Michigan Flower Planting Day is about boosting economy, spirits
By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer
Thanks to a new resolution passed by the Michigan House of Representatives, flower lovers and sellers alike celebrated the first ever Michigan Flower Planting Day June 9. The designation is meant to acknowledge flowers and landscaping as a major economic force in Michigan. And while farmers and storeowners reap the benefits of yet another planting season, growers around metro Detroit celebrate the new holiday the only way they know how — by getting their hands in the dirt.
“It’s the greatest therapy; it’s relaxing,” said Suzie Souva, publicity chairperson of the Shelby Gardeners Club. “You have to have the personality that you don’t mind getting dirty, but when you see the final results of what you’re growing, (you’ll get) the fulfillment and the accomplishment of seeing beautiful things.”
Souva, like many around Southeast Michigan, loves planting flowers, and she enjoys sharing that love with her community. The Shelby Gardeners Club is made up of 35 women who not only care for their own landscapes, but also work together to beautify areas around town. They’ve contributed to the landscape at Heritage Gardens, as well as the famous “S” created with flowers and shrubs on Memorial Hill.
Being part of the Shelby Gardeners Club is about more than just beautiful blooms, she said. It’s about the kind people nurturing those blooms.
“The friendships that form within a garden club are never ending, and we encourage people to have gardens. You can see a person’s personality in their garden; you never see two gardens alike,” she said. “It’s like they say: If you like your job, you’ll never work a day in your life. If you love gardening, you’ll never work a day in your garden, either.”
Members of the Michigan Floriculture Growers Council know exactly how passionate gardeners are about their craft, and they embrace gardening not only as a hobby, but as a business. The MFGC is a group aimed at promoting Michigan’s flower and landscape vendors as a major part of the state’s economy. According to the 501(c)(5) nonprofit, floriculture contributes more than $370 million each year to the state’s booming agriculture industry.
As a way to further support flower sellers, the council teamed up with legislators in Lansing to create the resolution that named June 9 Michigan Flower Planting Day. Council Executive Director Gale Arent said that the process began three months ago, and he hopes the acknowledgement will encourage Michiganders to take a closer look at how the flowers in their own yards can help the whole state.
“We’re hoping it will make people more aware that we have a very large, robust greenhouse industry, and that we’re producing flowering plants designed to improve people’s lives by enhancing landscapes — the psychological effects of one’s landscape — by being beautiful and adding seasonal color.”
The meaning of the day isn’t lost on Souva. She said that each time her club looks to start a project, she goes to stores where she knows the products stocked were grown in Michigan.
“I always try to use local growers to support them. As far as annuals go, I like to try and support each and every (store) by buying a certain amount from each one.”
Just days after Michigan Flower Planting Day was officially celebrated for the first time, the Franklin Garden Club observed the occasion during its annual Garden Walk June 13. Around 1,000 flower lovers from all around turned out to peruse the garden-themed artesian market at the Franklin Village Green Gazebo, and then toured some of the village’s most impressive residential landscapes. Karen DeWalt, of the Franklin Garden Club, said the annual event is always popular with gardeners of all skill levels looking for a little inspiration.
“That’s why a lot of people attend the walks, is to get new ideas and to see the plants. These are beautifully designed grounds with dedicated gardeners.”
The event in years past has raised up to $20,000 for the club, and according to DeWalt, those funds go right back into the community through various educational and horticulture programs, as well as scholarships.
Moreover, the artisan market at the event featured local growers and crafters with wares for purchase, helping to pump money back into the flower industry.
“The local nurseries are very supportive of our club because a lot of members go there to shop,” she said.
The Southfield Parks and Garden Club held its sixth annual Garden Walk June 24. Club President Jon Adams said the walk is always a great way to get even the most novice gardeners to fall in love with gardening.
“My major thing about getting into gardening is connecting with the ground and growing spaces,” he said. “You ground yourself and get connected to the earth.”
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