While many East Aldine residents are tending their poinsettias and Christmas cacti, Gina Benitez and Nately Hinojosa already are making plans for Valentines’ Day.

The mother-daughter duo, who work together at Pistol and Petal Florist, at 2021 Aldine Mail Route Rd., have been providing “budget friendly” floral designs for quincañeras, bridal showers, weddings and funerals for the East Aldine community for about four years.

Benitez had been a florist in Old Town Spring since 1994. Hinojosa joined her mother at their East Aldine shop, where they “rebranded” the business with a new name, logo and website. Their shop, located in a busy business center next to Aldine Fitness Gym, serves as the place where they schedule meetings with potential clients and launch deliveries.

“Our approach to each arrangement is made with love for all events, from weddings to baby showers and much more,” the company’s website states.

Pistol & Petal works closely with La Gala Banquet Hall and Brookside Cemetery to meet the needs of families in East Aldine.

“We are from the neighborhood, and we do try to provide budget-friendly packages for people in the area, because that makes sense,” Hinojosa said. “People in our community might have a lower income, so we do work with people so they can have a great event, whether it’s a baby shower or wedding, or just a casual arrangement.”

“It’s really nice to be able to work with so many people that we know,” Hinojosa said.

Nately Hinojosa, left, & Gina Benitez

Although many people appreciate beautiful flower arrangements, most don’t understand that it’s a complicated business that requires locating supplies from flowers to “hard supplies,” as well as the detailed preparation work that goes into each arrangement, according to Hinojosa.

A favorite recent event, Hinojosa said, was the creation of “An Enchanted Forest” for one local young lady’s recent quincañera. It was held at La Galla Banquet Hall at 1600 Aldine Bender Rd. Pistol and Petal is one of their preferred suppliers.

“That took a lot of work, but it was really, really beautiful,” she said.

“We have also been making a lot of flowers for area business’ Christmas parties,” Hinojosa said. “My mother took a lot of training, and then she taught me. It is hard work, but I do enjoy it. It’s kind of my therapy.”

Hinojosa and her husband, Julian Garamillo, have three children who attend school in East Aldine. She said she’s still trying to “make it up” to her mother for not having a quincañera and then getting married at the Harris County Courthouse.

“Maybe she can throw me a big 30th birthday party next year,” she said with a laugh.

The proprietors of Pistol and Petal (“pistol” is a play on the word pistil, a part of a flower) are mindful of families’ needs at times of grief, Hinojosa said: “Brookside does hand out our cards, and we are prepared to do all kinds of flowers for funerals. We have dealt with them for many years, so we can help out with casket spays and many different things.”

The best way to order flowers from Pistol and Petals is through their website, where customers can fill out their information, and request a call-back. The business is also on Facebook. For information, visit PistolPetal.com. The phone number is 832-429-7874.

And, Hinojosa said, it’s never too early to order flowers for their busiest day of the year: Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.

“People might want to think about placing their orders now,” she recommended.

— by Anne Marie Kilday