Nielsen

Founder of Front Door Stories

Award winning floral designer, In 2017 for the Directors choice at the WAG’s Art in Bloom for her floral

interpretation of “View from the artist bedroom, Jericho Beach”

The Winnipeg Free press article in 2018, featured Sharlene’s design work in Container Gardening for all four seasons, photos of her spring look for a booth display at The Winnipeg Home Expressions Show with JD Penner and Client planters showing a summer look, with tropicals.  link to article here.

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