Green is Good

It's the time of the season for digging, pruning, and (maybe) planting


We’ve survived a brutal winter. Now check out this handy guide.

“Gardening is how I relax. It’s another form of creating and playing with colors.”
— Oscar de la Renta

Downtown Home and Garden (Left), Telly's Greenhouse (Center), and Pearhut (Right)


Downtown Home and Garden
This 100-year-old store sits in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor (above left) and features garden tools, non-GMO seeds, organic fertilizers, and canning supplies. Pots are imported from Vietnam, along with teak furniture from Kingsley Bate and clothing from Carhartt, Filson, Stormy Kromer, and more.
210 S. Ashley St.,
Ann Arbor; 734-662-8122,

Telly’s Greenhouse
Pansies (above center) are known to be early-bloomer flowers. They begin to grow in the cold weather of April and May, and last all through the summer heat. Telly’s Matrix series has an assortment of colors.
Troy, Shelby Township., and Pontiac:

Founded in 2013 by husband and wife team David and Tammy Pereira, the name Pearhut (above right) comes from their last name, which means “pear tree” in Portuguese. The word hut was added for their love of outdoor living spaces. All creations are handcrafted in Roseville, including the hose holder (above) made of stainless steel. Starting at $59.
27941 Groesbeck Hwy., Roseville; 586-779-5942,



Homemade — and nontoxic — insect control

You don’t have to rely on heavy chemical treatments to keep your garden pest-free. And sometimes, all it takes is a trip to the grocery store to keep the bad bugs away.

Note: Sprays will also kill beneficial insects. Use homemade remedies only on infected plants. Apply early in the morning or just before dark. Re-apply after a rain. Wear protective clothing.

PESTS: Mites and other insects
RECIPE: Two tablespoons of hot pepper sauce or cayenne pepper with a few drops of Ivory soap into a quart of water.
APPLICATION: Shake container frequently during application. Spray plant from above down, and from below.


PESTS: Soft-bodied insects (mites, aphids, mealybugs)
RECIPE: One tablespoon of canola oil and a few drops of Ivory soap into a quart of water. Shake well and pour into a spray bottle.
APPLICATION: Spray plant from above, and from below to get the underside of the leaves.


PESTS: Earwigs, slugs, and other soft-bodied pests
RECIPE: Diatomaceous earth (fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms)
APPLICATION: Sprinkle over plants and around edges of garden beds.




You've probably heard that coffee grounds are a great addition to your compost bin. They're about 1.45 percent nitrogen and also contain magnesium, calcium, potassium, and more. They can also be sprinkled directly on the soil, or circle the wagons and use them to form a slug and snail barrier.

Another breakfast staple is good for gardens, too. Save eggshells and put them in the compost bin, or crush them up and add them to planting holes. They can also help keep those slugs and snails away.



There are several 'beneficial' insects that can help you get rid of the harmful ones — or their larvae. Here are just a few:

RIDS GARDENS OF: Many pests.
ATTRACTED TO: Plants it can hide in, like tall grasses.


RIDS GARDENS OF: Aphids, mites, whiteflies, and scale insects.
ATTRACTED TO: Members of the daisy family (Compositae), tansy, or yarrow.


RIDS GARDENS OF: Aphids, and their larva eat aphids and other pests.
ATTRACTED TO: "Composite" flowers (yarrow, goldenrod, black-eyed Susans, and asters).

RIDS GARDENS OF: Leaf-eating caterpillars.
ATTRACTED TO: Carrots, celery, parsley, caraway, and Queen Anne’s lace. Let the plants flower.

RIDS GARDENS OF: Aphids, and their larva eat aphids and other pests.
ATTRACTED TO: "Composite" flowers (yarrow, goldenrod, black-eyed Susans, and asters).


Detroit Garden Works (Left), Planterra (Center), and Firmly Planted (Right)


Detroit Garden Works // Seasonal plants and more
From seasonal and special plants (above left) to a Donatello Marzocco lion inspired fountain and everything in between, this shop — established in 1996 — has what you need, including containers, ornaments, and tools.
Detroit Garden Works, 1794 Pontiac Dr., Sylvan Lake; 248-335-8089,

Tropicals (above center) add a touch of luxury and beauty. Outdoors or indoors, this plant gives any space an exotic look.
7315 Drake Rd., West Bloomfield Township.; 248-661-1515,

Firmly Planted // Clock
Mother Nature meets Father Time with this decorative clock (above), starting at $150.
1528 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 818-429-6278,


Highest Single Day Rainfall in detroit: 5.13 inches on July 29, 1976

Jan      4.67 in    1932
Feb      5.39 in    1908
Mar      5.62 in    1919
Apr      6.23 in    1893
May     7.87 in    1943
June    7.98 in    1967
July     10.87 in   1902
Aug     10.44 in   1985
Sept    7.42 in    1986
Oct      8.54 in    1981
Nov     6.16 in    1985
Dec     5.51 in    1906


Knowing “frost dates” is key to successful gardening — especially when planting vegetables. Here are a few Michigan cities and their expected “last” frost dates for spring. These are just “guidelines,” however. Check your local weather forecast for more details. (And send blankets to our friends up in Vanderbilt.)

Detroit              May 12
Metro Detroit    May 19
Pontiac             May 25
Flint                  May 27
Ann Arbor         May 27
Port Huron       June 5
Cheboygan      June 21
Houghton        July 10
Vanderbilt        July 31
Source: MSU Climatologist’s Office


According to the Michigan State University Extension’s “Gardening in Michigan” website, you can do a bit of gardening and prep work in April — at least in between those proverbial showers.

PREPARE SOIL. (Squeeze a handful of soil. If it crumbles, it’s ready for planting.)
PLANT COOL SEASON CROPS (such as onion, beets, lettuce, spinach, carrots, and radishes).


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