Eric Brown, the co-owner of Urbane Apartments, owns twenty buildings which house over 800 tenants. For over five years Eric had contemplated integrating community gardens into some of his landscapes. Over the years he met with several prospective gardeners, but nothing materialized. Then he visited The Garden Detroit's website and was intrigued by our vision and our work. He called Tom, who invited him to come to meet the crew and see the gardens. Eric came the next day and when he walked through the entrance arbor of Detroit Abloom, he instantly knew that was the type of garden he dreamed of. He loved the lavender gardens and thought they would look good year round. He also decided to help support our goal of turning vacant blighted land into beautiful and productive landscapes. Thus, Tom and Eric became fast friends and immediately began to develop a partnership.
The pictures above show how we developed the 130' x 30' garden at 1923 Crooks. First we removed the grass and then made the lavender beds using a mixture of 1/3 each of topsoil, compost and sand. Then we planted 300 lavender plants. Next we outlined the gardens with some 250 feet of raised metal beds which were planted with dahlias. Alongside the apartment buildings, we added tomato plants with the dahlias. Eric was pleased to have us incorporate our signature purple arbors, split-rail cedar fencing and signage into his gardens.
The partnership was based on mutual benefits. In exchange for The Garden Detroit designing and constructing sanctuary gardens on Urbane Apartment properties so that his residents and the surrounding community get to enjoy the beauty of the gardens, Detroit Abloom was able to harvest the lavender and dahlia blooms to increase our flower production. The heirloom tomatoes grown on the properties were there for his residents and neighbors to pick and take home. Within a matter of weeks, Tom worked with Eric to design and construct magnificent gardens on two Urbane properties, the first at 1923 Crooks Road and the second at 4023 Crooks.
Eric is an entrepreneur who wanted to help us find ways to market not only our flowers and bouquets, but also the concept of Detroit Abloom. He believes that this collaborative partnership he had with us may spur other business owners to follow his example. Presently, we are using this partnership model to attract other community-development organizations who may like us to replicate a version of our Detroit Abloom model on their properties, but from now on only within the city of Detroit.