Herbalist Lynn Flanagan-Till is a natural caregiver, whether it’s her pets, plants or children that thrive under her watchful eye. The mother of three, with a fourth on the way, and keeper of a home menagerie of pets also has a natural affinity for plants and their healing properties. That quality, tied together with a deep belief in the DIY model in business and life, is the secret behind her success with R.L. Linden, a homegrown line of all-natural hand-blended beauty products, and with her new South Broadway shop Rosehouse, where she sells indoor and outdoor plants both rare and familiar, themed gift items, artworks, garden supplies, R.L. Linden products, and other lotions, potions and teas.
Rosehouse, the handpicked successor to Ironwood, which previously occupied the same space, opened right before Valentine’s Day; Flanagan-Till says the store is building up to a full blossoming in late spring/early summer. Right now, as Rosehouse gears up for the growing season, you’ll still find a variety of plants in the front, near the shop’s picture window: easy houseplants, medicinal plants and miniature roses, some that can grow in a sunny window. (As for roses, she’ll soon also have six-foot-tall beauties to enjoy outdoors in summer.)
“All of our roses are grown in Denver, and we have lots of old varieties from clippings taken at Fairmount Cemetery,” says Flanagan-Till. That includes everything from heavily perfumed Bourbon and Damask garden roses to the Denver-centric Bronco-orange miniature rose, which buds out in a “deep orange color that turns to sunset colors as it matures.”
On the large side, there’s a potted angel’s trumpet plant — “a shamanic plant that’s a hallucinogen but also highly poisonous, so you probably don’t want to try that” — and a cinnamon tree, from which you can make a tea. Don’t pass over the Sansevieria, or variegated snake plant: One subject of a NASA clean-air study on houseplants, it was pinpointed as a proven neutralizer of air pollutants in the home, especially at night, making it a good one to grow in your bedroom. And on the tiny side, Flanagan-Till has cedar and juniper sprouts perfect for your fairy garden. Rosehouse even has black-flowered and carnivorous plants, as well as waterlily bulbs in aquatic terrariums, for goth-garden growers.
But Flanagan-Till is most proud of her herbs and medicinals, promising “hard-to-find, interesting, rare, weird plants for real-life Harry Potters” to shoppers looking to improve their knowledge of herbs and how to use them. Since she is running two businesses under one roof (R.L. Linden’s operations have moved into the back room), Flanagan-Till has no plans to offer formal classes on that subject, but instead hopes to give advice to people right on the floor, as part of Rosehouse’s general customer service.
“It’s inspiring to see people get excited about making their own teas and extracts,” she says. “For instance, we can show them how they can start with the actual plant instead of buying an oil extracted from the same plant to use, say, as a sleep aid. They’re both the same thing. I want them to literally get their hands dirty.” Flanagan-Till calls Rosehouse a “living apothecary,” and is happy to share her knowledge with customers.
But there’s a failsafe for folks not ready to just do it: Toward the back of the store on one wall, under a shingled roof hung with drying herbs, is an apothecary store-within-a-store, with hand-mixed teas, natural skin-care products, loose herbs and the like. There you’ll also be able to buy R.L. Linden’s specially blended Ironwood perfume, scented with palo santo, copal and frankincense, and reminiscent of the previous business’s comforting signature smell. The botanical theme carries over into the art, cards and gift items, including enamel pins and patches found on a bed of moss in the counter display case and artwork on the wall from Aubrie Van Zandt, Jessica Roux and Christine French.
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Flanagan-Till says Ironwood owner Alyson Two Eagles was integral to the transition between stores, and notes that the exiting entrepreneur will be helping out at Rosewood, along with Ironwood’s held-over staff, until after Flanagan-Till’s baby is born.
“She encouraged my belief in my vision,” says Flanagan-Till. “Knowing how people felt about Ironwood and how hard it was for them to see it go away, I was nervous, but her response eased my anxiety. This store smells good. It has a good energy. It’s the same kind of place as Ironwood, where if you have a bad day, you can go buy yourself something nice. The styling is different, but the branding is similar.” Transition was never so easy.