It is not an ordinary flower shop

An amazing reputation and intriguing window displays draw people into Harbor Blooms in downtown Aberdeen. But once inside the store, the various vignettes, comprised of silk flowers, home decor and a myriad of gifts, keep one moving deeper and deeper into the 3,000-square-foot space in a treasure hunt of beauty and delight. Frankly, the experience is less like shopping at a store and more like entering an art gallery and an artist’s studio combined. It’s a place brimming with creativity and possibility.

Photo by Gail Greenwood Ayres

“You would be surprised how many people come in here and say, ‘I just had to come in to get some happy,’” says owner and lead designer Sheril Woodruff.

It’s no wonder that the flower arrangements that leave Harbor Blooms are so often pieces of art themselves and that the store at 118 East Heron St., has been voted the Harbor’s favorite florist since it began in 2016.

“At Harbor Blooms they are really good about keeping up with the trends in the floral industry,” says frequent customer Stacie Barnum of Aberdeen. “They add things to your arrangements that you wouldn’t find in, say, a grocery store florist shop. They know how to personalize arrangements to the person and the occasion. They are so good about putting together something unique that represents what you are looking for.”

Woodruff has many years of floral arranging experience, having worked at Flowerland in Hoquiam, Wynan’s Florist in Aberdeen, Enchanted Florist in Hoquiam, and Flowers by Pollen in Hoquiam. A few years after Flowers by Pollen moved to Aberdeen, the owner, Janis Pollen, retired. Woodruff decided to stay on and began her own business, Harbor Blooms, in the same location.

Despite all the years of experience, Woodruff, 57, says she has no formal floral training. However, it’s clear when it comes to floral design her instincts have served her well. “Here, we don’t do things that taught florists do,” she explains. “Everything grows in nature and it grows together so it goes together,” she says. “The rules aren’t to be followed. It is what looks good to the eye, not what the color wheel says, or even what the rules of design dictate.”

“We don’t have the same cookie-cutter approach,” she says. “It’s a little about winging it and following how the flowers want to go in their own direction and letting it happen rather than following the rules.” While of course customers’ preferences are honored and people can order arrangements such as a traditional vase of a dozen red roses and other more customary designs, what sets Harbor Blooms apart is its less static, often asymmetrical designs. “It’s just more interesting to look at than very tight and put together,” she says.

The shop tends to use unusual greenery in their arrangements, typically forgoing salal and leather fern for eucalyptus, cedar, eriostemon, curly willow and the like. “If you have a good base with your greenery then that is like the cake and the flowers are like the frosting. If you start with bad greenery, it’s a struggle,” Woodruff says.

Not only is Woodruff an artist with flowers, she seems to have a keen ability to determine who else will be a quality designer, and has high praise for her staff of six. “When I’ve interviewed for new designers, I hand them a vase and have them put together an arrangement. I can tell immediately if they will be good. It’s hard to explain, it even has to do with which flowers they choose to work with and how they handle the flowers.”

 “It’s not a craft, it is an art,” she says, “It is, I think, an eye, and it is also partly being able to read people, too.

Certainly, something is resonating with her work. The shop stays busy, especially in the summer when the designers provide flowers for three to five weddings each weekend. Well-known for exquisite wedding displays, Harbor Blooms’ flowers have been highlighted in several publications including Rock n Roll Bride magazine, Seattle Bride magazine and the Wedding Chicks blog.

While it’s always nice to have your work acknowledged, Woodruff says what she especially enjoys about her work is the relationships developed with her customers over the years.

Photo by Gail Greenwood Ayres

“What brings me the most joy is just having the opportunity to be a part of people’s lives,” she says. “There are people I’ve been part of their life story as they’ve grown. It starts with flowers for dance recitals, then corsages for the prom, then their wedding flowers and later baby bouquets and sometimes, sadly, arrangements for the death of a parent.”

There have actually been studies that receiving flowers in difficult times helps with recovery, she says. “There is something about flowers that feeds the soul. It’s bringing in nature; I mean, what more beautiful thing is there?” Periodically Harbor Blooms offers various classes. For more information, visit or check out their Facebook page.

Photo by Gail Greenwood Ayres