Cranbrook blooms for annual flower sale

Brandy Baker
The Detroit News

Bloomfield Hills — With red wagons trailing, an army of nature lovers perused more than 875 pots filled with flowers such as primrose, wood poppies, geraniums and great Solomon's seal at the 43rd Annual Spring Plant Sale at Cranbrook House and Gardens on Tuesday.

Over the course of the two-day sale that ends Wednesday, officials expect around 750 visitors to stroll the grounds, browsing a selection of annuals, perennials, tropical plants, herbs, vegetables, tomatoes, native Michigan plants and wildflowers.

Cloudy skies and cool temperatures didn't deter a steady flow of guests from snapping up pots of phlox, bellwort, Michigan lily and tropical goldfish plants, so named for the shape of their flowers.

"It's definitely an exciting time. It's kind of the kickoff to spring and the gardening season," said Eric Franchy, public relations coordinator for Cranbrook House and Gardens.

More than 100 volunteers from the Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary spend a year prepping plants for the sale, which is one of the group's largest fundraisers. Proceeds from the sale and donations help the nonprofit maintain, restore and preserve the National Historic Landmark site.

"We have some candelabra primrose that look really good and are just starting to bloom," said Pat Pampreen, a 20-year auxiliary volunteer and master gardener, adding, "We have some antique cannas that are spectacular. They attract hummingbirds."

Volunteers on site offer shoppers gardening knowledge, tally purchases and help lug the flora back to your car.

This year, administrators were searching for a way to make the gardens accessible to a large population, so for the first time, admission to the gardens is free this season (May-October) as a result of sponsorships from PNC Bank, Roberts Restaurant Group and Meijer.

The plant sale is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

(313) 222-2030