Prospect Heights' Guerrilla Gardeners

Area residents bring local, sustainable farming to the flower industry by growing plants wherever there's an empty patch of land.

Prospect Height resident Karen Orlando and business partner Susan Steinbrock, own the flower retail business Brooklyn Grown. But they could also be considered guerrilla gardeners,  according to a recent article in The New York Times.

Instead of establishing their own costly flower farm, the pair decided to just plant flowers wherever they could, including vacant lots and backyards, says the article.

“We planted lots of seeds last year in people’s backyards,” Steinbrock told the Times, while she was planting behind in Park Slope.

In an effort to bring the local, seasonal food movement to the flower industry, the duo now sells to friends, and local spots like . They’ve recently formed a relationship with a community agriculture group to include flowers in their weekly vegetable deliveries.

Soraya Meer, Coffee Bites' owner, said she was happy to sign up for a weekly delivery from Brooklyn Grown, not only because she likes to support area businesses, but also because she loves the idea of making use of the city's empty spaces.

"Plus," she added, "I'm half Dutch, so I love flowers. They're good for the psyche."

According to Brooklyn Grown's website, the women also offer services like garden clean-up, annual planting (including flower boxes and containers) and design consultation. "No job or yard or stoop too small," their website says.

The duo learned a hard lesson recently about planting in spaces where they do not have permission to do so, when they found a heavy lock and “keep out” sign on the fence to a vacant Sterling Place lot where they had planted Turkish tulips and fritillaria, says the Times.


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