In Honor of Maximina Castrillo, Cape May’s Flower Lady
Flowers bring you happiness,” a simple yet beautiful statement from the recently departed Maximina Castrillo. Known in Cape May as The Flower Lady, she moved here in 1991 from the Philippines, where she had years of experience caring for exotic plants and flowers. Once she began to assist Lou and Carol Elwell in the garden in Cape May, she spread joy throughout town with her fresh-cut vibrantly colored zinnias, sold at a wooden stand across the street from Madison Avenue Park.
Maximina was part of Cape May Magazine twice in the summer of 2020; first with her gorgeous bouquets featured on the cover of our early summer issue, and second as the Islander of our High Summer issue. In that interview with Tommy Raniszewski, she shared her experience with the major cultural transition of coming to South Jersey from Southeast Asia and her take on the town.
The community appreciated her services so much that Mayor Zachory Mullock granted her an official proclamation in May of 2022. She was recognized by the city for her “enrichment and beautification of the Cape May community.’
If you don’t recall seeing her small garden and simple stand, lush with petals, you may have seen her flowers displayed at local bed and breakfasts or motels. She also supplied many local homes with the magic from her garden. However, the flowers were not the extent of the appeal; locals would visit the stand for her peaceful and delightful presence as well. She said in her interview with Tommy “Every time I see my customers happy buying flowers, it makes me happy,” and that joy is the best transaction there is.
Her presence and contribution to Cape May will surely be missed.