January 1 might officially mark the start of each new year, but it’s spring’s fresh greens and fragrant blossoms that herald new beginnings in the Great Lakes State — and there’s no better place to embrace them than the garden.
From private outdoor havens nurtured over time to acres of public spaces enlivened by master plan, this issue of BLUE invites you to discover what’s growing first-hand.
“Flowers, soil, lake, marsh…the smells were intoxicating,” shares Leelanau-based photographer Ken Scott, whose regional imagery led to commissioned capturing of an evolving woodland garden in Omena (page 46, and featured on our cover). “There was always wind and the squawk of gulls, and I loved getting on the ground to look up pathways or see perspectives unique to frogs and mushrooms.”
After winter’s thaw, mushrooms — the delectable but elusive morel, to be exact — draws thousands into the forested folds surrounding Boyne City, where the National Morel Mushroom Festival has been showcasing its nationally-renowned specialty for over 50 years (page 80).
“During morel season,” notes local Chef Kyle Marshall of Café Sante, “our month-long prix fixe seasonal menu is a great creative adventure.”
More edible adventure can be savored by tapping “liquid gold” at one of multiple maple syrup fests (page 72), visiting new vineyards (page 85) or joining a CSA (community-supported agriculture), which divvies up just-harvested fare and other farm-fresh goods from week to week starting in spring (page 22).
But treat your other senses, too.
Revel in scents of place at the nation’s only wildflower sanctuary (page 70) and try your hand at giant wooden chimes (page 44). Peruse the newest plants shown to thrive at trial gardens in the state (pages 29 and 45) and uncover literary trails for novel inspiration (page 34). Or just make time to lose sense of time in the woods — and to savor what you find.
“At one point we crouched beside a sassafras and picked leaves to chew,” reflects BLUE columnist Jerry Dennis (page 88). “Its roots inspired the original root beer…you can taste it.”
Here’s to growing enchantment this spring.
With heartfelt thanks for reading,
Lisa M. Jensen, Editor, Michigan BLUE Magazine