Ashley Taylor holds bouquets of fresh tulips in her shop space at Kicker Room Blooms on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024. Photo by Kinsey Brown for The Cordova Times
Ashley Taylor holds bouquets of fresh tulips in her shop space at Kicker Room Blooms on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024. Photo by Kinsey Brown for The Cordova Times

Kicker Room Blooms is providing Cordova with fresh tulips in the middle of winter. The new florist business is operated by Ashley Taylor who wanted to find a way to invest in her passion for gardening flowers year-round.  

“I was really surprised how much joy it brought me to be tending and growing plants in the middle of our darkest days, that was therapeutic for me,” she said. “Now that I get to share that with our community I hope that it does the same for folks in town.”  

Kicker Room Blooms is located at the North Harbor in the line of shops flanked by Sue’s Knives and Drifters Fish. Upon entering the shop, visitors are greeted with a wall to the left displaying a rainbow of hand-dipped candles. A large mirror and hanging disco ball work together to reflect the colorful poster displays of flowers from around the world. Taylor makes transactions behind an antique style oak and glass case displaying some of her growing tulips.  

Following Taylor behind a beaded curtain to the back shop space reveals the staging space and hydroponic growing system used to propagate the fresh flowers.  

In order to create fresh bouquets during the dark days of January, Taylor relies on a hydroponic setup where bulbs are placed in shallow trays filled with water underneath a grow light.  

Unlike hydroponic setups that many people may imagine with complicated nutrient delivery systems, there is no flowing water or automated outputs. Taylor says that the nature of the tulip bulbs lends itself to simple tray cultivation.  


“All the nutrients that the flowers need are stored within the bulbs,” she said.  

Each shallow tray is fitted with plastic spikes upon which bulbs are affixed so that the roots may be submerged in water while the body of the bulb remains dry. Every couple of days, Taylor tops off the water and monitors progress. Within an average of six weeks in this system, fresh blooming tulips are produced and cut by Taylor for sale in her storefront.  

Taylor says there are a variety of factors to consider for the indoor hydroponic growing process including air flow, humidity, hours of light, and temperature. She monitors these through sensors which connect to her phone and alert her when numbers stray out of ideal ranges. So far, she says the process of growing hydroponic tulips has been a trial-and-error learning experience.  

“I lost two trays due to a humidity spike during the second week of growth,” she said about a recent batch of orange tulips.  

Taylor first got the idea to grow hydroponic flowers after seeing a farmers market in Maine selling flowers during the wintertime.  

“I was really curious how they were doing that and I thought, ‘if they can do that in Maine, surely we can do that in Alaska,’” she said.  

Some research into the farm’s methods led her to take a virtual course in indoor tulip growing that she completed last year.  

“I realized it was something that would work well for Cordova,” she said. “Because we have a lot of good, clean water but soil is hard to come by.”  

The name of the business comes from the first spot that Taylor chose to root the bulbs in: an old kicker room near Copper River Seafoods. A kicker room is a shop work space in a cannery where fishermen were traditionally able to work on their skiff’s outboard motors, otherwise known as “kickers.”  

Taylor explains that this space, located at the old MORPAC cannery, had all the right conditions for proper rooting: air flow from the open water nearby, cool temperature and a protected cover.  

“When I was first trialing it I was looking for a space where I didn’t have to invest in all the inputs, spaces that had the right conditions,” she said.  

She rooted and began growing her first batch last January. The old kicker room was so successful for the rooting that all of Taylor’s tulips still begin their journey there before being transferred to the hydroponic growing stage.  

Taylor says her first few cut bouquets went mostly to friends in town and to a few locals who contacted her. This small-scale effort has now blossomed into the brick and mortar that she now operates.  

In addition to fresh cut stems, Kicker Room Blooms also offers a multitude of dried florals in various colors. Patrons can pick their favorite stems to make their own dried bouquet or choose some pre-arranged bundles. Further, the shop also hosts a variety of plant-related products including pots, growing accessories, plant-based soaps, and garden fertilizer.  

The business is in its early stages, and Taylor is still deciding on the future growth of the endeavor, which may include fresh garlic and cut flowers grown outside in the summer. For now, Taylor says she plans on having fresh stems available during upcoming holidays including Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Mother’s Day. More information can be found on her website at