Nielsen’s to celebrate 75th anniversary

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox

Interested in design tips for your garden? Want assistance in choosing the best container for your plant? What kinds of flowers would best suit your home?

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14, to celebrate the family business’ 75th anniversary, designers from Nielsen's Florist & Garden Shop, at 1405 Post Road, will give demonstrations, hands-on workshops, and answer questions.

Schedule of activities

 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.: Container design workshops and demonstrations. Participants can create fall containers. and see how designers select plants and put them together.

 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.: Flower workshops and demonstrations. Attendees will create flower designs, can ask the designer questions and watch demonstrations.

 Noon to 3 p.m.: Kid’s Corner. Children can play games, learn about plants, and get involved in the garden. There’ll be pinatas, pin the apple on the apple tree, and a planting bench.

 1:30 p.m. Children’s Workshop. Children will take home a planter. RSVP is required for this activity. Space is limited.

 Starting at 5 p.m., wine and cheese will be served throughout the store.

All activities are free. The store will be open for business during all events. For more information, call 203-655-2541.

“We are providing fall flowers,” said general manager Raya Ward. “Participants can get tips and tricks to create their own floral designs and floral crowns. Our floral designers can make a crown of flowers for you to wear on your head.”

Four generations

The Nielsens’ paternal grandfather Christian Nielsen came from Denmark, and their grandmother Hilda Nielsen is from Ireland.

Christian had worked for the Farrell Shipping Line. Then he took a job at the Ox Ridge Hunt Club in Darien, where he met Hilda.

The couple wanted to start their own business and purchased the flower store in 1944 from the Isley family.

Their father, Gerald Sr., grew up on the property and went to all Darien schools. He graduated from Darien High School in 1952.

“I had one of his teachers,” said Gerald’s son, Jerry Nielsen, who currently owns the business with his sister, Sandy Nielsen Baumann.

However, a fourth generation, Jerry’s 20-year-old nephew Jack Whittier, has been working at Nielsen's for the past few summers.

“Also, all of our kids — Meghan Whittier, Christian Nielsen, and Sarah Nielsen — have worked here on holidays and during high school,” he added.


Nielsen's was rebuilt in 1999.

“We redesigned our business and that is where we stopped using the space where Michael Joseph’s Catering is,” Nielsen said.

Customers can now purchase a snack at Michael Joseph’s, which is next door, and eat at a table in the greenhouse.

“Finding something unique”

“When you come in, any of our staff can spend time with you, finding something unique,” Ward said. “We can make anything from scratch, whether it’s a garden dish or flower arrangement.”

Nielsen's also makes home visits.

“We send designers to people’s homes and help them figure out where they want to place decor items, how to decorate a mantelpiece, and how to accent their home,” Ward said.

Through the years, Nielsen’s has satisfied a wide variety of customer requests, with everything from rubber duck arrangements to full floral garlands for Kentucky Derby horses.

“We are super-proud as a family to be celebrating the 75th anniversary of a family business,” Jerry Nielsen said.

He added that he loves being part of the local community.

“I get to know all the wonderful people of Darien,” he said, in regard to owning the business.

“The flower business is always a happy one,” Nielsen said. “It’s something that will be uplifting to whomever the recipient is of the flowers — to make their home a little bit happier.”