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the secret garden

BY BRIDGETTE BASSA

In his book The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett writes that, “Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden - in all the places.” At Urban Buds it is that same kind of magic that seems to be pushing flowers from their soil and into the hands of St. Louisans. While this historic plot of land located in Dutchtown is quite magical, the two owners will tell you that magic takes quite a bit of patience and a lot of hard work. Before the hands of Urban Bud’s owners ever touched the property’s soil it was home to a German family in 1870. Bought by Herman Held in 1904, flowers were farmed for various restaurants in the St. Louis area until 1925 when Held opened his own florist shop. It functioned well for three generations but was found vacant and vandalized when the new owners, Mimo and Miranda, discovered it. After purchasing the property and rehabilitating it in 2012, they reopened the flower farm and added chickens and bumblebees. The chickens help fertilize the farm and also control pests. The bees pollinate and create delectable honey. This practice is both organic and sustainable. With almost an acre of land to tend, seventy varietals are grown by hand on site and adopted by local florists throughout the week or collected by the farmer’s market attendees on weekends. Eighty percent of flowers consumed in the U.S. are grown and shipped from overseas, so this makes Urban Buds a rare find. The farm also offers an on-site workshop to educate the community and provides budget-conscious ways for brides to get their bouquet game on. “We want everyone to be able to enjoy

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beautiful flowers no matter their income bracket,” said Miranda, which is how they came up with the idea of the Wedding Bucket. It’s a build-your-own bouquet service where the bride can invite her friends to help create the floral arrangements for the big day. This experience is perfect for the DIYer looking for a creative opportunity to bond with her bridal party. Within the walls of the property there is a greenhouse, raised tunnel, and a field used for growing flowers but Mimo and Miranda haven’t stopped there. Recently, their neighbor offered up her yard as well. Where there was once tall grass and weeds, there are now poppies and tulips. But perhaps our favorite space that Urban Buds recently claimed is outside of its walls. During our visit, Miranda took us to the back alley where the trash and recycling bins were and we witnessed even more flower-growing magic. Along the alley there are flowers tucked into open beds and hops waiting to greet their trellises. What once was an outdoor hallway of old mattresses, broken furniture and debris from garbage is now an invitation to see the world the way it was meant to be seen: life and beauty blooming all around. “This way the community and neighborhood get to really have some kind of contact with agriculture. If we kept everything on the other side of the fence they would have no idea. But this way they get to see the flowers grow,” Miranda noted. The duo’s enthusiasm to share agriculture with their community is contagious as is their shared passion for redemption and restoration. There is great power in taking the unseen and overlooked spaces we pass everyday and helping others to see the beauty that exists there; to be reminded of the magic that surrounds us daily. Urban Buds is doing a remarkable job of photograph by Hannah Foldy helping us all see exactly that. illustrated by Abigail St. Claire

Profile for The City Dossier

The City Dossier | Issue 01 // Spring 2016  

Issue 01 // Spring 2016

The City Dossier | Issue 01 // Spring 2016  

Issue 01 // Spring 2016

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