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.

 

Julia Griffin

In 2015, while pursuing a degree in Nutrition and Food Science at Wayne State University, I decided I wanted to learn how to grow food – something that’s so important to our lives, but is rarely discussed in school or conventional nutrition programs. Shortly thereafter, I was introduced to Tom and Nancy and I’ve been organic farming ever since!

That year, while volunteering at their vegetable farm, The Garden, Nancy and I cultivated a variety of cut flowers as an experiment and I soon fell in love with flower farming. Tom and Nancy graciously took me under their wings and I became the first employee of Detroit Abloom the following season, which is my dream job. On top of watching our seeds grow into the most amazing cut flowers, I’ve gotten to watch the Detroit Abloom business grow from the ground up and I've learned a wealth of knowledge from two incredibly seasoned farmers.

The favorite part of my job is connecting with people in the community through the loveliness of flowers and spending my days surrounded by nature, watching our hard work blossom into beauty.

I’m looking forward to what the future holds for Detroit Abloom.  Growing flowers brings me so much happiness – that I would love to share with others. By spreading the knowledge I have gained throughout my short time as a farmer, I would love to encourage others to join the flower farming movement.

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 Julia 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 Garden Detroit 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 or Her artistically exquisite handiwork. I find it also 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 with others. I'm realizing more and more that flowers have great potential to open peoples hearts, put smiles on faces, and help unite our community in a business 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.