History of Figaro's Garden
Since 1990, Figaro's Garden has been a staple of the East Vancouver community. The distinctive building was built in 1949 and from 1956 to 1988 was mostly known as the Friendly Grocery. The location has always been a source of joy, as many long-time area residents remember flocking there to get their fill of cheap candy! A small scale nursery was started on site by 3 friends in 1990 and they called their operation Figaro’s Garden because one of the owners loved opera and she had just gone to see the Marriage of Figaro where many action scenes take place in the garden.
Owner, Hartley Rosen, had lived in the neighbourhood since 1999 and every time he passed by Figaro's, he thought to himself, "What a great location for a garden shop—right in the middle of the community." He was always envious of whoever was lucky enough to own it. When the opportunity came up in 2013, he jumped at the chance to purchase the business and continue the legacy of this community institution.
Since 2013, the business has grown immensely the interest in gardens and houseplants increase in popularity and as customers continue to appreciate the personal interest and care that Figaro's is known for. With an expansion of services to include garden design, installations, and garden coaching, Figaro’s is helping even more people grow sustainable outdoor and indoor spaces that will bring joy for years to come!
Serving our community
for over 20 years.
Shopping 'small' isn't a new idea or value. Historically, corner stores and local businesses have contributed to the character of our neighbourhoods. We are truly grateful for our community for continuing this tradition and supporting Figaro's Garden.
The Figaro's Garden Team
Hartley's passion for horticulture began when he was thrown into an unlikely job with the Environmental Youth Alliance in 2001. He had never planted a seed before and here he was, tasked with leading a group of new immigrant youth in learning how to grow their own food at the Cottonwood Community Garden. Not an easy task, but when that first purple pea seed germinated and grew, he was hooked. The obsession with plants grew and led him on a new career path and journey of self-discovery and fulfillment. He spent 14 years with EYA helping establish multiple urban agriculture and wildlife sites throughout Vancouver engaging youth in plants and nature as a means to build community skill and empowerment. Hartley's areas of expertise are small space food growing, perennial fruit, native plants, cut flowers, and flowering perennials.
"I am married to an extraordinary woman, Anne-Marie, an urban planner and budding urban flower farmer (Small Patch Flowers), and we have 3 amazing young daughters that keep us busy!
In our free time, we enjoy canoeing and camping, hiking, downhill and cross country skiing, and, of course, gardening together! I am also the president of the Copley Community Orchard, helping grow an amazing 1.2-acre perennial fruit orchard in East Vancouver that I helped start during my time at EYA.
I have lived in the Commercial Drive area for over 20 years and cannot imagine living and working anywhere else in the city. It is an incredibly vibrant, progressive community with a fantastic arts, culture, and local food scene."
I’m Carly and you can often find me exploring the outdoors. Through my walks, hikes and backpacking in the PNW I’ve become connected to the thriving ecosystems right here in our backyard.
Although I live in a small East Van apartment, my variety of indoor plants leaves me feeling like it’s always growing. I’m excited to be starting the Horticulture Training Program at UBC to help root myself in the diverse world of horticulture and share this knowledge at Figaro’s.
With a background in natural skin care, aromatherapy, and floral design I tend to gravitate towards all blooms and aromatic herbs. Hibiscus, Lemon Verbena, and Sweet Peas are a few of my favourites. I love to be surrounded in beauty. In my free time you can find me playing in my garden, sculpting, or creating something decadent to use on the skin or to perfume the air.
Bio to come.
Laura Rodriguez Alvira
Bio to come.
Everything I know about plants I’ve learned through doing and asking questions. Experience is a fantastic teacher, if you approach plants with curiosity and a willingness to learn. Each has a voice and intelligence, if you pause to listen.
While my career has been spent in the world of product design and retail operations, I’ve spent the last seven years diving deeper into my love of plants and garden design. My interest leans towards hardy perennials and designing low maintenance gardens with a whimsical natural approach. I’m interested in how color and texture, form and balance, work together to create pleasing journeys for the eye and spirit. I love being a part of the team at Figaro’s, it not only allows me to support my neighbourhood in their pursuit of plant happiness, but also allows me to merge my background in design and retail with my love for green growing things.
As long as I can remember I’ve always loved plants. I still have a pomelo tree I started from seed when I was 7 or 8. There is always something new to discover, whether it is the sheer diversity of the plant kingdom or the many ways in which we grow and interact with plants.
It’s so much fun to see the bizarre and beautiful forms of plants as they adapt to life in misty cloud forests or parched deserts and then try to figure out how to help them grow in our homes and gardens. Interesting and unusual plants, propagation, soils & fertilizers and pushing zone boundaries are some of my favourite topics of conversation and I’m always down to troubleshoot an issue you’re having growing something or identifying a plant.
I came by my love of plants and gardening through my grandmother and my father, both of whom were avid gardeners. I studied interior design before earning a degree in landscape architecture from UBC, and worked on a variety of projects ranging from urban parks to single-family residences. After working in the field of landscape architecture for 20 years, I went back to school to study fine arts and painting at Emily Carr. Learning the fundamentals of colour and composition has influenced how I see landscapes and design gardens, while my knowledge of plants and landscape has influenced my painting.
plants make everything better
Whether you're an experienced horticulturist, or looking for your first plant, our team at Figaro's Garden is excited to help you realize your plant and garden dreams. Contact us today or stop by the shop to see what's in-store.