Landscaping & Gardens

The Daily Michigan: A giclee print from Mark S. Carson

Sleeping Bear Dunes by Mark S. Carlson

Today on The Daily Michigan we’re giving away a custom giclee printed image of your choice from photographer Mark S. Carlson.

Mark is one of our featured partners in The Daily Michigan, and if you’re the winner you can choose from any on his website or his artist Facebook page. The 12 X 18″ image will be archivally printed on 13 X 19″ matte paper, personally signed beneath the bottom, right-hand corner of the image, accompanied by a description label ready to be adhered to the back of the print finished image, then packaged in a heavy cardboard tube and Priority mailed to you!

We are featuring this beautiful photo from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore for two reasons – one is that we have a very cool giveaway related to the dunes on tap for tomorrow and another is that Mark has a cool eco/photo tour coming up in May in the heart of the Sleeping Bear. Springtime is right around the corner and this tour lets you enjoy it in style with wonderful lodging, excellent photography instruction and the most picturesque subject matter you’ll find in the Great Lakes State, GUARANTEED! Details at

Click here to sign up (if you’re not already registered)

March Michigan Event Calendar

Our monthly calendar contains a selection of what’s cool to do in Michigan. If you have an event to share, please POST IT IN THE COMMENTS. We read them all and might add yours, but if you email us, we simply can’t add the event!

If your event is ticketed and you would like to give tickets away to promote it, please go to this page!

Approaching Spring by mayerdavid1978

Our Michigan event calendar for the month of March features all kinds of signs that spring is just around the corner with some cautious reminders that objects around the corner may be further off than they appear.


“March is a tomboy with tousled hair, a mischievous smile, mud on her shoes
and a laugh in her voice.” – Hal Borland

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” – Charles Dickens

“Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.” – Lewis Grizzard

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.” – Doug Larson

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, Let’s party!” – Robin Williams

Fast Facts

March’s birthstone is Aquamarine and Bloodstone. They symbolize courage.

Its birth flower is the Narcissus.

March in the Southern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent of September in the Northern Hemisphere.

Daylight-Savings time occurs on March 13, 2010, at 2:00 AM – time to spring ahead!

Think spring! The vernal equinox occurs on March 20, 2011, at 11:21  PM EDT.

Urban Farming and The Kings of Flint

“What we’re trying to do is a systems change. We’re trying to build up a small, local economy that’s place based – that can’t pick up and go somewhere else.”
~Stephen Arellano, Ruth Mott Foundation in Flint

Mallory Horton Waters Plants in the GreenHouse at Harvesting Earth Urban Garden
Mallory Horton Waters Plants in the
GreenHouse at Harvesting Earth Urban
Garden by Michigan Municipal League (MML)

Click for slideshow from MML!

Last week we featured Urban Farming and the Gift of Detroit. Detroit is not the only Michigan city that is turning to urban farming as a means of economic development and simple subsistence.

The Kings of Flint is a documentary that features Jacky and Dora King, of King Karate. Jackie and Dora are also Master Gardeners who see farming as not only a means of self defense – Jackie points out that historically martial arts students have also been farmers – but also as a way to revitalize Flint. They use the discipline of farming and hard work to help their students prepare to meet the challenges that growing up in Flint present.

Tree cities bloom in Michigan

Great Lakes Echo is a project of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University. The site uses Creative Commons reporting to to help the news community cover the environment of the Great Lakes watershed. Absolute Michigan supports the mission of Great Lakes Echo and regularly features articles they produce.

by Sara Qamar

More than 100 Michigan communities have been honored under the Tree City USA program that promotes the economic, health and aesthetic benefits of trees on public property.

Main Street Rockford by Eridony
Main Street Rockford by Eridony

Some benefits of trees, such as energy conservation and savings on heating and cooling costs, are important economic factors, said Department of Natural Resources (DNR) urban forestry program coordinator Kevin Sayers.

“Properly planted trees in areas that might shade a building or shade an air conditioning unit are seen to help a lot in energy savings. They can block cold winter winds and minimize heating costs during winter,” he said.

Trees can also affect the price of homes, he said.

“Real estate studies show that properties which have well-maintained landscapes and mature trees are worth more,” he said.

Alpena received its 12th Tree City USA designation this year, city engineer Rich Sullenger said.

Toy Town by lefeber
Toy Town by lefeber

It’s among 119 communities in the program this year. Others include Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Allegan, Brighton, Charlevoix, Big Rapids, Ionia and Rockford.

“There’s nothing prettier than looking down a tree-lined street in the summer. That’s a huge benefit to the community. Anytime I personally I see a tree, it’s a lot more pleasing than seeing a barren section of property,” Sullenger said.

Rockford, which was one of two new Michigan honorees this year, has had a longstanding comprehensive tree program which included planting 100 trees a year, city manager Michael Young said. The other is Clio.

Rockford is an older community that has expanded in recent years and has many mature trees, but citizens like greenery in newer developments as well, he said.

Click above for more about the program including how your community can enroll!

Click above for more about the program including how your community can enroll!

“It’s really important to blend our newer parts with the old parts, and trees are that common thread,” he said.

One program the city will start this year is purchasing and planting a tree for each baby born in Rockford, he said.

The tree most planted is the maple, which residents appreciate because of the different colors its leaves turn, Young said.

One of the chronic problems DNR deals with about the program is convincing communities to diversify their tree selections from maple.

Sayers said uniformity can cause diseases to spread more easily.

“I don’t promote planting any particular one. I encourage diversifying and planting the tree that’s right for the location,” he said.

Competition among neighboring communities and citizens’ grassroots efforts have helped the program grow in Michigan in the last 10 years, he said.

“There’s a growing sense of responsibility to do something in terms of environmental initiatives. Local citizens are working with the city to get this designation,” he said.

Tree City USA operated by the Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit group in Nebraska.

The program requires no application fee. The only condition is that communities spend $2 per resident on anything related to trees. That could include planting, annual leaf pickup, purchasing equipment and other care and management, he said.

Lansing Home and Garden Show ~ March 17-20, 2011

Lansing Home & Garden ShowThe 2011 Lansing Home & Garden Show transforms the MSU Pavilion on the campus of Michigan State University with incredible gardens, extensive landscaping projects, a flower show, four free seminar stages and hundreds of exhibits featuring construction, remodeling, kitchens & baths, retail garden centers, pools and spas and home services. Seminar topics are wide-ranging and include the latest trends in energy efficiency, fix-it tips, interior design, cooking & grilling demonstrations and gardening maintenence and design. There are also a dozen demonstration gardens and workshops and activities designed for kids.

Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for kids (under 5 free) and Saturday is Kids Day – 14 & under get in FREE before noon. Discount coupons and more information are available online!

As you start thinking about home improvement & gardening this spring, don’t forget to check Absolute Michigan for great businesses specializing in furniture & appliances, home decor & interior design, home improvement & repair and landscaping & gardens from all over the state who can help you take your home to the next level!

Michigan Invasive Species: Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer by USDAgov
Emerald Ash Borer by USDAgov

All week long we’re profiling invasive species on Michigan in Pictures and Absolute Michigan. Today we move to dry land with this little fellow, the emerald ash borer, an exotic pest that has killed tens of millions of ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone. The central web site is and they explain:

Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, is an exotic beetle that was discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. The adult beetles nibble on ash foliage but cause little damage. The larvae (the immature stage) feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. Emerald ash borer probably arrived in the United States on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes originating in its native Asia.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture has information on the ash borer including on what to do if you think you have a tree infested by the emerald ash borer and please don’t move firewood!! We’ll close with a video about the emerald ash borer…

Weird Wednesday: A Concrete Shang-ri-la

linda-godfrey The last Wednesday of every month is a “Weird Wednesday” on Absolute Michigan, when Linda Godfrey gives you a sample of what’s weird in the Wolverine State. You can report your own strange encounters at, follow her on Twitter at and also check out her books including Weird Michigan & Strange Michigan.

krupps-sculpture gardenIt’s that time of year when anyone with a patch of green space starts thinking about how to enhance it. How better to do that than by cruising on down to Lennon, the Lawn Ornament Capital of America.

Lennon claims that title based on Jean Krupp’s Novelty Store, a retail moniker that barely hints at what you will find there. Rows of naked concrete Davids, gnarly gargoyles, Christ figures and Labrador retrievers stand higgledy-piggledy around the vast outdoor shopping space, while shelves of gewgaws and bathtubs with pre-installed icons fill the indoor area. There is even a life-sized King Neptune ready to grace your cee-ment pond. And gnomes? Gnumerous.

kruppswOwner Jean Krupp started the business with handmade birdhouses in the 1950s and built it into the mega-landmark it has become. Last time I visited, the busy octagenarian was still hand-painting statues.

Krupp’s is easy to find at the intersection of M-12 and M-13. Look closely as you drive up and you might just catch King Neptune waving at you.

Acres and acres more Weird Wednesday from Absolute Michigan

Ready to Pick: Leafy Greens

Salad by by jpwbee
Salad by by jpwbee

Taste the Local Difference says that leafy greens are ready to pick! Greens are an excellent source of iron, calcium, Vitamins A and C, and folic acid and also very high in dietary fiber and low in calories and sodium. What’s not to love?? Here’s a few fun facts about greens:

  • Swiss chard is also known as white beet, strawberry spinach, seakale beet, leaf beet, Sicilian beet, spinach beet, Chilean beet, Roman kale, perpetual spinach, silverbeet and mangold!
  • Arugula is known as “rocket” in some parts of Europe.
  • Lettuce is a member of the sunflower family.

Untitled by Ken Scott
Untitled by Ken Scott

Herbed Baked Greens

2 egg whites
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1//2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1/3 cup lemon juice
¼ tsp. crushed rosemary
salt to taste
3 cups cooked, chopped greens
2 Tbsp. minced onions
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 ½ cups grated low-fat cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil an 8-inch square glass baking pan. In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites with oil, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, rosemary, and salt. Gently stir greens, onions, rice, and cheese into egg white mixture, then turn into prepared pan. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake until lightly browned, 10-15 minutes. 4-6 servings.

While we’re on the topic, here’s Seth Bernard & May Erlewine singing about greens!

Photo Friday: soft beauty by cae3/ Anita

soft beauty

cae3/ Anita says that she’s a mom, wife, registered nurse and photographer.

Check this photo out larger in her Explored slideshow and see more of her lovely flower shots.

Here’s her Flickriver.

Photo Friday: Tulips at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) by cseeman

326/365 (May 4, 2009) - Tulips at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)

cseeman (Corey) is the Library Director at the Kresge Business Administration Library at the University of Michigan (Corey’s homepage)

You’ll definitely want to check this photo out background bigalicious or in his cool Tulip slideshow. His sets include Birds of Saline, Fiddlers Restrung (not to be confused with the Saline Fiddlers) and Lighthouses of Michigan (slideshow) that is helpfully broken down into Lighthouse of Lake Michigan, Lighthouses of Lake Huron, Lighthouses of Lake Erie and Lighthouses of Lake St. Clair.

You can also check out his Flickriver.