Supporting Local Bees and Inspiring Smiles Through Flowers

“I do it for the buzz. I do it for the bees. I don’t even know how many pictures I have taken of napping bumble bees.”  

Chani Blizzard-Durkin has always wanted to do something big to change the world. Her ideas about what that might look like have changed over the years, but she feels she is still making a positive impact that ripples through our community and beyond. 

She’s a one-woman show, a floral artist, a photographer and a well-rounded garden expert. She arranges bouquets in her mind to go to sleep at night, and her passion for life and flowers is extraordinary. 

Providing unique floral services with a creative touch that “brings joy, happiness, and whimsy to the world while reconnecting with nature are Chani’s reason for creating Brickyard Botanicals. She had been looking for the right medium for a long time and flowers are the answer. She creates floral arrangements for events with a creative vision and an artist’s touch to make sure they are as unique as her clients. She does her best to create the client’s vision and is constantly overdelivering. Clients will never get a mediocre arrangement from Brickyard Botanicals. 

Every customer gets something unique that is crafted specifically for them and their special event or occasion. She does not make mass-produced bouquets, or use floral recipes. Instead, Chani consults with each customer to create them something truly one-of-a-kind. 

I’d much rather give someone a bouquet to bring people joy and remind them of the good things,” Chani said. She’s aiming to provide a service that makes people smile. 

Before finding her passion in floristry, Chani learned many things in college. She studied horticulture and completed the Small Farm Production Program at Spokane Community College to learn as much as she could about agriculture basics and market gardening while she worked on her farm at home. She focused on food, and thought that would be her career, but life had other plans for her. She still grows much of her own food in order to eat healthy, clean, and as chemical-free as possible. 

“It’s a lot of work and is really hard. It’s hard on the body, but so worth it,” she said. 


Originally, Chani knew she wanted to grow flowers and she did lots of research, but when it came to her beginnings at her home garden, she decided to play with a bit of chaos. She called it “Darwin gardening;” sprinkling seeds and letting nature do the rest. What thrived, thrived. It helped her to see what would grow well and what needed more care. She said it was not as polished as it is now, but it was beautiful and full of life. “Since I had extra plants, I thought, ‘I might as well have a nursery too.’” 

Brickyard Botanicals is Chani’s passion. She is focusing on floristry and is always analyzing ways to make her craft better. She is also experimenting with cutting times to find out how to get the most life out of each type of flower! She uses her expertise to know when and how to cut, and what each flower needs to produce the highest quality flower arrangements for her clients’ meaningful events. 

Chani sees the things around her and thinks of them differently than she once did. She went blind for a while almost 20 years ago and it made her appreciate her sight that much more when her vision was restored. She appreciates art and is devoted to self-expression with a focus on nature. Brickyard Botanicals is her way of fulfilling promises to herself. 

“Floristry is a business I am using to create and preserve habitat and support nature. I made a promise to be a good steward of the land. I’ve created intentional spaces for the wildlife. Nature sustains us and the creatures that call this land home. I do it for the buzz. I do it to support the bees. I don’t know how many pictures I have of napping bumble bees.” 

Hoping to help people appreciate aspects of nature, Brickyard Botanicals focuses on flowers sourced from local growers first and grows some of them herself. She believes it is really important to shift support to regenerative, sustainable, and non-chemical alternatives for providing beautiful flowers, and she chooses the best options she can, based on the customer’s needs and vision. “Pesticides are a broad spectrum, they kill everything, not just the bugs we don’t like,” she said.

When her adult daughter got into flower arranging, Chani got into it too. She remembered that she loved flowers and what she had wanted to do as a child. 

“I was drenched in photography since I was a child. My mom took me with her to the photography program at the community college before I was even in grade school. Because of that, I would frame photographs in my mind everywhere I went. This is the place I stared at when I was young. Barns weren’t as popular for making into homes back then,” but as she enjoyed her ice cream, she thought about that barn a lot. 

Childhood memories brought her to Clayton. Her uncle had a place in Loon Lake, so they’d stop at Clayton Burger and go to the lake. Chani wanted to be close to Spokane, but more rural to pursue homesteading, grow food, have animals, live a more creative and authentic life, and be free. 

She loves her neighbors and her converted barn house. Her home had been many things before she moved there in 2015. She says it’s perfect for her: “It’s Iconic, a big red barn.”

“When I was a kid, I’d feed the mantises, I’d feed the birds, I had these relationships with them. I’d save bits of baloney sandwiches to feed to the praying mantises after school,” She shared. 

When she was a child, her family lived in Greenbluff. Her grandmother grew roses and dahlias, spending hours in her garden every day. She said her grandmother’s primary passion and love was for her gladiolas. She remembers, fondly, the way the flowers filled the world with color from June to September every summer. One year, when she was small, the flowers were in full bloom and Chani exclaimed, “Christmas!”

“I think we’re nostalgic for our grandparents’ way of life. A slower time. People are trying homesteading and I think that’s why we’re starting to see a comeback in gladiolas, and flowers from our grandmothers’ gardens.” Chani said. 

Brickyard Botanicals takes custom orders, preferring to build arrangements with a focus on locally grown flowers, seasonally appropriate, and, when possible, using native flowers. She loves to play with what is seasonally available and living in the moment.

Chani always wanted to have a huge impact on the world. She plans to host classes and private events in the future to empower people to put their own hands on the flowers and create something themselves. Her ultimate goal is to grow a botanical garden and greenspace sanctuary.

By Robin Milligan