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Lisa Waud, owner of Pot & Box, Ann Arbor, MI

Flowers on Felch

Pot & Box expands

by Tony McReynolds

posted 4/7/2010

Lisa Waud knows exactly how much space she has to work with in her new flower shop in the former Ann Arbor Art Center Art Factory off Felch: 93.6 square feet. The building is zoned for industrial use, so only 10 percent of its 936 square feet can be used for retail. She had to be very careful what went where.

Waud, thirty-two, a preternaturally cheerful brunette with a spray of freckles, concedes that an old, mixed-use industrial building hard by the Ann Arbor railroad tracks isn't the most likely location for a flower shop, but she thought it was perfect--funky appeals to her, and somehow the fact that her front room looks more like the back room of most flower shops suits her style. "I took one look at the space and I was, like, 'Yes! I love it!'" she says.

She moved Pot & Box Container Gardening Services into the new space in mid-February. When she started out in her basement three years ago, it was strictly a service business taking care of other people's flowers and plants. "I branded it Pot & Box because I wanted to specialize in container gardening," she says--flower pots and window boxes. She plants herbs like lavender, tarragon, rosemary, and thyme in the long boxes outside Eve Aronoff's Kerrytown restaurant, and this spring she plans to install a "living wall" in the back room of another client, Jerusalem Garden. It's a floor-to-ceiling hanging made with modular planters called Woolly Pockets that she'll mix with a variety of vines and flowers. And she's looking at creating a garden for Beezy's restaurant in Ypsilanti--atop an outdoor walk-in freezer.

Waud grew up in Petoskey and studied horticulture and landscape design at Michigan State for three years. She wound up completing a BA in Culture, Text, and Language from Evergreen State College in the state of Washington. A dedicated blogger, she says her passions are "plants, horticulture, and writing."

A year and a half ago, Waud

...continued below...

started selling flower arrangements from a little cart outside Everyday Wines in Kerrytown. Response was good, and that spurred her to open the shop. She sells fresh flowers and floral arrangements and particularly enjoys creating arrangements in unexpected containers. "I love to use old things that maybe weren't initially made for planting flowers," Waud says. She haunts places like Treasure Mart and the Re-Use Center, "looking for kitschy kind of stuff." She recently found an old metal chicken feeder and says she "just can't wait to plant something in there that starts spinning out."

She encourages customers to pick out a pot, plant, or flower, and pot it themselves using the potting soil she sells--or she can pot it for them. And she's happy to sell as little as a single cut stem. Waud plans to use the rest of the space to teach classes like flower arranging.

In season, she buys flowers at the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market and Eastern Market in Detroit. She also buys from growers as far away as South America, but "I try to get people to buy responsibly grown flowers," she says. "I like to research the farms where they come from." She looks for VeriFlora certification confirming that the flowers are grown in socially responsible and eco-friendly conditions.

Waud also grows flowers herself at her West Side home. Though it's near West Park, she resists the temptation to pluck flowers growing on public land. "No guerrilla gar-dening for me," she laughs.

Pot & Box Container Gardening Services, 220 Felch. 368-2130. Tues.-Fri. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. noon-3 p.m., and by appointment.

Got a retail or restaurant change? Send email to or, or or leave voicemail at 769-3175, ext. 309.    (end of article)

[Originally published in April, 2010.]


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