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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Micandy Gardens and My Bucket List

My bucket list is shrinking--not really in length but in scope.  I cancelled my trip to Istanbul, Ephesus, Patmos, and the Greek Islands and have not regretted that decision.  I watch Rick Steve's Europe and Youtube videos and am satisfied!

However, I can check another item off my 100 Dreams, as Laura would say, because we had an amazing adventure yesterday just one hour from our South Haven condo.  We toured Micandy Gardens under the best tour guides one could have--the owners, our high school friends and double date partners, Micki and Andy Buist. 

Micki and Andy were the first of our friends to marry.  The little house they moved into then  is still on the site of their large enterprise and seeing it brought back memories of first visiting there in 1964.  Since then, it has been used as a place for a nanny to take care of grandchildren while their parents worked in the nursery and now it is used as a gathering place for the older grandchildren to hang out.  We met several of the children and grandchildren in this family business.  Micki and Andy are very much involved daily but have turned over many responsibilities to others.

Micandy Gardens employs 150 people during the high season.  60 of them are "merchandisers" located at various Home Depot stores around the Midwest.  The big concern yesterday was the snow in Petoskey and freeze warnings elsewhere. This meant all "product," as they called the flowers, had to be moved inside for the evening. Those merchandisers were going to be very busy saving plants.

Mixing  soil
Setting watering
We were amazed at the extensive greenhouses and the technology needed to keep everything watered and at the right temperature all year round.  We saw conveyer belts, a monorail system for moving hanging plants, machines for mixing soil, and so many varieties of colorful flowers.  We saw seed plugs and transplants and flowers ready to go.  Timing is everything.

This is the season for long hours.  Micki and Andy take pride in the return year after year of their seasonal employees and they treat them well.  We heard an announcement of appreciation for hard work and an invitation for a suppertime buffet of salad, macaroni and cheese, meat balls and bread sticks because of the need for overtime hours right now. 

It was a joy to see how a 50 year enterprise has grown and brought employment and beauty to so many.  And it was a joy to sit over food and wine at the Hudsonville Winery afterwards and chat about aged parents, children, grandchildren, churches, and life in general. 

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