Thousands of Flowers Make Memories and Magic

The wind blew nearly 20 mph while temperatures lingered in the lower '50s, but even that couldn't dampen the excitement around The Flower House. Visitors, volunteers, designers, helpers, organizers, and neighbors mingled on the sidewalk, the empty lot and even in the street to gape, gawk, and in general become awestruck by the idea that became a reality on Friday, October 16 in the down-at-the-heels city of Detroit.
Enchanted visitors brave the cold to wait for the timed tours inside The Flower House.
From behind the house, a dining tent for 180 people.

Just a few days ago, I wrote about what was going on inside the once derelict house on a block that bordered one of the busier conduits through the expansive city. I imagined the floral designers putting up the bones of their creations, seeing into the structure behind the magic they would create with thousands of fresh flowers from all over the country.

I admit the downstairs bathroom, designed by Sweet Pea Floral Design, was one
of my favorites.
In the time I spent inside the house on Friday, I saw a few yards of of chicken wire, miles of string, a few staples and dozens of discreet lights powered without electricity. But what I mostly saw was the care and attention to detail in the choice and placement of blooms that languished in a corner, lined a toilet seat and draped along a line that led from one room to another.

This was so much more than decor. I think the designers each captured a snippet of a life's chapter from this home's former residents. I can imagine a young bride from the early '60s looking for ways to brighten up a drab bathroom without spending too much money. She'd choose rugs and towels of a certain color and texture, happy that they accented the wallpaper that was a bit too bright, but that had been left by the former resident and deemed too much work to pull down. She might have had a taste for whimsy, but buried it for the sake of her autoworker husband and his preference for plain.

I imagine how her downstairs bathroom would make her smile for its bright whimsy and detailed decorations.

Holly Rutt of Sweet Pea Floral Design (left) chats with dahlia grower
Michael Genovese of Summer Dreams Farm

A canopy bed fit for a druid princess
occupied an upstairs bedroom.
I took so many photos but still feel I didn't capture the feel and intent of the house. It's hard to explain, but volunteer Katherine Seeburger gave me some insight. She was one of the docents for the morning tours, and asked people as they emerged from the house what their impressions were. "No one was responding with whole paragraphs," she said. "It was 'wow' or 'awesome.' For most of them, it was an emotional experience."
Flowers light up a table created from a beehive box complete with honey frames.
Even veggies served as beauty queens.

So for now, I'll just post a few photos. I expect the experience will settle in a little more and transform a bit each time I tell someone about it.
Mexican spiced chocolate cake from
Sweet Heather Anne


  1. It really was a magical experience, Jean! You captured it perfectly! That bathroom was exceptionally beautiful.

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I wish I'd known you were there--I'd have looked for you, but it seems we must have been there at different times.