At Sugar Creek Gardens, second-generation owner Abby Lapides follows in the footsteps of her mother Ann Lapides, who started the company in 1990 at the Kirkwood Farmers Market. Decades later, the homegrown business turned bustling garden center proudly continues to offer all manner of plants, including an extensive selection of perennials and many native Missouri species. They’ve occupied their current location for 25 years. The building has served as a greenhouse for more than 100 years; it was originally built in 1895 to provide plants for the World’s Fair. For people looking to get into gardening, the Lapides offer up their expertise via free garden consultations for beginners.
“There are so many types of plants, and when you start thinking about sunlight, what soils are like and all the variables that go into creating a garden, it can get overwhelming if you have analysis paralysis,” Abby says. “Anyone who’s interested in getting into gardening can call or email us, and we’re happy to ease into it.” Abby also recommends the following three books for new gardeners.
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“Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew
“This is a great jumping off point for beginners about raised garden beds. If you have a 4-by-4-space and some sunlight, you can plant a lot of vegetables and fruit. It takes you through the process of how plants grow, how much space they need, what does and does not work well together, their needs as far as soil and other interesting things like growing on a trellis.”
“The Backyard Homestead: Produce All the Food You Need on Just a Quarter Acre!” by Carleen Madigan
“There’s a lot in this book about gardening fruits and vegetables and it’s also great inspiration for getting and raising chickens. You don’t need that much space to create a lot of food for yourself. It takes work, but it’s incredible learning about how it all goes together and seeing how much food you can cram into one space.”
“Creating your Permaculture Heaven” by Nydia Needham
“A beginner’s book for doing permaculture – a sort of newer movement where the idea is basically to feed yourself in a more sustainable manner. Industrial farming is detrimental to the environment and soil. The idea here is to create lots of food in smaller spaces without taking away from the environment, [and] instead working to help improve it.”
Sugar Creek Gardens, 1011 N. Woodlawn Ave., St. Louis, Missouri, 314-965-3070, sugarcreekgardens.com