Mike Beaufore is the general manager of Primo’s Pizza in Birmingham, among other business ventures. He discovered during some unexpected time off that he enjoys working in  his home garden.

Mike Beaufore is the general manager of Primo’s Pizza in Birmingham, among other business ventures. He discovered during some unexpected time off that he enjoys working in his home garden.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Find stress relief, satisfaction in gardening

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Metro | Published June 9, 2021

 For some, keeping up a home garden is a chore. For others, it’s a fun way to get exercise, fresh air and  add value to a home.

For some, keeping up a home garden is a chore. For others, it’s a fun way to get exercise, fresh air and add value to a home.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

METRO DETROIT — Remember the frenzy that took place in spring of 2020, when Michiganders rushed to their local home and garden shops to buy all sorts of goodies to make their spaces sparkle?

Well, that frenzy is still alive and well, according to local gardening experts and bona fide bloom buffs across metro Detroit. Gardening has become not just a safe, socially distant way to pass the time during quarantine, but it’s also become something of a pandemic stress buster.

“Last year was a little unprecedented. I didn’t think we were going to be that busy, but we got a lot of new customers here and we still are this year,” said Andrew Papadelis, manager of Telly’s Greenhouse in Shelby Township.

Even though gardening is inherently laborious, lots of people use it as a way to unwind and unplug from the pressures of everyday life, Papadelis explained. There are no Zoom calls to sit through while you’re out in the garden.

“It’s kind of relaxing, and you can see the progress you’re making pretty quickly, which is nice. But it’s one of the few things we’ve been able to do outdoors that’s safe,” he said. “It’s something you can do near your home, without risking (exposure to COVID-19). And it adds value to your home, easily.”

When Mike Beaufore began gardening around his northern Oakland County home, he was just looking to spruce up the eight or nine flower beds he had been neglecting for years while he built up his businesses. He turned to his landscaper son for a bit of inspiration and know-how.

But it quickly turned into a labor of love.

“I spend several hours a day out here, taking care of the property,” Beaufore said. “There’s so much to learn when you get into it, but I never had a tremendous amount of time available to do it.”

When the COVID-19 shutdown went into effect last spring, his popular carryout restaurant Primo’s Pizza in Birmingham switched into high gear to feed a record number of customers who suddenly couldn’t dine out at restaurants anymore.

Then, Primo’s caught fire this past March. Beaufore has been sidelined for the summer while extensive damage to the kitchen is repaired.

“Now I have the time to get outside, unfortunately. Or fortunately — however you look at it,” he said. “Actually, my savior is gardening.”

Just like Papadelis said, Beaufore loves gardening and the sense of satisfaction he gets when he’s done and can instantly enjoy the beautiful results of his work.

It’s not a bad way to get fit, either.

“I like getting down in the dirt, and the physicality of it. Gardening is really good exercise,” Beaufore said. “I turned 60 at the end of last year, and since then, I’ve been focused on getting into better shape. Gardening just fit right into that. You do a lot and you’re exhausted, but you’ve created something.”

Papadelis said newbie gardeners can start just by heading to their local greenhouses and explaining their visions of their gardens.

“A lot of people like to start with vegetables. That was a big piece of last year’s sales, and about three to four times the amount we did in 2019,” Papadelis said. “We ask customers what kind of soil they have, if they have a raised bed or if they’re putting plants right into the ground. We recommend soil, fertilizer, offer tips and just kind of give them the basics. Then they take it from there.”