Notre Dame’s own student-run flower shop

With Valentine’s Day upon us, one of the holiday’s most beloved gifts—bouquets of flowers— are in high demand. Whether purchasing a bouquet for that special someone or a galentine’s arrangement, these floral arrangements are often seen as a staple of the holiday. However, for busy college students with limited transportation options, it’s often difficult to make these aspirations a reality. Irish Gardens, a student-run flower shop on campus, located in the basement of LaFortune Student Center, helps make the Valentine’s Day shopping experience a little bit easier. 

Irish Gardens opened for business on Thursday, September 16, 1982. One of the first recipients of a beautiful bouquet was Father Theodore Hesburgh. The women running the shop at the time wanted to thank him for his work at the university and for supporting their new efforts to bring joy and love to campus.

Now known as a successful and trusted business by students on campus, Irish Gardens began as a simple startup, requesting only the essentials in their proposal: a sink, a fridge, and some initial inventory. As the store’s clientele grew, Irish Gardens gained the opportunity to expand into the business known today. On average, Irish Gardens fulfills roughly fifty orders a week, and employs a total of twenty staff members. 

Irish Gardens is staffed entirely by Notre Dame students. Senior Erica McDowell told the Rover, “Irish Gardens has been the absolute best experience of my college career! The community love we have is absolutely unmatched, and we have a job in making people smile!”

Today, Irish Gardens continues to offer quality and personalized floral selections. Not only can customers build bouquets tailored to their unique preferences, but they can also write personalized messages for the intended recipient. Once assembled, bouquets are conveniently delivered to many locations on campus, making them an accessible purchase. 

One recently-married Notre Dame alumnus told the Rover, “I think Irish Gardens is a positive addition to the campus culture. It’s good that there’s a place on campus where guys can go buy flowers for a girl.” He continued, “It is helpful for college kids to have a resource to aid them in showing affection to those whom they care about.” 

In addition to ordering in person, Irish Gardens has an option for online ordering, allowing customers to browse through a variety of floral arrangements from the comfort and ease of their dorm. First-year Kaliana Stalboerger testified to the ease of purchasing from Irish Gardens for her roommate’s birthday: “I am so glad [Irish Gardens] was an option! The displays made it easy to pick out what colors and types we wanted and the florist working there was very helpful.”

Although Irish Gardens operates during most of the school year, they offer additional services for specific holidays, such as Valentine’s Day. This year, they have eighteen different floral arrangements, suited for a variety of personalities, budgets, and occasions. With prices ranging from five to one hundred dollars, bouquets are suited well to romantic occasions as well as friendly gifts. Themed arrangement titles include “Be my Valentine”; “Love, Roses”; and “The Darling.” 

Irish Gardens also offers a “Galentines” bouquet to share with friends. Flowers can be wrapped or arranged in a vase of the customer’s choice. For those looking for a non-floral gift, heart-shaped balloons are available for purchase, as well.    

A senior from Baumer Hall shared, “I’ve had the pleasure of doing business with Irish Gardens a few times, and I’ve always loved my experience. It’s super easy to place online orders and have the friendly staff there deliver flowers to dorms on campus.”

He continued, “If I remember correctly, the past two Valentine’s Days they have run out of flowers pretty early in the day, so people should plan on getting there early this year. Irish Gardens is a pillar of the Notre Dame campus environment, and LaFun wouldn’t be LaFun without the shop in the basement.”

This year, the flower shop received over 500 orders to be delivered on February 14, and over 700 total throughout the holiday period. Due to the high demand for Valentine’s Day gifts, Irish Gardens ended order requests on February 13 at noon.  However, starting on February 20th, floral services will once again be available.

Elizabeth Mitchell is a freshman studying marketing, theology and constitutional studies. She is also “directionally challenged.” Any tips for helping her find her way (or lost water bottle) should be directed to Otherwise, she highly recommends St. Anthony.

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Photo Credit: The Observer