A Pop-Up Nursery Brightens an Urban Corner

Editor’s note: During each Chips Quinn orientation and multimedia training in Nashville, Tenn., scholars are required to complete a mobile media reporting module, which includes producing videos and reporting and writing stories. Their work is displayed here.

0715_tameezby Hanaa’ Tameez

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – At the corner of Beechwood Avenue and 12th Avenue South during a warm afternoon in May, expect to find Curt Lamberth humming along to the country music playing from his iPad while tending to plants at the Flower Basket.

Located on an open lot in between Frothy Monkey Coffeehouse, Urban Grub Fish Pit and Mafioza’s Pizzeria, the all-outdoor Flower Basket is coming up on its second year as a plant retailer. Lamberth works as the nursery’s day-to-day manager.

“We sprung this up in 2014 after years of our owner and boss, Jim McLeod, running the Christmas tree lots in Nashville,” Lamberth said. “He’s been doing that for 30 years, and he ended up helping one guy in town get into the Christmas tree business, as well. That guy had been selling plants and flowers so he kind of coached us along.”

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Flower Basket owner Jim McLeod uses the lot at 12th Avenue South and Beechwood Avenue in Nashville, Tenn., to sell plants in spring and Christmas trees and other seasonal items during fall and early winter. (Photo: Hanaa’ Tameez/Summer 2015)

McLeod’s business, Santa’s Trees, has been selling Christmas trees on the 12th Avenue South lot for nearly five years. When spring rolls around, the Flower Basket sets up shop there and on Gallatin Avenue in East Nashville from April 15 until the end of May.

“You couldn’t go in any one direction and say it’s any less special than the others, they’re all in really exciting times,” Lamberth said. “It’s cool to see new areas opening up and kind of growing themselves. Being in 12 (Avenue) South is definitely one of the growing hot spots now, so it’s great for business.”

For Lamberth, the best part of the job is working with passersby who often interrupt their strolls along the avenue to stop in.

“It’s easy interaction with customers,” he said. “The easygoingness of people buying flowers is a dream.”

When he is not offering advice to potential buyers, Lamberth is busy watering plants, rearranging them on the lot for optimal sunlight and restocking the tables with fresh flowers. He said most people buy plants that are the simplest to take care of.

“Popular items are your geraniums (and) hanging baskets (that) keep you out of the dirt because it’s all done for you,” he said.

Lamberth said he enjoys trying to understand the market and what types of flowers and plants are in demand.

“It’s all in just landing somewhere and learning what does best from there,” he said. “It’s a fun thing to learn and watch.”

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