Urban Buds Florists Share Spring Planting Tips

The local farmer-florists behind Urban Buds, Karen “Mimo” Davis and Miranda Duschack, defied the odds.

Urban Buds co-owners from left: Karen “Mimo” Davis and Miranda Duschack.

Only 14% of farmers are women — and even fewer are black (a simple 1.4%). Also, small farms are more likely to fail than restaurants. Despite these challenges, Urban Buds celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

“The stats have been against us from day one,” Davis said Wednesday. Saint Louis live. “I think it’s about our tenacity and our will to make it happen. And the flowers themselves are so beautiful. It’s a totally different product when you buy a locally grown flower.

Their business didn’t seem promising at first. The Dutchtown property they bought had a rich history as the site of John Held Florist, a farm that grew flowers for almost a century throughout the 1900s, but the greenhouse had since fallen into disrepair .

“We walked in and the glass was cracking under our feet,” Davis said. “Miranda was like, ‘I don’t know who would ever want to buy this,’ and I turned around and said, ‘We’re doing this, right now.'”

Davis and Duschack had a vision to bring back a lost industry – and to do it in a sustainable way.

“When tomatoes hit the market, everyone has tomatoes,” Davis said. “When the beans come, everyone has them. And I looked around, I was like, ‘Okay, what’s missing?’ No one had flowers.

At the Urban Buds stand at Tower Grove Farmers’ Market on Saturday, shoppers won’t see bouquets wrapped in plastic. They will see freshly cut buttercups, sweet peas and snapdragons lying in buckets of water.

It’s intentional, Duschack said. Dutchtown Farm specializes in growing around 80 varieties of flowers and prides itself on staying local. “Grown, not stolen” is their motto.

    A photo of the original Dutchtown flower farm that is now Urban Buds.

A photo of the original Dutchtown flower farm that is now Urban Buds.

“Our main market is five kilometers from the farm, which reduces our carbon footprint,” Duschack said. “That’s why our flowering lasts longer.”

About 80% cut flowers in the United States are imported from overseas. The majority of domestic flowers come from California. Almost none are from Missouri.

“I would say it’s more complicated than growing vegetables,” Davis said. “There are so many choices you can grow from native plants to exotic roses.”

St. Louis was once a decent market for flowers – until a US trade deal destroyed the local industry. In 1991, the administration of George HW Bush implemented Andean Trade Preferences Law, which gave Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru duty-free access to export cut flowers to America. It was a political decision aimed at disrupting the cocaine industry in the Andean countries. The result has been a dramatic transformation of the international floral industry.

Today, America is one of Columbia’s biggest customers.

Still, David and Duschack have seen a resurgence of interest in farmer-florists nationwide. Supply chain issues due to the coronavirus pandemic have caused people to seek out local producers, like Urban Buds.

“We kind of say, ‘What we’re doing is so old, it looks new,'” Duschack joked.

Their methods also help reduce waste in an industry that produces 100,000 tons of plastic a year.

Together, Davis and Duschack make a good pair: Davis has a green thumb and Duschack is a fourth-generation beekeeper. And they found immense support in the Saint-Louis area.

At Saint Louis on the Air, Duschack shared the secret to Urban Buds’ success.

“We can be the dynamic duo,” Duschack said. “We can complement each other very well. We can also drive each other crazy.

They also shared some tips for growing flowers:

Urban Buds Florists Explain Why They Started Their Business, Plus Spring Planting Tips

Related event

What: Urban Buds at Tower Grove Farmers Market

When: Saturdays from April 2 to November 5, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Where: Center Cross Dr, St. Louis, MO 63116

Saint Louis live” tells you the stories of Saint-Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenské and produced by Emily Woodbury, Kayla Drake, Danny Wicentowski and Alex Heuer. Jane Mather-Glass is our production assistant. The sound engineer is Aaron Dorr.

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