Why we grow our own plants locally

Right now Fahr Greenhouse is growing 150,000 four-inch pots, 7,000 hanging baskets, 8,000 flats and 6,000 perennials.

When these flowers are ready, if you stand amidst our colorful horticulture displays in the retail garden center at Fahr Greenhouse and look up to the roof you will see Cypress wood beams from the early 1900’s.

In the early 1900’s the cities of Kirkwood and Des Peres were home to many German immigrants who were well versed in agriculture. “The Europeans appreciated flowers,” said Mary Bellrose, whose mom and dad founded Fahr Greenhouse.  In the 1900’s you couldn’t get flowers unless they were grown at home. Obviously, no ability to ship flowers across the country or from other countries existed in the 1900’s. So these German immigrants built greenhouses nestled among the communities of Des Peres and Kirkwood to provide flowers for the St. Louis community.

“People wore corsages all the time,” said Mary Bellrose. “You didn’t go out to dinner without a corsage. Even church ushers wore a corsage. Flowers were a part of daily life.”

Installing the repurposed wood and greenhouse

After WWII when people returned home from the war they were looking for affordable housing. They needed land. These German immigrants with their greenhouses now realized they could make money to retire by selling their land that held the greenhouses. At the same time, Dorothy and Leonard Fahr were beginning their life together and decided they wanted to start a greenhouse. Through their German heritage they had developed a love of flowers.

So Leonard Fahr, who worked in a greenhouse in Kirkwood, went to Kirkwood and Des Peres to buy the greenhouses from the sold land. Piece by piece he disassembled the entire greenhouse – cypress wood, each 18-24 pane of glass held in a wooden case – and transported them out to Wildwood, MO. He brushed, cleaned and repainted the cypress wood and reassembled, piece by piece, each greenhouse. In 1950 the Fahr’s repurposed wood from the early 1900’s — that’s doing something way before it’s time! While reclaimed wood is now a popular decorating and building material, the Fahr’s were true reclaimed wood pioneers.

The founders preparing the land for installing the greenhouses

Since Fahr Greenhouse was founded in 1950 we have never strayed from our roots – ingenuity, agriculture, hard work and local. Our friends, family and customers always ask, ‘When is the “down” time at the greenhouse?’ The answer is never. Fahr Greenhouse is a grower; we grow our own plants in our own soil. We don’t buy in 6-packs of annuals to resell them to our customers. While many things have changed since these early German immigrants in the 1900’s, one constant remains, we appreciate what flowers bring to life and we grow them locally.

Right now we are growing our crop for you. We have many new varieties this spring, plus our historic best-sellers our customers love, all adding to around 1,500 different varieties of plants. Our owner chooses to grow varieties that will do well in the St. Louis environment so your floral displays in your garden and home will flourish.  We can’t wait until you see our baby plants all grown-up! We are excited to decorate your outdoor spaces in 2018 with the old world roots of home-grown flowers!

Here our owner Pat Bellrose looks at “the baby flowers sleeping” with his youngest daughter and two of his grandsons.