Store Opening

February 11, 2007|By [ELIZABETH LARGE]

RUGGED ROSES

339 N. Charles St., Mount Vernon, 410-685-7673

Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday

Someday, North Charles Street may be Baltimore's Fifth Avenue, and Rugged Roses will be its flagship store. Ann Marie Doering, a fine arts major when she was at what is now the Maryland Institute College of Art, uses half of her store as a studio where she creates theatrical arrangements made of fresh, silk, paper and fabric flowers (sometimes mixing them).

"Boutonnieres are not my forte," she says. "I don't do little pieces."

She's happiest when she's decorating churches, lobbies, office entrances -- large spaces that can accommodate her grand creations.

The rest of her store is taken up with unusual gifts: fragrant Italian soaps and beauty products made by Santa Maria Novella, the entire line of luxury linens from Anichini, and expensive temptations in the form of MarieBelle chocolates, tea, and coffee. (Pin-up chocolate bars for $15, anyone?)

There are a very few wonderful pieces of clothing, some one-of-a-kind flower vases and even tiny packages of 100 percent catnip, so powerful Doering urges you not to leave your cat alone with it.

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