For those who are new to the neighborhood or may have forgotten what the 4500 block of Olive Street looked like six years ago, here are some pictures from the past. John McPheeters, the developer of Bowood Farms, assembled several "down and out" properties including a body shop, the automotive graveyard shown above, and a neighboring building that had seen better days, below, and transformed them into today's Bowood Farms. Shortly after he purchased the building, a wall collapsed into the alley. Timing is everything!
The car lot was repurposed as an outdoor display area for an impressive selection of trees and shrubs, and the fence that surrounds it is planted with beautiful clematis. The building next door, shown in the background, houses a shop, offices, and the very popular Cafe Osage.
The roof was removed from the eastern portion of the building, above, and the walls that remain now surround a large selection of herbs and other plant materials, decorative pots, fountains, and a wonderful outdoor dining area. The pink-stucco conservatory, shown in the photo, contains shade plants and some tropicals.
This spring Bowood Farms expanded north across the alley, and opened another huge outdoor display area for annuals, perennials, and small shrubs, above.
The nursery has become such a fixture in the West End that nearly two hundred people showed up to help celebrate its fifth birthday in April. The crowd included CWEnder Emma Hand and her daughters, above, and the McPheeters' granddaughter, Audrey Rickard, below, with her aunt Katherine's pooch Ruby. (The scrumptious birthday cake was ordered through The Cup on Maryland Plaza.)
Bowood Farms introduced signature clay pots at the party, above. They are made by Clarksville potter Patrick O'Brien, who let attendees try their hand at throwing a pot on his potting wheel set up in a corner of the shop. Patrick wanted to drop one of the pots to demonstrate how tough Missouri clay is–especially in Clarksville– but we gardeners are already familiar with how tough Missouri clay can be. The pots come in two sizes, small and larger, $14 & $18.
Over the past five years the McPheeters family has been commended by Mayor Slay, Governor Jay Nixon, and local and national gardening organizations for its huge contribution and investment in the Central West End. The public has embraced Bowood Farms too. Cafe Osage's reputation as a stellar place for breakfast and lunch has brought many people to the neighborhood who wouldn't normally venture east of Skinker, and as for the neighbors? Well…we were on board from day one. Congratulations to John and his family for all they have done for the Central West End and the City of St. Louis.
Bowood Farms, 4501 Olive, (314) 454-6868. Cafe Osage now takes reservations.