urban11It was Henry Mitchell who wrote that defiance is what makes gardeners; I believe him.  Everyone who works for me gardens.  It is interesting to see what they make, and how they use their voice.  This loft right downtown in Pontiac is home to Lauren Hanson; she works in the store. It is one of many buildings in the area in various states of disrepair and dereliction.  But it is obvious she has an idea about how to live and garden. Defiantly.

urban3She is young, and has adventuresome ideas.  She tells me she likes living in this loft, that it has so much more presence and attitude than a suite of rooms in an apartment building.  This urban location doesn’t dismay her in the least; she is energized by it. A friend built her a windowbox for the floor of her mini-deck, and she planted flowers in very lively colors.  The mossed baskets in the windows take some of the edge off the bars on the windows.

urban5When Lauren has a design idea, she figures out how to get there with materials she spots at house sales and thrift shops.  The planted galvanized florist’s buckets hanging from the railing look sassy, and sensational.  They are a great shape, and the silver sheen repeats the color and shine of blue sky reflecting off the windows glass.  She tells me she will live here until she finds a house she can buy. In the meantime, she has made this loft a home , with a very good looking  garden.  All the plants are well grown, and kept up.  She is of independent mind, and she has a great spirit; this is unusual people her age. She has her own ideas about what’s good, and what’s important.  Even more impressive, she’s self effacing to a fault; my customers really like her.  She has made it her business to learn about plants, and their care, so she can help people.  She’s made an effort to become knowledgable about what we have-this you cannot hire.

urban4Number 43 is not only occupied, but it is occupied by an urban pioneer who gardens. She has big ideas, and good things ahead of her. This very petite blond woman hauls around forty pound bags of soil like its nothing. She looks after our plants and pots.  She photographs everything we have, and maintains our website.  She does the work of the posting for me. Like I said, she has a fire burning all of her own making; it will be interesting to see where she takes that.



  1. Dear Lauren,
    Your garden is as charming as you are…and that is a lot of charm.
    I love it when you are tending shop. You are so very kind, helpful and knowledgeable. You make the whole place fill with sunshine. You are a keeper!

  2. Peggy Dryer says

    Wow! Lauren, you have put a little piece of heaven in the dull, worn out alley! Beautifully done, great colors and textures.(love the moss window baskets)

    Debra, You have been a great inspiration and mentor to Lauren. She has learned so much working for you and you could say she has ‘blossomed’ in the art of gardening.
    Thank-you for the wonderful write up and encouraging words.

    Sincerely, Peggy Dryer

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