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Bloomfield Hills

April 23, 2014

Native, bee-loving plants among items at annual plant sale

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Broccoli plants, like the ones pictured here, will be among the offerings at the 42nd annual Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary Plant Sale.

BLOOMFIELD HILLS —  The 42nd annual Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary Spring Plant Sale is just a few weeks away and promises to be the best one yet, organizers say.

Like in years past, the event will give the public the chance to choose from a wide variety of plants to take home and use in their own gardens. From high-quality native Michigan plants and wildflowers to annuals, perennials, herbs, organic heirloom tomatoes and more, there’s sure to be a bloom to suit every green thumb.

Many of the plants available for purchase were propagated from endangered plants rescued by Cranbrook’s Native Plant and Wildflower Rescue Program. For nearly 40 years, the group — with permission, of course — has gone to construction sites before work begins and harvested rare plants native to the Great Lakes State before they’re wiped out by builders. The plants are brought back to Cranbrook’s greenhouse and propagated.

Organic herbs, carefully cared-for orchids and many more items will be available at the sale, which is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary.

“Every year, we do better than the last year, and we’re projecting to do even better this year,” said Plant Sale Committee Chairperson Ellen Dougherty. “The people who come to the plant sale are very loyal, and I think they like the idea of buying from Cranbrook and supporting the community there.”

According to Dougherty, the theme of this year’s sale will be “Bring back the Bees.” She explained that, in recent years, bee populations have been on a dramatic decline. Since bee pollination is vital to plant life, environmentalists around the world have advocated doing whatever is possible to save bees from vanishing for good.

“That’s our message this year. Everybody is trying to bring more bees back into their garden, and this year, our perennials section has come up with a group of plants that will bring back the bees,” said Dougherty, adding that Trillium, Solomon Seal and Green Dragon plants will be among those bee-friendly species available.

Johanna Schurrer, conservatory greenhouse committee co-chair, said her favorite part of the annual sale is getting the tasty stuff that she needs to start her backyard garden.

“I usually get the tomatoes and kale and lettuces. We have one gal who propagates from seed all the tomatoes we sell. I think this year, we’re going to have about 440 tomato plants,” said Schurrer. “But we’ll have all kinds of things. We have wonderful new kinds of coleus and herbs, and in the greenhouse, we’ll have cactus and bromeliads and begonias, like we always do.”

Shoppers are asked to park at Christ Church Cranbrook and use the provided shuttle service to get to the sale. Guests are also encouraged to bring wagons to transport their purchases back to their vehicles. Some wagons and assistance will be available.

The annual Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary Spring Plant Sale will be held from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 13 and from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 14. For more information, call (248) 645-3149 or visit housegardens.cranbrook.edu. You can also email the auxiliary at houseandgardens@cranbrook.edu.

The Cranbrook House and Gardens is located at 380 Lone Pine Road in Bloomfield Hills.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki at tesshaki@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.