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Urban Gardens

It’s not the coronavirus that’s kept the CWE’s iconic “watering hole” dry

You may have assumed, as I did, that the fountain on Maryland Plaza was left empty this summer because it, like city parks, are a magnet that could have been a potential virus spreader. Just another notch in the summer that wasn’t—Movies on the Plaza,  The Cocktail Party on Euclid, 4th of July Kids & Pet Parade, etc.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Urban Gardens  Maryland Plaza CWEScene.com CWENorthCID

However, I learned recently that the cause in this instance isn’t due to COVID19 at all. Instead, after 15 years of operation, the fountain is undergoing extensive restoration to address leaks in the fountain reservoir and mechanical issues with the elaborate system of piping and jets that enable the elaborate displays we have all come to love. Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Urban Gardens  Maryland Plaza CWEScene.com CWENorthCID

The $70,000 project cost is being funded by the CWE North Community Improvement District (CID). Word is that work is expected to wrap up next week, perhaps in time to allow a few weeks of operation before being shut down for winter, and installation of the traditional holiday tree in early December.

For information about the inner workings of the fountain visit a 2011 guest post by CWEnder David Strom here.

Mid-September weekend in the neighborhood

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott

Lovely to see diners enjoying brunch on Yellowbelly’s patio Sunday morning.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott

Edera Italian Eatery, a partnership between the Koplar family and culinary consultant Mike Randolph, looks like it’s getting closer to opening in the former ‘Scape space on Maryland Plaza. Ritz-Carlton veteran Chef Mick Fumo is executive chef.

Plans include a pizza station in the dining room and a take-out window in the passageway on the east side.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott

The photo above shows a section of the patio behind Edera, Italian for “ivy”.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott  Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott

During a quick visit with Ed King, proprietor of Pagan Wine Bar, I learned that his customers are adapting well to socially-distanced seating and temperature checks at the door.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott

Setting up the increasingly popular Streatery on Saturday evening.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott  After months of excavating old pilings from the former Channel 11 building on York Ave., the AC Hotel by Marriott has begun to take shape.  The Koplar family is a partner in this venture.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott

On a late afternoon sojourn in Forest Park today I saw the sign above which served as a timely reminder of the need to care for our fabulous gem. We are so fortunate to have Forest Park at our doorstep. It is indeed a refuge, more so than ever these days.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Shop News Urban Gardens  Yellowbelly Pagan Wine Bar Forest Park Edera A.C. Hotel by Mariott

Nature reclaims the vegetable garden

Nicki's Central West End Guide Urban Gardens  Missouri Chapter of the Nature Conservancy Magnificent Missouri John McPheeters Holliday Bowood Farms  There has been so much confusion and noise hitting us from every corner of our lives this year that, like everyone, I have sought to find peaceful moments whenever and wherever I can.

A special example is Bowood Farms’ overgrown vegetable garden, which in this year of the pandemic has been allowed to return to a natural state. The sight of tall sunflowers and groups of birds swooping over the brush into the dense trees, while insects hum (loudly!) in the background, is truly calming.Nicki's Central West End Guide Urban Gardens  Missouri Chapter of the Nature Conservancy Magnificent Missouri John McPheeters Holliday Bowood Farms

In years past the garden has been filled with neat rows of vegetables waiting to be harvested for Bowood’s Cafe Osage, but not this year when the cafe was closed during planting season, and no one knew if and when restaurants would reopen. 

For now, I welcome the change and the peace the garden affords. It seems even more appropriate with the passing of Bowood Farms’ founder John McPheeters in early June. John was a true visionary in creating the beautiful, imaginative garden shop and cafe on the northern edge of the CWE, guiding its evolution into a treasured destination over the ensuing years.

John was also a staunch supporter of both the Missouri Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and Magnificent Missouri, In a serendipitous way, it seems fitting that the garden was left untended and allowed to return to nature this summer.

Bowood Farms, Cafe Osage & Holliday are open (check websites for hours), 4600-4605 Olive St. (314) 454-6868.