Nancy Weigandt   The first summer I planted flowers of any consequence was in 1984 when in my early 30's I worked at a high power management corporate job. Although I had mistakenly planted a peony and a clematis in the wrong light and soil conditions and watched them struggle for two seasons, I became hooked on gardening. Season after season I continued to expand my knowledge and hands-on experience and learned from every mistake I made.  Every winter (this is before the internet) I would take out every plant book I could peruse and learn from. Then, during the growing season I expanded my own garden and worked in many others, including friends and my landscaping clients. I have always been drawn to unusual annuals, glorious frilly blooms and inspiring foliage. I cannot think of any plant I have not wanted to grow and understand and they have all served to help me develop my horticultural skills.  Today I continue to scour gardening books and have acquired champion Googling skills. I'm innately curious about nature and I think that is what led me down the path and brought me to where I am now; all these years have added to my store of facts and gardening wisdom, which has allowed me to become a flower farmer. I eventually left the corporate world and have experienced great joy at pursuing my passion for flowers full-time.  Flowers feed my soul and my imagination in that they provide me with a sense of wonder for their abject sophistication and beauty. I'm practically overwhelmed with joy to provide a seed with what it needs to become a living plant that I can share with others. When anyone appreciates the beauty of our bouquets, I feel the same sense of awe that they do. What I love most about the business of flower farming within our community is sharing my knowledge and joy with others.

Nancy Weigandt

The first summer I planted flowers of any consequence was in 1984 when in my early 30's I worked at a high power management corporate job. Although I had mistakenly planted a peony and a clematis in the wrong light and soil conditions and watched them struggle for two seasons, I became hooked on gardening. Season after season I continued to expand my knowledge and hands-on experience and learned from every mistake I made.

Every winter (this is before the internet) I would take out every plant book I could peruse and learn from. Then, during the growing season I expanded my own garden and worked in many others, including friends and my landscaping clients. I have always been drawn to unusual annuals, glorious frilly blooms and inspiring foliage. I cannot think of any plant I have not wanted to grow and understand and they have all served to help me develop my horticultural skills.

Today I continue to scour gardening books and have acquired champion Googling skills. I'm innately curious about nature and I think that is what led me down the path and brought me to where I am now; all these years have added to my store of facts and gardening wisdom, which has allowed me to become a flower farmer. I eventually left the corporate world and have experienced great joy at pursuing my passion for flowers full-time.

Flowers feed my soul and my imagination in that they provide me with a sense of wonder for their abject sophistication and beauty. I'm practically overwhelmed with joy to provide a seed with what it needs to become a living plant that I can share with others. When anyone appreciates the beauty of our bouquets, I feel the same sense of awe that they do. What I love most about the business of flower farming within our community is sharing my knowledge and joy with others.

 
Amy Otterson   In January 2014, after working for over a half decade in medical sales, Amy left her job in Chicago to immerse herself in a yoga instructor training program at Pavones Yoga Center in Costa Rica. After a month of living in the jungle on the ocean’s edge, eating locally-sourced organic food and practicing daily yoga, she felt intense positive changes on her body, mind and soul. This realization led her to dedicate the next year and a half to traveling abroad in order to study sustainable food production, permaculture, yoga and holistic healing.  In South America, Amy taught yoga at a healing center in Peru’s Sacred Valley, where she learned about plant-based medicine and how to care for the center’s garden. Amy then traveled north of Lima, where she lived on a sustainable farm, sharing her yoga practice and learning their culture and unique farming methods.  In 2015, Amy moved to Southeast Asia, where she obtained her Permaculture Design Certificate in Thailand. She worked as a volunteer on a project focused on the production of sustainable food, as well as the education of the wellness of all beings.  Amy felt called to Detroit due to its need for mental, physical and spiritual healing, and as part of her mission to help revitalize the city, she joined The Garden Detroit. Amy sees yoga and food as critical and crucial tools for overall transformation. Her vision includes hosting yoga retreats at The Garden and building a wellness center/sustainable homestead-style farm.

Amy Otterson

In January 2014, after working for over a half decade in medical sales, Amy left her job in Chicago to immerse herself in a yoga instructor training program at Pavones Yoga Center in Costa Rica. After a month of living in the jungle on the ocean’s edge, eating locally-sourced organic food and practicing daily yoga, she felt intense positive changes on her body, mind and soul. This realization led her to dedicate the next year and a half to traveling abroad in order to study sustainable food production, permaculture, yoga and holistic healing.

In South America, Amy taught yoga at a healing center in Peru’s Sacred Valley, where she learned about plant-based medicine and how to care for the center’s garden. Amy then traveled north of Lima, where she lived on a sustainable farm, sharing her yoga practice and learning their culture and unique farming methods.

In 2015, Amy moved to Southeast Asia, where she obtained her Permaculture Design Certificate in Thailand. She worked as a volunteer on a project focused on the production of sustainable food, as well as the education of the wellness of all beings.

Amy felt called to Detroit due to its need for mental, physical and spiritual healing, and as part of her mission to help revitalize the city, she joined The Garden Detroit. Amy sees yoga and food as critical and crucial tools for overall transformation. Her vision includes hosting yoga retreats at The Garden and building a wellness center/sustainable homestead-style farm.

 
Melissa Jo Arondoski   Photographing people, personalities and their spaces in this world is what I love. As a professional photographer for over 20 years, I have recently jumped into my own small business ownership role with Mojo Photo. One resonating fact over the years, that brings me back to why I do what I do is that I have always strived to make people see themselves as beautiful as they are to others. Beauty is something we can all have in common. My work with Detroit Abloom started off as a draw to simple beauty. Beauty of a garden, beauty of a flower, the tranquil feeling you get when you step out onto a soft spot of grass in the summer. I love the people, the gardens and the feeling of togetherness at Detroit Abloom.  My husband Ray and I are also avid beekeepers and working with Bees in the D is one of the first exposures to Detroit Abloom that we had. Working so close with nature already, it was organic and natural how our transition to the garden evolved. Our daughters Helena and Josie, are usually with us, helping with our beekeeping and gardening endeavors. You can also find them helping out with sales at any of our events, their sheer enthusiasm and helpfulness always makes me inspired and proud.  I have enriched my life even more becoming part of Detroit Abloom and cannot wait to bring more beauty to the world, and have some fun doing it!

Melissa Jo Arondoski

Photographing people, personalities and their spaces in this world is what I love. As a professional photographer for over 20 years, I have recently jumped into my own small business ownership role with Mojo Photo. One resonating fact over the years, that brings me back to why I do what I do is that I have always strived to make people see themselves as beautiful as they are to others. Beauty is something we can all have in common. My work with Detroit Abloom started off as a draw to simple beauty. Beauty of a garden, beauty of a flower, the tranquil feeling you get when you step out onto a soft spot of grass in the summer. I love the people, the gardens and the feeling of togetherness at Detroit Abloom.

My husband Ray and I are also avid beekeepers and working with Bees in the D is one of the first exposures to Detroit Abloom that we had. Working so close with nature already, it was organic and natural how our transition to the garden evolved. Our daughters Helena and Josie, are usually with us, helping with our beekeeping and gardening endeavors. You can also find them helping out with sales at any of our events, their sheer enthusiasm and helpfulness always makes me inspired and proud.

I have enriched my life even more becoming part of Detroit Abloom and cannot wait to bring more beauty to the world, and have some fun doing it!

 
Justine Schneider   Amazing board member, guru of accounting, whimsical wizard of artistry and food.

Justine Schneider

Amazing board member, guru of accounting, whimsical wizard of artistry and food.

Tom Milano   All my life I've been fascinated by the beauty and wonder of nature. Ever since we started Detroit Abloom and began building flower gardens to repurpose vacant blighted lots for the betterment of our community, I've seen how people are naturally attracted to flowers. Not everyone is keen about vegetable gardens, but hardly anyone objects to flowers.  I've watched with delight to see Nancy and the volunteers who work with her to become increasingly drawn into the wondrous world of flowers and I have to admit that my interest has grown significantly. When we market our flowers, I've noticed how often people are eager to support the goals of The Detroit Abloom by purchasing bouquets and other value-added items. This goodness in peoples hearts has given me a glimpse of the tremendous potential for others to join our vision to create jobs and beautify our Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood.  On another note, I've got to say that flowers inspire my faith in God. Knowing God is the life force that animates every aspect of Creation, I often find myself marveling at His artistically exquisite handiwork. I find it fascinating and challenging to meet the specific requirements of different plants so that they thrive and we can include more varieties in our gardens. In short, I'm thrilled that we at Detroit Abloom can share our love for flowers and community with others. I'm realizing that flowers have great potential to open peoples hearts, put smiles on faces, and help unite our community in a vision that we can all be proud of. In my heart, I see Detroit blooming from within and without just like some of the most beautiful flowers we grow.

Tom Milano

All my life I've been fascinated by the beauty and wonder of nature. Ever since we started Detroit Abloom and began building flower gardens to repurpose vacant blighted lots for the betterment of our community, I've seen how people are naturally attracted to flowers. Not everyone is keen about vegetable gardens, but hardly anyone objects to flowers.

I've watched with delight to see Nancy and the volunteers who work with her to become increasingly drawn into the wondrous world of flowers and I have to admit that my interest has grown significantly. When we market our flowers, I've noticed how often people are eager to support the goals of The Detroit Abloom by purchasing bouquets and other value-added items. This goodness in peoples hearts has given me a glimpse of the tremendous potential for others to join our vision to create jobs and beautify our Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood.

On another note, I've got to say that flowers inspire my faith in God. Knowing God is the life force that animates every aspect of Creation, I often find myself marveling at His artistically exquisite handiwork. I find it fascinating and challenging to meet the specific requirements of different plants so that they thrive and we can include more varieties in our gardens. In short, I'm thrilled that we at Detroit Abloom can share our love for flowers and community with others. I'm realizing that flowers have great potential to open peoples hearts, put smiles on faces, and help unite our community in a vision that we can all be proud of. In my heart, I see Detroit blooming from within and without just like some of the most beautiful flowers we grow.

 
Lani Martin   Lani, a San Francisco transplant, is inspired by the deep sense of pride Detroiters have for their city and is excited to be part of its revitalization. A granddaughter to two sets of farmers (dairy, pineapple and vegetable), she feels working in agriculture is in her blood. She enjoys the hands-on aspect of farming, with harvest days being her favorite days to volunteer. A creative at heart, Lani brings over 20 years of writing, marketing and branding experience to the organization.

Lani Martin

Lani, a San Francisco transplant, is inspired by the deep sense of pride Detroiters have for their city and is excited to be part of its revitalization. A granddaughter to two sets of farmers (dairy, pineapple and vegetable), she feels working in agriculture is in her blood. She enjoys the hands-on aspect of farming, with harvest days being her favorite days to volunteer. A creative at heart, Lani brings over 20 years of writing, marketing and branding experience to the organization.

 
Ray Arondoski III   My name is Ray Arondoski iii, born here in the Metro Detroit area. Automotive restorer by trade. Artist, Beekeeper and Gardner by passion. Grosse Pointe Park resident loving being able to help make a difference in the revitalization of Detroit. Hard working and like to get stuff done!  Other non-profit affiliates:  Bees in the D

Ray Arondoski III

My name is Ray Arondoski iii, born here in the Metro Detroit area. Automotive restorer by trade. Artist, Beekeeper and Gardner by passion. Grosse Pointe Park resident loving being able to help make a difference in the revitalization of Detroit. Hard working and like to get stuff done!

Other non-profit affiliates:

Bees in the D

 
keith cunningham   Keith is a native Detroiter currently living in Grosse Pointe Farms. He and wife Joyce (of 42 years) have two daughters, Corinn and Hillary and are blessed with two grandchildren Bryce and Brooke.  His passions include travel, food, golf, family & friends and of course flowers.  Keith recently retired from nearly 40 years in the Detroit based advertising/marketing business. He was employed by many well know publications like Conde Nast Traveler, Popular Science and Thrillist.  His greatest joy was working at The National Geographic Society for 13 years. Here he became the National Automotive Manager for National Geographic Traveler Magazine.  Keith became associated with Detroit Abloom in May 2018. He discovered the Organization by accident after seeing their Facebook pages. After visiting their websites he became enamored with their vision and mission and wanted to help this very worthwhile non-profit endeavor. Keith was just elected to their Board of Directors in January 2019.  Keith became motivated by the community outreach performed by Detroit Abloom. They are not just about fresh cut flowers. They continually hold seminars for adults on a variety of subjects. They go into elementary school classrooms teaching our children about the beauty of flowers. Also teaching how to plant and nurture vegetables as well.

keith cunningham

Keith is a native Detroiter currently living in Grosse Pointe Farms. He and wife Joyce (of 42 years) have two daughters, Corinn and Hillary and are blessed with two grandchildren Bryce and Brooke.

His passions include travel, food, golf, family & friends and of course flowers.

Keith recently retired from nearly 40 years in the Detroit based advertising/marketing business. He was employed by many well know publications like Conde Nast Traveler, Popular Science and Thrillist.

His greatest joy was working at The National Geographic Society for 13 years. Here he became the National Automotive Manager for National Geographic Traveler Magazine.

Keith became associated with Detroit Abloom in May 2018. He discovered the Organization by accident after seeing their Facebook pages. After visiting their websites he became enamored with their vision and mission and wanted to help this very worthwhile non-profit endeavor. Keith was just elected to their Board of Directors in January 2019.

Keith became motivated by the community outreach performed by Detroit Abloom. They are not just about fresh cut flowers. They continually hold seminars for adults on a variety of subjects. They go into elementary school classrooms teaching our children about the beauty of flowers. Also teaching how to plant and nurture vegetables as well.