Pushing Up Daisies: Inside Detroit’s Flower House
At 11751 Dequindre Street, in a small town just north of Detroit, Lisa Waud is breathing life (and death and life again) into an abandoned home.
Last year, at a city auction of foreclosed homes, Waud purchased 11751 Dequindre Street and the adjacent property. With the help of Reclaim Detroit (who is salvaging and recycling most of the materials from the house itself), she intends to build a small farm–Flower House Farm–which will eventually supply her shop Pot & Box, in keeping with the Slow Flowers Movement (a spin on the Slow Food Movement).
Waud wanted to honor what had once been the home at 11751 Dequindre Street before eventually demolishing the structure. Inspired by Dior’s 2012 F/W fashion show and the installations of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, she decided to create Flower House–a project that would cover every wall, counter, fixture, and inch of floor space with florals and plants.
With the help of 27 different florists from across the country, Waud opened the doors to Detroit’s Flower House for just three days, having transformed each trash covered, disintegrating story of the building into a lush, botanic wonderland. In her Indiegogo campaign, Waud countered criticisms that her installation would be “wasteful” by pointing out the way in which the flowers are “part of a story being recounted, told, and written”. After Flower House closed to the public, the installations were disassembled, collected by volunteers, and are now being used in the compost that will eventually constitute the soil for Flower House Farm.
Detroit, a city now known for its financial crisis and job loss rather than the glory it once enjoyed, has struggled immensely to institute stability from a political perspective. But its residents have found ways of rebuilding with very literal grassroots efforts. With their work, Waud and Flower House have demonstrated yet another way in which we might make use of otherwise forgotten space, while still respecting the past and keeping a keen eye towards the future.
Though the exhibit is no longer open, you can stay up to date on the progress of Flower House Farm through Flower House’s Facebook page. Check out the video from their Indiegogo campaign below!