A Flower Farm Blooms From An Abandoned House In Detroit

DETROIT -- The ephemeral installation that filled an abandoned house with flowers last weekend was over before the blossoms had time to wilt, but it leaves behind the seeds of a plan to keep the property blooming for years. The Flower House, created by florist Lisa Waud and severaldozen collaborators from around the country, opened in the Detroit enclave of Hamtramck for about2,000 visitors. The brief exhibition is only the first stage in Wauds plan for the site, which will eventually be home to a flower farm.Waud first started dreaming about a large-scale floral installation after seeing photos of a 2012 fashion show thatused a million flowers for an ethereal backdrop, but her plan for the Flower House really began to take shape whenshe settled on a site. Last year, she purchased two adjacent vacant houses at Hamtramcks housing auction for $500. "I opened up the door, and it was full of clothes and mail and broken furniture and all kinds of things, and that's when I realized that it wasn't just a campus for our work. ... and realized that I was responsible for the house even after the project was complete."After hauling out several tons of debris, stabilizing the structures and doing a trial run, Waud invited a dozen florists to Hamtramck last week to transform one of the houses into a work of art, using tens of thousands of blossoms, branches and vegetables to create a separate installation in each room, and on the staircases and porches.Knives and forks were swept up into a wild cyclone sculpture that took over an empty upstairs room, and fresh peppers and tomatoes spilled out of kitchen cabinets. In the bathroom, flower chains replaced the shower curtain and a roll of birch bark spun where toilet paper used to hang.All the flowers were donated by American flower farms, who sent greenery by the truckload. Their involvement sparked a realization in Waud: that the project should continuebeyond the installation.The house will be deconstructed, a process that salvages materials so they can be reused, and the leftover blooms will become mulch for dahlias and peonies shell grow for her business, Pot & Box.Some have questioned the valueof tearing down a houseafter pouring so much time and effort into it. But toWaud, its her individualway of growing her business, putting down roots in the city and bringing a little life back to the block.Were bettering our amazing city, Waud said Friday at a dinner held to promoteAmerican flower farmers, on ground that will soon hold peony beds.Woolly Office of ArchitectureWere doing creative reuse of buildings and land," she continued. "Were celebrating immense collaboration and generosity, were celebrating the simple idea of beauty, were celebrating local and national pride for our farms and we're celebrating rebirth."Scroll down to seephotos of the Flower House, courtesy of Heather Saunders Photography:Heather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyHeather Saunders PhotographyKate Abbey-Lambertz covers the ways cities are evolving and innovating to become more sustainable, as well as land use, housing and inequality. Tips? Email: kate.abbey-lambertz@huffingtonpost.com.Also on HuffPost:Green Artists Making Climate Change A PriorityOlafur Eliasson's IcebergsFor "Your waste of time," Olafur Eliasson displayed pieces of ice that broke off from Icelands largest glacier, Vatnajkull. Exhibited in a refrigerated gallery space powered by solar panels, the ice "sculptures" represented 800 years of Earthly existence, putting human's physical experience in perspective. "The obvious lesson of Mr. Eliassons installation, 'Your waste of time,' is that global warming is wreaking havoc on nature," Ken Johnson wrote in The New York Times last year.Olafur Eliasson's IcebergsFor "Your waste of time," Olafur Eliasson displayed pieces of ice that broke off from Icelands largest glacier, Vatnajkull. Exhibited in a refrigerated gallery space powered by solar panels, the ice "sculptures" represented 800 years of Earthly existence, putting human's physical experience in perspective. "The obvious lesson of Mr. Eliassons installation, 'Your waste of time,' is that global warming is wreaking havoc on nature," Ken Johnson wrote in The New York Times last year.imageDavid Maisel's Photographs of Open Pit MinesAt first glance, David Maisel's gorgeous photographs seem to celebrate the natural beauty of another planet, but his deep blue swirls and red craters actually depict the aerial appearance of environmentally impacted sites in the United States transformed by water reclamation, logging, military tests and mining. "With the mining sites, I found a subject matter that carried forth my fascination with the undoing of the landscape, in terms of both its formal beauty and its environmental politics," Maisel writes on his website.imageLuzinterruptus' Waste LabyrinthThe art collective Luzinterruptus has a history of tackling political and social issues in Europe. The "Labyrinth of Plastic Waste" is but one example."We were looking to demonstrate, in a poetic manner, the amount of plastic waste that is consumed daily," Luzinterruptus explained in a statement. "In addition to focusing attention on the big business of bottling water, which leads to very serious problems in developing countries, whose citizens have watched as their aquifers have been privatized with impunity for the exclusive enrichment of large business owners and ruling classes without scruples."embedAmanda Schachter and Alexander Levi's Harvest DomeArchitects Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi's massive "Harvest Dome 2.0," assembled from 450 umbrellas and 128 bottles, once floated around the inlet of Inwood Hill Park in New York City. Deemed a piece of "performance architecture," the 24 by 18-foot structure further proves the world's garbage can we reused in many unexpected ways.imageJohn Sabraw's Toxic Sludge PaintingsUsing toxic runoff found in the Ohio River region, artist and professor John Sabraw produces his own DIY pigments -- bold yellows and reds that are sourced from the oxidized sludge of abandoned coal mines. Rather than using imported iron oxide from China to make his paint colors, he taps into the water's heavy metals left over from abandoned coal mines, bringing to light the region's pollution problem in the process."The artist, like the scientist, has a crucial role to perform in our society," Sabraw explained to HuffPost. "See things differently, act on this vision, report the failures and successes."imageNaziha Mestaoui's Virtual ForestsNaziha Mestaoui's "One Beat One Tree" projects virtual forests onto city spaces, blurring the boundaries between the natural world and advancing technology. The digital trees actually grow in rhythm with a person's heartbeat, as viewers can connect to the series via a smart phone sensor. And with each virtual plant, a physical one is grown in regions throughout the world, from Europe and Latin America to Africa and Asia. Since its inception two years ago, the project has already sparked the growth of 13,000 trees.imageRachel Sussman's Oldest ThingsPhotographer Rachel Sussman has been traveling the globe for the past 10 years, searching for the world's oldest living things with camera in tow. From the Mojave Desert to the Australian Outback to Greenland's icy expanses, she captures portraits of organisms capable of lasting for 80,000 years, shining a light on our planet's resilience in the face of human intervention. "Extreme longevity can lull us into a false sense of permanence," Sussman wrote for Brain Pickings. "But being old is not the same as being immortal."imageBarry Underwood's Electric LandscapesCombining elements of painting, photography, performance, cinema and land art, Barry Underwood renders environmental issues like light pollution and deforestation in electric splendor."My attempt is to portray environmental issues that are not delivered in a heavy-handed way," Underwood explained to HuffPost. "Rather in a way that draws attention in a pleasing way, then if contemplated could unfold a message of dissidence or a natural discord."imagePaulo Grangeon's 1,600 Pandas.French sculptor Paulo Grangeon used an unlikely medium to illuminate the reality of animal endangerment across the world. For his traveling exhibit, "Pandas on Tour," he created 1,600 papier-mch bears meant to represent the actual number of pandas left on the planet (recent estimates actually place the number slightly below that, at 1,596). Launched in 2008 in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, Grangeons project has traveled to landmarks in more than 20 countries, including the Eiffel Tower.imageDaan Roosegaarde's VacuumAsk a Dutch artist to solve the problem of blanket pollution in Beijing and what do you get? If you've tracked down Daan Roosegaarde, you'll get "Smog," a system of underground copper coils meant to suck up airborne particles using an electrostatic field. It's like a vacuum cleaner that operates on a similar principle to statically charged balloons.embedAida Sulova's Trash CansA Kyrgyz street artist named Aida Sulova confronted the rampant garbage problem in Bishkek by using trash bins as a canvas. According to Wooster Collective, the street artist pastes photographic images of open mouths on garbage cans throughout the city to remind people that what they throw into the world, eventually ends up inside us."imageChris Jordan's Portraits of ConsumptionPhotographer Chris Jordan puts consumption into perspective with his series "Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption." His works show the debris we as a society leave behind, from massive dumps of cell phones, to crushed cars and circuit boards, all squeezed together in hypnotic quantities. "I am appalled by these scenes, and yet also drawn into them with awe and fascination," Jordan explained in an email to The Huffington Post. "The immense scale of our consumption can appear desolate, macabre, oddly comical and ironic, and even darkly beautiful; for me its consistent feature is a staggering complexity."imageGabriel Orozco's Found ObjectsFor the 2012 installation "Sandstars," Gabriel Orozco arranged over 1,200 objects from the Isla Arena, Mexico trash repository on the Guggenheim Museum's floor, accompanied by a dozen large, gridded photographs depicting the individual objects in a studio setting. The found treasures bring hints of the ignored wastelands into a gallery setting, forcing viewers to confront the effects of industrial and commercial refuse.imagerAndom International's Rain RoomThe 2013 phenomenon that was the "Rain Room" invited MoMA viewers to experience a deluge of falling water without getting wet. According to the museum's description for the exhibition EXPO 1: New York, "the work invites visitors to explore the roles that science, technology, and human ingenuity can play in stabilizing our environment."embed href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/flower-house-detroit_56255134e4b02f6a900d5b43' - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/flower-house-detroit_56255134e4b02f6a900d5b43 -