Gardener's Grapevine 2013.03.13

Written by David Green.

It’s a beautiful Sunday, and has been a beautiful weekend through and through. Yesterday Art and I went with our daughter Jacquie and son-in-law Henry to Detroit for baby furniture at Ikea. Prior to going to this giant store we made a few side stops for the fun of it and to fill our tummies.

Art and I watch a show on Saturdays called Under the Radar Michigan on PBS and in one episode they covered places to see in and around Detroit. One place was Motz’s Burgers on Fort Street. This is one of the oldest sliders restaurants in the country and did it ever live up to its reputation as the best! They serve more than sliders and it is so worth the trip. According to our group it was in a “bad area," but everyone we encountered was nice and the food was great.

Across the street was an enormous produce distribution plant. It was crazy big, as in one building was as big as our entire downtown area. With the lineup of semi-trucks and panel trucks it must have an amazing amount of produce inside. Just thinking of the growers behind all that produce made me smile. Think of the trip each head of lettuce has taken and the trip it still has until someone eats it. For being in a forlorn section of Detroit, the building did not look unclean and it had some lovely art deco stonework on the front. Eating sliders and thinking of gardening—can it get better?

We also visited a little place in Farmington Hills called Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum. It was awesome, also—one man’s collection of arcade and whimsical animated figures and machines. They included old arcade flip book picture machines, all kinds of arcade games from the 1800s forward and you could put in a quarter or two and see how they worked. It was a real trip back in time.

We then headed to Ikea and what a change. From old items that took lots of brain power to produce and make functional to the sparse commercialism of mass marketed items. Ikea has a gardening area and if you are in the market for some inexpensive, fairly good quality outdoor furniture or flower pots or things along that line, it is your go-to destination. I am not a big fan of mass production garden products. I like to repurpose or use artistic items. I stood in their garden area and thought, anyone could have a tidy neat little garden with this, but where would the individuality be?

I loved that my kids chose baby furniture that was not just in the baby section and had a bit of non-baby flare to it. The little fellow can grow with it, and with good care, take it with him when he heads off to his own place.

I spent some time last evening on the drive home thinking how yesterday’s castoffs still have meaning and use. I have had the idea for a long time to make a bench for the outside of our church out of an old bed frame. We have an area that is hard to get anything to grow in because the heat is so extreme off the concrete and sandstone. So an ornate place to sit is just the ticket, with maybe a pot of flowers off to the side that can be replenished without breaking the bank. Since I have come up with this idea I have seen so many swings and benches made from old beds.

I searched on-line for more repurposing ideas and came up with some great sites that might interest some of you that read this column. Try eHowhome and type in making garden décor from recycled junk, or, and of course the Queen of all idea sites, Pinterest.

Gardening should be fun and while the muddy spring rains and thaws keep us from the dirt, spend some time looking for an idea you can use to pop your space.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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