Cranbrook House to feature native plants, tiny treasures at annual sale

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published May 9, 2017

 Tropical plants, native plants, orchids, herbs and plenty of other items will be available at the annual plant sale benefiting the Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary.

Tropical plants, native plants, orchids, herbs and plenty of other items will be available at the annual plant sale benefiting the Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary.

Photo provided by Eric Franchy, of Cranbrook House and Gardens

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Last Friday, as the cold rain continued to fall across metro Detroit for the third day in a row, members of the Cranbrook Native Plant team were outside digging in the dirt.

“These gals spend their lives devoted to these native plants,” said Ellen Dougherty, of the Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary. “They find these sites that are going to be built on and ask the owners if they can remove the native plants before construction begins. So they’re out there today, but it’s OK. It’s actually good for the plants to get pulled up when they’re cool and wet.”

Native plants are a major focus of the gardeners at Cranbrook House and Gardens. Actually, when the house hosted its first spring plant sale 45 years ago, it was called the native plant sale, said Dougherty, who is chairing this year’s event.

“We’re trying to hold the native plants back because they’re peaking a little too soon for the sale, since it’s a little later this year. But that’s always really popular with customers. We have a loyal following of customers who come every year for these native plants because they know how important they are for the environment,” she said. “They bring in the important birds and insects that we need here, and they’re just better for the whole ecosystem.”

Along with the native plants, the sale will include a variety of annuals, perennials, tropical plants, herbs and vegetables, all propagated on-site in the historic Cranbrook greenhouse. And for the first time, the Herb Society of America’s Southern Michigan Chapter — the nonprofit group charged with designing and maintaining Cranbrook’s herb garden for the past four decades — will offer a selection of miniature plants for fairy gardens and train gardens.

As always, proceeds from the sale will benefit the Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary and its volunteers, who maintain the historic manor and its extensive grounds.

“(The auxiliary) uses the plant sale proceeds to continue the preservation and general upkeep of historic Cranbrook House and Gardens,” said Eric Franchy, spokesperson for the estate. “Funds have been used recently to support the restoration of the Wishing Well arch, torchieres inside Cranbrook House and to plant a new daffodil garden called Butterfly Hill. Every purchase at the plant sale helps support these efforts in some way, which is what makes this local sale so special.”

The annual spring plant sale will be held 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, at Cranbrook House and Gardens, located at 380 Lone Pine Road in Bloomfield Hills. There is no charge for admission.

Parking will be available at Christ Church Cranbrook, located nearby at 470 Church Road in Bloomfield Hills, and a shuttle will provide rides to and from the sale. Visitors are encouraged to bring wagons to transport their purchases back to their vehicles.

For more information, call (248) 645-3149 or visit www.house gardens.cranbrook.edu.