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Love Blooms Into Business for Bed Stuy Florists

Olga and Dezzie Ligon met over a red rose more than three decades ago. Now, they're bringing it back to where it began, having opened a flower store together in Bed-Stuy.

About 32 years ago, a young Dezzie Ligon was working at his father's florist shop in Park Slope when a beautiful woman walked by.

He ran out out of the store with a rose and handed it to his future wife, Olga Ligon, with the words, "This is for you."

Now, Dezzie and Olga are winding it back to where it all began, having just opened their own florist shop together in Bed-Stuy, after 21 years of marriage and seven children.

Photo: Jessy Edwards for BK Reader.

Verdure Florist had its soft opening at 244 Malcolm X Blvd last Saturday.

Olga said she was so excited she stubbed and broke her toe on the curb outside the store that day.

"They say for an opening to break a leg. Well, I broke a toe," she laughs.

"It feels very good," Dezzie tells BK Reader. "Mostly because my wife is happy. Happy wife, happy life."

Roots in flower stores

Dezzie started working with flowers when he was just 14 years old.

His father worked at a florist in Manhattan, and on Saturdays he would take the kids to the store to sweep the floor and do other odd jobs. When his father opened his own plant store, Dezzie suggested they do flowers, too.

His father had several flower shops, then Dezzie ran his own interior design business for 15 years and did freelance flower design for another 10 years.

Olga worked in a corporate interior design role for 24 years. Last year, she left for new beginnings.

Photo: Jessy Edwards for BK Reader.

The pair say, during the pandemic, they focused on homeschooling their kids and planning their first business â€" outside of making a family â€" together.

Olga started designing and making her own cushions. And Dezzie started planning the design of the store.

"This particular store was born from the need and necessities of my wife wanting something to do," Dezzie says, adding that Olga had made 200 pillows that needed a home. "This store was designed with the love of her."

Photo: Jessy Edwards for BK Reader.

The store itself is a vibrant mix of interiors products: Olga's throw cushions in a range of colors and fabrics, exotic and local flowers, leaves and home accessories. Customers can get a bunch made, or choose their own stems.

On Friday, Verdure has just got in new flowers from Hawaii, leaving the store blooming with leaves of lush Monsteras, Birds of Paradise and more.

"People seem to want fresh cut flowers of an exotic nature, they want something very interesting, other than they see in the local supermarket," Dezzie says.

Already world famous in Bed-Stuy

The store might have only opened officially on Saturday, but it's already the talk of Bed-Stuy.

This is in part due to a near-viral Facebook post one of Olga and Dezzie's daughter posted on Tuesday.

In it, she introduced her parents, Verdure Florist, and the love story where it all started.

Olga says when she received that first red rose from Dezzie, she was a young woman visiting Brooklyn from the Bronx for the first time, looking at an apartment.

She got the apartment, and one night soon after she was walking home in the rain when she saw the gate of Dezzie's father's shop slightly open.

"So I peeked under and he was in there," she says. "And I told him that the night before I had a dream â€" we still didn’t know each other â€" but a dream that we’re going to get married and we’re going to have five children.

Photo: Jessy Edwards for BK Reader.

"Now here we are, and we have seven children, not five."

The pair say they are planning an official grand opening for Verdure Florist in mid-October. Keep an eye on the florist's Facebook page for updates.

"We want to tell everyone thank you," Olga says.

"And we’re going to take care of you, we’re here for the community."

Jessy Edwards

About the Author: Jessy Edwards

Jessy Edwards is an award-winning news and feature reporter whose work can be seen in such publications as NBC New York, Rolling Stone, the BBC, CNBC and more.
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