Flowers ‘bring love and cheerfulness’: La Jolla Florist works to keep happiness in bloom

La Jolla Florist's custom arrangements can be as small as a “just because” bouquet to as large as a wedding display.

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“Flowers make people happy, no matter the occasion,” Dorothy Bello says. And to continue to make people happy, she operates La Jolla Florist in the Patio Building at 7946 Ivanhoe Ave.

For the record:

6:00 p.m. Feb. 25, 2021This article was corrected to include that La Jolla Florist offers contactless delivery as well as pickup.

La Jolla Florist has been a mainstay in The Village since 1987, but Bello and her husband, Ardi, purchased it four years ago.

“La Jolla was our favorite spot,” she said. “My kids were both born and raised in San Diego, and La Jolla was our favorite place to walk the beach and explore the town. We always kept an eye on that community for a store.”

After having jobs in which they were not happy, Bello and her husband asked themselves, “Why aren’t we doing what we love?”

When La Jolla Florist went up for sale, they jumped in.

La Jolla Florist provided the floral arrangements in the La Valencia Hotel lobby before the COVID-19 pandemic.

This arrangement by La Jolla Florist has a surprise inside.

Bello, who’s originally from Italy, said she grew up around flowers. Her maternal grandparents had a flower shop and instilled in her the value of innovation and friendly service, she said.

“Flowers have always been with me,” she said. “In Europe, they focus on a natural look in the arrangements, so I bring that to my designs. The style is just different. More organic, garden-oriented. Kind of like nature. I bring a little something new, elegant and different.”

Every morning, Ardi visits flower wholesalers in Carlsbad and brings back what is in season to serve as the basis for La Jolla Florist’s custom arrangements.

“We have a variety of flowers,” Bello said. “I use different flowers you won’t find on other people’s designs. Normally people just fill a vase with flowers or use a lot of filler; not us. And people are tired of the more well-known designs and florists that just do the same thing.”

The shop’s custom arrangements can be as small as a “just because” bouquet to as large as a wedding display.

"I make sure every order is something I would like," says La Jolla Florist owner Dorothy Bello.

“We get to be part of people’s lives during all kinds of occasions,” Bello said. “There is just something about flowers. I’ve never seen someone get flowers and not have a smile. They bring love and cheerfulness. They show you care for someone. They are a very special gift.

“We do a lot of custom work to make sure the person will be happy with what they get. We ask a lot of questions about the client, about the occasion, so we can make it special and ... an appropriate bouquet for the person. We ask about colors, favorite flowers.”

The sender also gets peace of mind that the arrangement will bring joy.

“My husband and I personally follow up and let the sender know the [recipient] got the flowers,” she said. “Sometimes they ask for pictures of the bouquets, and we are happy to do that so they can see what they are getting. It’s all about the hard work and care you put in.”

La Jolla Florist is offering contactless delivery and pickup of flowers and is operating under other COVID-related restrictions.

Bello said she hopes “people will try us and learn to love our work. We are family-oriented and community-oriented. We are responsible and treat customers like family. I make sure every order is something I would like. If I wouldn’t want them, why would the customer?”

Store hours are 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. To learn more, call (858) 454-4299, email or visit

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