Detroit botanical artist wins national horticultural award

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

Lisa Waud of Detroit creates floral art installations in a big way -- a seriously big way.

The founder of Flower House, a 2015 installation that transformed an abandoned duplex in Detroit with flowers, has also created Pat Lane Park, a public park in the New Center area of Detroit and Big Flower Friend, a six-week series of installations in places of Black historical and cultural importance around the city.

Lisa Waud of Detroit is the 2021 recipient of the of the American Horticultural Society’s Frances Jones Poetker Award.

Now, Waud has won a major national award from the American Horticultural Society for her contributions to floral design. She is the 2021 recipient of the Frances Jones Poetker Award.

It's one of the society's Great American Gardeners Awards presented annually to individuals, organizations, and businesses that "represent the best in American gardening."

"Waud creates public art in the form of large-scale installations using botanical materials," reads a press release from the horticultural society. "Drawing inspiration from a childhood spent with nature in northern Michigan, land art and large-scale installation artists such as Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and professional experience as a gardener and floral designer, Waud has produced immersive public botanical art that creates space for viewers to reflect and reset."  

Lisa Waud said this year, she plans to connect with botanic gardens in the United States and worldwide "to deepen my relationships with plant and art lovers."

Waud, who was raised in Petoskey before eventually finding her way to Detroit, said she's honored to receive an award from the horticultural society, especially after learning more about Poetker. Poetker was a Kentucky floral designer, recognized nationally for innovative floral arrangements.

"As an artist with a commitment to working with living plants and cut flowers, to be recognized by the AHS makes me feel rooted in the horticultural community, if you will pardon the pun," said Waud.

This year's winners will be honored from all around the country with video acceptance speeches that will be released on the horticultural society's website,, and social media starting in April.