Spring blooms draw crowds at Spring Expo

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published April 16, 2014

 Nevaeh Bookout, 6, of Rochester, talks to mermaid Brittney Cardinale from Haley Stone at Bordine’s Spring Expo April 12.

Nevaeh Bookout, 6, of Rochester, talks to mermaid Brittney Cardinale from Haley Stone at Bordine’s Spring Expo April 12.

ROCHESTER HILLS — After a rough winter, many Michiganders are looking forward to quality time in their gardens.

Bordine’s Spring Expo, held April 12-13, provided flower displays, garden experts, seminars and a charitable aspect at the Rochester Hills location, on Rochester Road.

“It is our kickoff to the spring season,” said Heather Glenday, Bordine’s general manager. “People are coming to get a glimpse of spring — some color. It is a show that is specific to gardening and all gardening needs.”

Local vendors were invited to the event, many setting up lavish displays. Among the vendor displays, an unusual mermaid exhibit showcased a Haley Stone grotto, complete with a pond and a live mermaid. Haley Stone is located in Rochester Hills.

Renee Van Daal, Haley Stone owner, said her son Michael began making silicone mermaid tails seven years ago.

“Mermaids were always a fascination for him,” Van Daal said, “starting with the movie ‘The Little Mermaid.’ We have pictures of him with a mermaid doll when he was 2 years old.”

Beginning with rubber flippers, duct tape and glue, Michael Van Daal graduated to silicon molds for mermaid tails. Teaming with Mermaid Melissa, who legally changed her name, Michael Van Daal appears as pirate Capt. Jack Sparrow at local events.

“I’ve done book readings at local schools and corporate events,” Michael Van Daal said. “We did the Life Time Fitness pool opening.  Girls want to see the mermaid, and boys want to meet the pirate. One little boy said he wanted to go to college to be a pirate.”

In conjunction with the Spring Expo, the Rochester Rotary Charities held a beer and wine tasting at Bordine’s April 11. The event featured a preview of Spring Expo displays, an auction, cuisine samplings and entertainment.

The event raised funds for numerous Rochester Rotary charitable efforts, including scholarships, medical mission trips and efforts to eradicate polio throughout the world.

Glenday said many Spring Expo customers were purchasing vegetable plants.

“More people are growing their own,” she said. “It will reduce your grocery bill, and you know where it is coming from.”

Pansies, flowers that can withstand cold temperatures, were also big sellers.

“People are excited to get into their gardens,” Glenday said.

Among the expo customers, Mike Weidner and his father, Vern Weidner, took a break, sitting on patio furniture. The father and son are from Shelby Township. Vern Weidener, 82, said he has shopped for plants and flowers at Bordine’s for many decades.

“I’ve been coming here for a long time,” Vern Weidener said.

“He used to have 50 roses. He had gardens for years,” Mike Weidner said about his dad. “He grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania — he grew up planting.”

But not everyone is anxious for the gardening season to begin.

“I love winter,” Mike Weidner said. “Now, we have to start cutting the grass.”