Foliage & Flora owner Ryan Mulholland may have a background in the restaurant and service industry, but his real passion is all things plants. In his early twenties, the Nyack resident started his own garden, growing herbs and tomatoes. After moving into a place with more natural light, Mulholland added growing houseplants to his repertoire, with the intention of propagating them—cutting a bit off a piece of greenery from one plant and planting it in another pot to make more.
So when the opportunity came for Mulholland to own his own shop as his former employer Cottage Creek Gardens was looking to sell, he jumped at the chance.
“It was just a hobby, but it was all I ever thought about and all I ever did,” Mulholland explained. “And I was like, ‘You know what? I can open up a shop.’ So that’s what I did.”
Mulholland opened Foliage & Flora in July of 2022, transitioning the shop into his own vision. This included shifting the shop’s focus to selling tropical house plants, as well as physical changes like spiffing up the outdoor section behind the shop for workshops and general showing.He and his team painted the inside of the shop. Mulholland also built shelves for planters out of old wine crates, torching them and using polyurethane to give the store an earthy feel.
Over a year later, Mulholland is proud to report the success of Foliage & Flora, which has an average of 20 to 30 customers a day, with more on weekends. Inventory includes plants such as philodendrons, monstera, calathea and ferns, as well as flowers like orchids and bromeliads. Mulholland also makes moss plaque that can be hung on the wall, along with Kokedamas, a form of bonsai that stems from an age-old Japanese tradition. While he grows some of his plants in his own backyard, he also works with growers as close as Long Island, New York and as far away as Indonesia.
Perhaps the most unique part of Foliage and Flora is its community workshops. Hosted in the backyard of the shop, Mulholland has hosted sessions where customers can learn how to make Kokedamas, wall mounts and terrariums. Last year he also hosted a wreath-making workshop for the holidays, with hot drinks served. He plans to reinstate these workshops this holiday season, with details to be released on the Foliage and Flora Instagram account (@foliageandflora.ny).
Mulholland maintains that his favorite part of the business is watching his plants flourish and sharing his passion with the locals of Rockland County.
“I love seeing the actual growth,” Mulholland said. “Seeing these plants grow from nothing into something that somebody fawns over. Being able to share that with somebody is super special, especially when I know they’re going to a good home.”
Come visit the gorgeous greenery of Foliage & Flora at 161 Main St, Nyack, NY 10960. Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Kokedamas and moss wall-hangs at Foliage & Flora