by Julia Baker
WHEN Paula Toohey was bitten by a snake last year she decided it was time to follow her passion, and her dream of one day opening a flower shop began to bloom.
"Last August I got bitten by a King Brown and I had conversation with the kids when I got to hospital in Toowoomba that I need to start doing something for me," Ms Toohey said.
"You become a mum and you pretty much lose your identity and it just went from one thing to another, I always had a passion for flowers so I started on the verandah at the cafe and it just went from strength to strength."
Ten months later Ms Toohey has swung open the doors to The Flower Shed in style, with a grand opening attended by more than 50 Miles locals and close family and friends, including Councillor Andrew Smith.
Ms Toohey, an Irish native and single mum, also owns The Creek Cafe in Miles.
Her new venture is the culmination of months spent renovating the cafe's storage shed with the help of some skillfull friends.
"One of my friends, a builder from Origin, came here on his days off and he just did everything along with another friend. Lots of friends chipped in and helped," she said.
"I think there has been a market for a florist in Miles for a while and for me, after the gas boom, it's what you have to do as a single parent - it's survival," she said.
"It's a family run business but the kids aren't here much, they take care of everything at home. This is who I am, it's my passion and I am doing something that is such a treat. When I'm stressed I come in here."
Ms Toohey's selects the fresh flowers for the business and said having no formal training in floristry works in her favour.
"I don't think I ever will do any training because when you do that it becomes so commercialised and I think you lose your sense of creativity.
"I travel to Brisbane once a week depending on how busy it is and go to different suppliers and pick them fresh and try to get something unique which is really good."
She said she doesn't know where she draws inspiration from when putting together bouquets but tries to ensure they are personalised.
"I can't explain it, it just happens.
"When I know I have an order I ask who it's for and if I know them, I take a bit of information from people who are ordering and get a feel for the person."