City Grows is an urban organic garden shop and music venue located on 5208 Butler Street in the heart of Lawrenceville. Since its opening in 2014, City Grows has been providing organic gardening products for city-living gardeners such as certified organic seeds and plants (Cherokee purple, green zebra, brandywine tomatoes, gerbera daisies, rhododendron and many more), handmade plant holders made from recycled and reclaimed wood, planter kits, handmade organic soap and much more. The shop states, “Here at City Grows, we want to do things the right way. And to us, that means making sure everything we do is healthy, natural, and sustainable. We make sure to carry certified organic plants, flowers and products and use recycled or repurposed items when we can. Because we’re in the city, we make sure everything we carry is just the right size for your patio, stoop, or tiny kitchen window.”
City Grows also provides free classes that teach gardening techniques that can be put to use in any small space or city home. Recently, the shop has been hosting Small Space Gardening courses. Topics reviewed in the class range from container gardens and raised beds to how to plan, build and maintain an urban garden of any size.
As day turns into evening, the shop shifts from a garden shop to a DIY music venue, where musicians from across the nation gather to perform in the shop’s basement--a picture-perfect room with low ambient lighting and small tree trunks for pillars. It was at the end of 2014 that City Grows began hosting performers and it is now one of the most booked music venues in the Pittsburgh music scene. City Grows regards itself as a safe space for all people as it is an all-ages, no alcohol permitted venue. It is the only music venue located in Pittsburgh that is hosted in a garden shop, making it an interesting experience every time. The unique space allows audience members to shop for garden supplies while attending shows--making the breaks in-between sets less monotonous. The shop has featured various musicians such as Eskimeaux, Crying, and War on Women, as well as a huge number of local musicians.
By Kirk Savage, Ph.D.
Kirk Savage is a professor of art history at the University of Pittsburgh. He has written extensively on public monuments in the United States, and is the author of two prizewinning books: Monument Wars: Washington, D.C., the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape and Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America.