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Left: Cornelia Peterson (pictured) and her mom, Sydney, create beautifully unusual floral designs for all occasions. Right: Western influences, such as cacti and mounted skulls, give Sacred Thistle a strong sense of place. —Photos by Rebecca Stumpf

Shop Talk: Sacred Thistle

This new floral shop in the Golden Triangle creates beautifully unusual arrangements with an eye toward sustainability—and fun.

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If a dozen long-stem red roses is what you’re after, don’t call seven-month-old Sacred Thistle. Or rather, do—and let proprietors Sydney and Cornelia Peterson (mother and daughter, respectively) gently educate you on the beauty of other options: blooms that are less traditional, grown domestically, and/or sustainably sourced. “[Sustainability] is so ingrained into food and drink, the things you consume,” Cornelia says, but the movement has yet to widely catch on in the floral industry.

Making customers aware of where many flowers come from—supermarket buds often travel all the way from South America, where the industry can be less than kind to workers and the land alike—is just one of the ways the Petersons diverge from the typical flower shop. They are also committed to working with any budget; they forage nearly half of their floral stock, including most of their greens, from Colorado locales such as Sydney’s backyard in Indian Hills; and as they hand-select stems from wholesalers, they look for unique options everyone else has left behind.

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“The weirdest stems will always be the most emphasized because they’re the most inspiring to us,” Cornelia says. —Photo Courtesy of Sacred Thistle

“Our style lends itself to emphasizing the natural beauty of the flowers, so it’s very loose and wild and kind of Dutch masters–esque,” Cornelia says. “We also think of it as wabi-sabi.” If you’re not familiar with this embrace-the-imperfect Japanese philosophy, you can pick up a book on it in the Petersons’ retail space. Appropriate to its location a block south of the Denver Art Museum, the shop has a gallery feel, courtesy of Sydney’s nearly 30-year career designing displays for Neiman Marcus stores across the country. As you peruse items such as Apache tear volcanic glass rocks (at $3.25 each, they’re said to guarantee their bearer will never cry again), specially made bitters from local favorite Dram Apothecary, traditional Pendleton blankets, and crystal balls of varying sizes, you won’t miss the standard flower shop gift fare—and if you have the Petersons make you a one-of-a-kind arrangement, we’re guessing you won’t miss those long-stem roses, either.

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