GROW Cincinnati

GROW Cincinnati

GROW Application

GROW Cincinnati by Urban Blooms is the first ever nonprofit program designed to improve communities through public living wall installations. Thanks to support from The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Urban Blooms will be providing up to $25,000 in matching funding to two neighborhoods in the Cincinnati area interested in a public living wall installation. For the first time ever, these two communities will be able to incorporate these beautiful, state-of-the-art public installations in their development plans at or below cost. This will empower those communities to further their beautification and sustainability goals and achieve citywide recognition.
GROW Cincinnati Living Walls will be awarded to two communities in 2017. Neighborhood organizations are encouraged to summit application to Urban Blooms by July 1st. Each application will need to show the proposed location, social impact, economic impact, environmental impact, support from the community, proof of matching funding, and permission from the property owner. We will judge each application based on support from and impact on their respective communities and award GROW Cincinnati Living Walls to the two communities best suited for the installations. Awarded communities will also receive a grand opening neighborhood party in front of the wall upon completion.
GROW Cincinnati aims to make community members proudBy awarding beautiful living art installations to community organizations themselves and conducting place making activities at the installation sites, Urban Blooms hopes people of those communities will continue the trend and make their neighborhoods even happier, healthier, and more sustainable

Bring GROW to my neighborhood!

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Findlay Market. Pop up Living Wall

Findlay Market Pop Up Living Wall


We are very proud of this 115 Sq ft Installation as it is our first chance to display our work in a public setting. The reception we received from the community while constructing this living wall was spectacular and inspiring.

The wall is located in the playground next to Findlay market. While installing, kids from the 8 story brick H shaped housing unit, which towers over the playground, insisted on investigating each different type of plant. They remarked on how it beautiful they plants were and how “it feels like we are in the jungle!”

Over the course of the 2 day installation dozens of children (some watching baby siblings) came down to the playground to see what was being built literally in their back yard. Once we completed the kids pleaded us to install the wall permanently, which we will try to accomplish but may not be possible…. Although they might be more upset about not getting to hang out with Lily and Tyler (mostly lily).

It feels amazing to be able to give back to the community with this installation. Even if it is only up for a few days, we hope to continue to inspire and show the beautiful side of sustainability.

Dancing in front of living wall
Dancing in front of living wall


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Howlett Hall Data Analysis

Last week, Urban Blooms installed a series of moisture and temperature sensors into our Ohio State, Howlett Hall, Living Wall Installation. These sensors will be collecting and storing data every 15 minutes through an Arduino microcontroller. This data is then automatically imported into an Excel spreadsheet and is made available for our team to analyze.

This data will be summarized in a Living Wall Sustainability Report which will be published at the end of the year.

Howlett Hall Temperature Sensor Data 8/9 - 8/13
Howlett Hall Temperature Sensor Data 8/9 – 8/13


The above graph shows the temperature of the sun exposed brick wall on Howlett Hall (AMBIENT TEMP) compared to temperatures at the top of the garden (GARDEN TOP TEMP), temperatures at the bottom of the garden (GARDEN BOTTOM TEMP), and temperatures of the brick wall behind the garden (WALL TEMP). While outdoor temperatures were relatively cool over the past week, with a weekly high of only 81 degrees. This data shows that there is up to a 30 degree drop in temperatures between the brick wall exposed to the sun and the brick wall behind the garden, as you will see in the next graph, that difference in temperature equates to real time energy and cost savings.



savings per reading
Savings per every 15 minute reading interval


This graph shows the amount of money saved in every 15 minute interval. The area beneath the blue line would be the total savings. While it was a relatively cool and overcast week significant 20150629_161044savings were still noted; for example, on August 12th there was a high of only 77 and we still see a average savings of .05 cents every 15 minutes during the day. Thus our small display garden still saved the university $2.12 on that cool, overcast Wednesday.   Over the course of the cool, overcast, 5 days this data is showing, Our Living Wall saved the university $9.08 in AC Costs.

This data extrapolated over the course of the summer equates to $270 in saved energy costs!

From this data we can also estimate that the garden should save approximately $400 in heating costs over the winter. Giving an estimated yearly savings of $670 for this 32 square foot garden. This represents an ROI of 4.9 years, which means, by just having this garden installed on Howlett Hall for 5 years, the university will save in energy costs the entire cost of the installation!






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OSU Howlett Hall Installation

Howlett Hall Living Wall



The Howlett Hall Living Wall installation is a collaboration between Urban Blooms and The OSU Student Organization SEEDS.  A sustainability study will be conducted by taking temperature readings on the south facing brick facade, both behind the living wall and on the brick adjacent to the wall. With data from this study it will be possible to calculate the energy saving potential of living walls in both summer and winter months.

Howlett Hall Living Wall Plant Detail





























Living Wall Side View




This installation features 115 plants from 11 different species, the plants were selected based on their drought tolerant qualities and their preference for full sun.


Plant selection

The wall is located adjacent the Howlett Hall Green Roof, by Higher Ground LLC, on Ohio State’s Agricultural Campus.


Howlett Hall Green Roof




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Veterans Garden Feature

East End Veterans Memorial Garden

The East End Veterans Memorial Garden (EEVMG) is located directly behind Eli’s BBQ on Riverside Dr. This garden houses, Harvesting Heroes, one of only three Veteran Horticultural Therapy Programs in the country. Harvesting Heroes is a partnership between: The Cincinnati VA, The Domiciliary for Homeless Veterans, EEVMG, Urban Blooms, Turner Farms, The City of Cincinnati, Ohio State Hamilton Country Horticulture Extension Office, and Cincinnati State. The EEVMG also is home over over 125 fruit trees, making it the largest public orchard in Cincinnati.

EEVMG Production Garden Beds


Every Thursday a bus full of veterans in the substance abuse or PTSD rehabilitation programs comes down to the EEVMG. While at the garden, veterans are taught various lessons relating to horticulture, while also learning and relaxing through “hands in the dirt” gardening projects.

Veterans working on a Tomato Teepee
Veterans working on constructing a Tomato Teepee
Urban Blooms Members with EEVMG founder Joe Coceran
Part of the Harvesting Heroes Team

The EEVMG also offers unique volunteer opportunities for students, civic organizations, and religious groups. This summer groups ranging from UC Faculty members, and  Xavier Students, to Crossroads Volunteer Groups have all came to EEVMG to help prep for the growing season.

Crossroads Volunteers


In order to finance operations, EEVMG sells Peach, Cherry, Apple, and Pear trees to individuals and community organizations. The garden also sells peppers, herbs, and spring mix to local restaurants all within walking distance of the garden.

Peach and cherry tree starters
Peach and cherry tree starters


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Hilltop Community and Learning Garden

The Hilltop Community and Learning Garden (HCLG) represents a new take on the traditional neighborhood community garden and will be located in Avondale at 3522 beldare ave.

Hilltop Garden street view
current condition of the proposed space

The Hilltop Community Garden (as it was formally known) has been around in some form for the past 5 years, as a partnership between the Civic Garden Center and the Cincinnati Zoo. During this time period (phase 1) much was accomplished: land, soil, water access, and a small fruit orchard (10 trees) were acquired (approximately a $40,000 value). This garden was managed successfully by neighborhood members for a few years, however as some of those members moved or passed away, membership declined down to three people last summer and the garden was overgrown with weeds.

This year a new coalition was formed, still including the civic garden center and the Cincinnati zoo, but with the addition of a local nonprofit, Urban Blooms, and the newly established UC community Garden Club. These partners were brought in by myself and Carol Tyler (a neighbor and UC professor) in order to build on previous accomplishments and to realize our vision of a revitalized and evolve this traditional community garden into a new model of community gardening, The Hilltop Community and Learning Garden.

The HCLG (see figure 1) will feature: a native flower section, 14 traditional 8’x4’ raised garden beds free to community members, 4 large display 15’x5’ raised beds illustrating alternative gardening styles (square foot garden, a compost raised bed, and a German style raised bed “Hugelkulture”), an urban gardening section displaying Urban Blooms’ Urban Planters(see figure 2) made from recycled 55 gallon barrels and 2”x4”s, an encased fungus growing area, a strawberry patch, a compost area, a permaculture area(funded by the UC community garden club), a food forest(funded by the UC community garden club), and 100% wheelchair accessible Veteran’s memorial garden (pending funding from a Home Depot Grant). While this garden will feature a wealth of educational examples of alternative gardening styles, making it a destination for school field trips and interested home gardeners, diversifying it from other community gardens. The most interesting and potentially most impactful feature from a community viewpoint, will be 50 extra Urban Planters made from recycled 55 gallon barrels along with educational materials (tips on growing tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, and herbs) that we will distribute free of charge to any neighbor who is interested.

By distributing these urban planters to surrounding neighbors a buffer of urban farming will be created around the garden, hopefully eliminating many of the issues discussed in the next section. In addition to protecting the central garden; distributing these planters and instructions on how to grow a handful of vegetables will empower neighbors to help and educate other neighbors (as some will pick it up quicker than others) on how to grow your own food in an urban environment. Thus the HCLG will act as educational resource transforming what was a centralized deteriorating urban community garden into a decentralized flourishing community of urban gardeners.


Hilltop Community and Learning garden final
Proposed Garden Layout

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Hilltop Funding Successful

Hilltop Garden Successfully Funded!!!

A huge THANK YOU to all of our supporters who came together to successfully fund The Hilltop Community and Learning Project!

Urban Blooms conducted a $5,000 Kickstarter campaign on April 10th, if funded it would Cincinnati’s largest crowd sourced green space project. After a month of exciting conversations with Urban Blooms amazing supporters along with a social media outreach campaign we ended up receiving 52 donations to land squarely on our $5,000 goal!

One week after meeting that goal, we have already begun construction on our community garden beds as seen above. While this is just a piece of the funding that will be needed it is an crucial piece which we have already began leveraging in order to further close our budget. Our friends at Bezak have donated 15 yards of mulch which will be a huge help. Stay tooned, more exciting updates to come!

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