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Saratoga Springs' Hidden Gardens steps to forefront

Now Hidden Gardens is not so hidden.

Guarded by horses and lions, overseen by angels and sprites, the Maple Avenue florist and antique dealer, located a few steps from City Hall in Saratoga Springs, opened in late September, but is planning an open house around Thanksgiving. Owner and Saratoga Springs native Kevin Smith said the reaction has been overwhelming so far.

We've had a great response from the community, especially the response to the floral part of the business, said Smith.

Rightly so " Smith employed a unique and generous method of introducing himself to the other downtown business owners.

"We send out a couple of floral arrangements a day to other business owners," said Smith. "It's a friendly gesture and it showcases the talent we have here at the store."

That talent includes floral designers Michael Golden and Annamarie Panetta, who, combined, have nearly 50 years of floral experience.

"We don't really do a lot of pre-made arrangements. It sets us apart from the people that mass produce floral arrangements," said Panetta. "I'd hate to sit with someone and shove a bunch of books in front of them and say, 'Here you go.' I'd rather work with that person to create something that's personal and beautiful."

Golden said that having the antiques and statuary about really inspires the floral designers to be creative.

"We can do things that incorporate the statuary that can really become permanent home style pieces," he said.

Smith said patrons can not only buy what's in the store, but can see him for custom arrangements for any occasion. And while Golden considers Hidden Gardens to be a "high-end" florist, he said the title is reflective of the quality, not the price.

"We've got a price range for everyone," he said.

Hidden Gardens is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays during the holiday season.

For information, call Smith at 583-3335 or visit one of the the store's Web sites, www.hiddengardensantiques.com and www.hiddengardensflorist.com.""

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