Yesterday was a fine day in the County and Louan Lechler agreed to meet for lunch and explorations. We wound through Ellsworth and East Jordan and back along Old State Road to Central Lake, where we stopped at a tiny cottage across from the Post Office.
I climbed the steps of Cottage Gardens and opened the door. “Come here and give me a big kiss and a hug!” Who, me??? As customer greetings go, this was Extreme Friendliness! Wait, wait . . . Amy Drake was not talking to me. She was talking to her daughter, who was headed home with Daddy. Mommy got her goodbye hug and kiss. That is one of the major benefits of a homegrown business.
Amy started Cottage Gardens in her house in 2007 and built a good reputation among village residents and summer cottage dwellers alike. She decided that the way to keep growing was to move out of the house and into the business district where she would be more visible. This will be her opening year at the new spot, and she’s excited. As you might guess from the name, the shop is filled with flowers and gardening supplies and nice smells. Amy and Louan talked gardening while I took pictures of the cut flowers in the cooler.
Then I took pictures of the potted plants and the locally-made twig trellises.
Besides the cut flowers and potted plants there were onion sets and seed potatoes and vegetable seed packets. Louan bought some seeds guaranteed to grow bluegreen pumpkins on her community garden plot in Elk Rapids. Hope trumps experience in the spring. I contented myself with taking a picture of the colorful sacks of red, yellow and white onion sets.
Sometime next week Amy will take delivery of flats of flowers and vegetables and hanging baskets and big bags of peat moss and fertilizer and potting soil—everything you need to make a fine garden at your house. Everything except sun. I might come back for a shade-tolerant hanging basket. Amy and Kipp also have a tree removal and lawn service. I don’t do lawn, but there sure is a lot of tree work to be done around the Writing Studio and Bait Shop.
Louan and Amy were deep in conversation about growing seasons and temperamental Michigan springs and whether we are likely to have a summer as odd as the winter we had. I wandered outside and found a good spot for a final photo opportunity.
Amy & Kipp Drake
7953 E. State Street
(Right across from the Post Office)
Central Lake, Michigan
Monday-Friday 10-6 Saturday 10-3