Spring has sprung: Resources for planning all types of outdoor fun

Today marks the first day of spring, and we could not be happier! Winter has been…..well, winter. And while there’s still a chance of flurries and cold temps in the forecast, we’ve got our rose-colored glasses on and are planning all types of outdoor activities! To help you do the same, we put together some helpful resources filled with Macomb County parks, trails and other fun things to do. After a season stuck indoors, we’re certain these lists will be the exact tools you need to get outdoors and get active!

huron clinton 3

  • Macomb County parks and trails — Some of the greatest assets of Macomb County are its world-class recreational opportunities. Macomb is home to 34 miles of coastline along Lake St. Clair, with ample opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing, and many other ways to enjoy the water. The county also features the Clinton River and its tributaries, which host kayaking, canoe liveries, waterfront restaurants and more. And we can’t leave out our parks. Macomb County is home to three state recreational facilities, as well as three Huron-Clinton Metroparks, and over 3,800 acres of municipal parks. Click here to learn more.
  • Attractions map — Easily locate parks, nature centers and dog parks with our digital attractions map. So whether you’re in northern or southern Macomb, you can find the exact outdoor resource you desire. Click here to access the map.
  • Summer camps galore —- Hoping to enroll your child in summer camp or summer programming? We’ve done all the research for you! From STEM camps to sports-themed activities, our comprehensive list of opportunities in Macomb County is the perfect resource for parents looking to keep their children active and engaged during their time off from school. Click here for more details.
  • Wineries and breweries – While you’re planning exciting activities for the kids, make sure to plan a few fun outings for yourself! And for all those wine and beer lovers, we’ve got you covered. Here you’ll find a list of wineries in the region and here you’ll get details on our local breweries. Whichever you choose, make sure you partake responsibly!

In the coming months, we’ll release lists of Macomb County ice cream parlors and waterfront dining – so stay tuned to the MMYH blog! And as always, if we missed something, please let us know in the comments. Happy spring everyone!

 

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

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A buyer’s perspective part 2: Why you should purchase plants from the Macomb plant sale

The official start to spring is just around the corner! Which means it’s time to start planning for your yard and/or gardens and to consider Macomb County’s tree and plant sale. In partnership with the City of Sterling Heights, Green Macomb and the Blue Water Conservation District recently announced the return of this annual event, an opportunity for the public to purchase young trees, fruit trees, flowering shrubs, wildflower seed and other fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices. The sale kicked off with a pre-order period that will run through April 4, so today, we’d like to highlight another individual that participated in the pre-sale last year by purchasing plants for his backyard. Below you’ll find a Q and A with John.

Q: What interested you in the sale? Why did you decide to make a purchase rather than go to say, Lowe’s?

A: I was in desperate need of some taller growing shrubs for my backyard fence line. Some of the things that were important to our family in deciding on a plant type was that the plant would need to be native and non-invasive to our southeast Michigan region, that it would provide habitat for little animals, and that it could potentially help some pollinators. Further, I did not want to pay an arm and a leg for these plants – all of these factors led me to the Green Macomb plant sale because they do the due diligence for me. They ensure that the plants they sell are appropriate for our community and that they are sold at a reasonable price – all of which aren’t necessarily true for major plant retailers like a Lowe’s or Home Depot.

John Culcasi plant
Q: What did you purchase from the sale?

A: I purchased 10 Ninebark shrubs from the plant sale.

Q: What was the quality of the product received? Were you happy with what you got?

A: Honestly, at first, I didn’t know what to expect. I heard bare root shrub, but I couldn’t picture what it would look like. So, I cleared out a bunch of space in my trunk for the 10 shrubs I was picking up, little did I know – the plants would all fit on my passenger seat. They were very efficiently packed and included planting instructions. While the size of the package was surprising, they were high quality and ultimately what I needed.

Q: Did you receive assistance from the experts on hand at the sale? If so, were they helpful? Did they give you good insight into plants/planting?

A: Yes, they gave me some good insight on the planting, including a couple tips to improve the success rate of the planting. It was worth the discussion.

Q: Was it easy to plant what you purchased? Did the plants do well over the summer?

A: Very simple. No different really than planting any other type of plant except for the bit of bone meal you should mix with the dirt and the dirt ring and mulch you should place around the plant to help with water retention. My 10 shrubs took me about an hour to plant by myself. Not too bad!

Q: Do you think that the additional greenery in your yard had a positive effect on you/your home?

A: The plants did help with some drainage issues I was having along the boundary of my property, and they really beautified my fence line. I look forward to seeing how they look in year 2!

Q: Will you make additional purchases at this year’s sale?

A: We just might! My wife and I are considering buying a couple different trees for our backyard. We thought our previous years’ experience was great and now we plan on buying all of our trees and shrubs from the Green Macomb plant sale.

Q: Would you recommend the sale to others? Why?

I’d recommend the Green Macomb plant sale all day and every day. It really is the best way to get the best plants for your specific environment/ecosystem at the best prices. I’ve told all of my friends and family and now they are purchasing from the sale too.

The moral of this Q and A: Don’t wait! Purchase your trees, plants, shrubs, etc. today! Click here to browse for product and to place your online order. And mark your calendars for the plant pick up days – Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27.

For more information other Green Macomb initiatives, click here. And to learn about the Blue Water Conservation click here.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

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Metro Detroit celebrates Pi Day with specials, activities

Tomorrow is the official celebration of Pi Day, a holiday centered on the numerical figure 3.14. To mark the occasion, restaurants across Metro Detroit are offering specials and promotions tied to the number. The Detroit Free Press recently listed several:

  • Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizzas: Build-your-own 11-inch pizzas will be $3.14 for people who use the Blaze Pizza app. (You can download it through March 14. The reward pexels-photo-1260968will be locked on the morning of Pi Day.) Blaze, which (believe it or not) has 314 locations nationwide, expects to sell 250,000 pizzas during the promotion, says Jim Mizes, the company’s president and CEO.
  • California Pizza Kitchen: Get a slice of key lime pie for $3.14 while supplies last.
  • Grand Traverse Pie Co.: Get a free slice of ABC pie (apple, blueberry, cherry) with any purchase at Grand Traverse’s 15 Michigan locations.
  • Hungry Howie’s: Get a medium one-topping pizza for $3.14 with any purchase of any regular Howie Bread. The online promotion is for carryout orders. Prices vary for the bread, which comes in varieties that include regular, cinnamon, cheese and Asiago cheese. Use 19PI as the coupon code. For a list of stores go to hungryhowies.com.
  • Jet’s Pizza: Though the chain is known for its Detroit-style deep-dish pizzas, it’s turning its attention to hand-tossed round pizza on Pi Day. When you buy a large pizza at the regular price, you can get a round pizza for $3.14 with coupon code 314. To order, go to jetspizza.com. The offer is available for carryout or delivery.
  • Villa Italian Kitchen: A full-size Neapolitan cheese pizza is being offered for $3.14 at more than 200 locations nationwide. Locally, you can visit Villa restaurant at Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights. Download a coupon for the offer at http://www.villaitaliankitchen.com/PiDay. It’s valid only on March 14.

Outside of the world of pizza and pie, local schools are also planning to partake in the Pi Day action. For instance, the L’Anse Creuse Pankow Center is hosting activities for students around science, technology, engineering and math. For more information on the daylong events, click here.

So – did we miss anything? How do you plan to celebrate Pi Day and will you take advantage of any promotions or deals? Let us know in the comments!

 

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

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What should you buy at the Macomb County tree and plant sale?

Let’s get right to it. We posed the question in the title: What should you buy at the Macomb County tree and plant sale? And this week, we recommend the butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii)!

Monarch_Butterfly_Flower_by_Lynn_M_Kimmerle_Stonington_CT_540xAs a refresher, Macomb County’s tree and plant sale is an annual event held by Green Macomb and the Blue Water Conservation District. The sale provides an opportunity for the public to purchase young trees, fruit trees, flowering shrubs, wildflower seed and other fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices. Its pre-order period runs through April 4, so we highly recommend getting your orders in now. Which brings us back to the butterfly bush. This beautiful shrub contains long, arching shoots that fill the air with a fruity scent from summer to autumn. It is vigorous and undemanding and will continually send up new shoots. Its flowers come in many colors, though butterflies seem to prefer the lavender-pink (mauve) of the species to the white and dark purple cultivars.

As mentioned, the bush is easy to manage, which is supported by these tips on planting and care from the Farmer’s Almanac:

  • Planting
    • Buddleias need full sun and fertile, well-drained soil.
    • Plant in spring or fall before frost. See your local frost dates.
    • Loosen the soil, mix in compost, and dig a hole twice the diameter of the plant container.
    • When placing the plant in the hole, the top of the rootball should be level with the soil surface.
    • Space plants 5 to 10 feet apart, depending on the variety.
    • Water thoroughly.
  • Care
    • Water freely when in growth and sparingly otherwise. In the summer, water if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week.
    • Avoid fertilizing butterfly bush; too much fertility promotes leaf growth over flower production.
    • Remove spent flower spikes to encourage new shoots and flower buds.
    • Each spring, apply a thin layer of compost and mulch to retain moisture and control weeds.
    • In cold, northern climates, spread mulch up to 6 inches deep around the trunk to nurture it through the winter.
    • Buddleias are very late to break dormancy, so don’t be in a hurry to assess winter damage.
    • The bush should bloom abundantly even in its first year. In warmer climates, the bushes will grow into trees and develop rugged trunks that peel; peeling is normal.
    • In the northern limit of their range, they behave as herbaceous perennials, dying back to the root in cold winters.
    • Since they bloom on new wood, even if there is no die-back, cut them back to the ground every spring. Yes, hack to the ground!
    • Even where winters are mild enough for the stems to survive, prune severely to stimulate abundant growth on which flowers are borne.

White_buddleia_closeup_1800x1800

If you’re interested in purchasing a butterfly bush, check out the easy sale order form here. And mark your calendars for the plant pick up days – Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27.

For more information on other Green Macomb initiatives, click here. And to learn about the Blue Water Conservation click here.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

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How to keep your children active and engaged during summer vacation

It’s hard to start thinking about summer plans for your children when there’s still snow on the ground; but alas, now is the time to begin registering your kids for camp! Whether they love science, the performing arts or sports, there are plenty of opportunities that will ensure your children are active and engaged during vacation. And the majority are right here in Macomb County!

So – how do you find the right camp for your child? A great place to start is our handy guide to summer programs here. We’ve found opportunities in a variety of subjects for kids ages 6-17. For instance:

  • Hollywood Extravaganza at the Macomb YMCA
    This camp is for kids ages 3-14 that love movies! For several days in June, your kids can celebrate films from Minions to Inside Out with games, crafts and activities.
  • International Soccer Camps at the Warren Community Center
    Your kids will spend a week learning various soccer methodologies and practices from around the world! They’ll even get a free soccer ball, t-shirt, poster and certificate!
  • Zookeeper camps at The Detroit Zoo
    Children in kindergarten through 8th grade will learn about the needs of animals and the complexities of animal care at zookeeper camp. They’ll also have the opportunity to interact with a zookeeper, explore all types of animals and learn about animal health, behavior, nutrition and welfare.

    pexels-photo-296302

If you’ve read through the opportunities we’ve listed and still don’t know what would be best for your child, check out Metro Parent’s helpful Choose a Camp Checklist of essentials worth considering, including:

  • Talk to your child’s teachers. What kinds of subjects interest him or her?
  • Ask your child if there’s something he or she wants to learn more about.
  • Gather information about camps from brochures, web searches, the library, camp fairs, your child’s school – even local churches hold inexpensive or free summer programs.
  • Talk to friends and neighbors about their children’s experiences at various camps.
  • Visit the camp. Many offer information nights, which are great for gauging if your child is interested (and how enthusiastic the counselors are!).
  • Ask for references from the camp and call those sources to ask about their children’s experiences.
  • See if you have friends or neighbors whose children are attending the same camp, so you could carpool. Consider if the camp is too far away for you to drive your child there every day or week.

To find more checklist essentials, click here. And for more ideas on how to spend your summer in Macomb, visit the Things To Do section of our MMYH website.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

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A buyer’s perspective: Why you should purchase plants from the Macomb tree and plant sale

It’s official. We’ve flipped the calendar from February to March and we’re now one step closer to spring! Which means it’s time to start planning for your yard and/or gardens and to consider Macomb County’s tree and plant sale. In partnership with the City of Sterling Heights, Green Macomb and the Blue Water Conservation District recently announced the return of this annual event, an opportunity for the public to purchase young trees, fruit trees, flowering shrubs, wildflower seed and other fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices. The sale kicked off with a pre-order period that will run through April 4, so today, we’d like to highlight an individual that participated in the pre-sale last year by purchasing plants for her backyard. Below you’ll find a Q and A with Maria.

Q: What interested you in the sale? Why did you decide to make a purchase rather than go to say, Lowe’s?

A: Aside from the really reasonable prices, I support the soil conservation’s mission to develop locally-driven solutions to natural resource concerns.

Q: What did you purchase from the sale?

A: Last year, I purchased asparagus, a red osier dogwood, butterfly bush and a white flowering dogwood.

Q: What was the quality of the product received? Were you happy with what you got?

A: Absolutely! Folks who are going to order need to be aware that most stock comes as bare root – it does not come planted in a pot. It is important to be prepared to plant (in the ground or in a pot temporarily) on pick-up day.

Q: Did you receive assistance from the experts on hand at the sale? If so, were they helpful? Did they give you good insight into plants/planting?

A: Yes, absolutely. And it is fun to talk to other customers on pick-up day to see what they are getting and what they plan to do with it.

Q: Was it easy to plant what you purchased? Did the plants do well over the summer?

MZ saleA: Unfortunately, one plant did not survive planting day. After lovingly placing it in the ground and giving it a nice drink of water, I walked away from the dogwood tree. Next thing I knew, my son’s German Shephard was laying on top of it! It snapped in two – no fault of anyone’s but mine. I watered the doggone spot all summer, who knows, maybe it will send up shoots this spring!

Otherwise, all did well. The butterfly bush attracted dozens of butterflies (at a time!) and it was a thrill to see the hummingbirds in my Center Line neighborhood!  I am hoping to harvest some asparagus in June!

Q: Do you think that the additional greenery in your yard had a positive effect on you/your home?

A: See above 🙂

Q: Will you make additional purchases at this year’s sale?

A: I already have!

Q: Would you recommend the sale to others? Why?

A: The prices are great, proceeds help support conservation AND it is fun to add new plants to my property and watch them grow. (Except the trumpet vine from a previous year. But that’s another story…)

The moral of this Q and A: Don’t wait! Purchase your trees, plants, shrubs, etc. today! Click here to browse for product and to place your online order. And mark your calendars for the plant pick up days – Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27.

For more information other Green Macomb initiatives, click here. And to learn about the Blue Water Conservation click here.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Posted in environment, flowers, gardening, Green Macomb, macomb county, outdoor, summer | Leave a comment

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Where to get your paczki in Macomb County

We’ve waited an entire year (and then some!) for Paczki Day – a holiday centered on a donut-like dessert and celebrated in Midwestern communities with large Polish populations. Here in Metro Detroit, we go all out for the occasion; waiting in long lines early in the morning to purchase paczki for family, friends and co-workers, then indulging in several varieties of the high-calorie snack. There’s raspberry, apple, lemon, custard, apricot, cherry, blueberry and prune. And you can get glaze or powdered sugar on top. But no matter your preference, you’ll surely be satisfied and ready for a nap by the time lunch rolls around. For Michiganders, this truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

So – who’s getting paczki next week? If you don’t already have plans to head down to Detroit or Hamtramck, we put together a quick list of where you can get your Fat Tuesday-fix right here in Macomb County. By no means is this an all-inclusive post of where to get paczki. But we do hope this can serve as a starting point for you in your quest to find a sweet treat near your home. So please, take a look and let us know what you think. Where do you find your local paczki? And what flavors are your favorite? Leave us a comment and let us know! Happy Paczki Day!

  • Tringali’s Bakery
    29100 Schoenherr Rd Warren
    (586) 777-9010
    http://www.tringalisbakery.com/
    According to Eater: “Warren’s Italian bake shop is best known for its cannoli cream filled twist on the traditional paczki, but standard-bearing flavors like raspberry, apple, lemon, and chocolate custard can be found here as well.”
    tringali-2.jpg
  • East Detroit Bakery & Deli
    17530 E 9 Mile Rd Eastpointe
    (586) 776-6450
    https://www.facebook.com/EastDetroitBakery/ and https://eastdetroitbakery.business.site/
    According to Eater: “This Eastpointe bakery is a favorite for paczki fanatics on the east side. The paczki are bigger than average and come glazed or powdered sugar-dusted with traditional fillings like apricot and cherry.”
    *Pre-orders are currently being accepted.
    East_Detroit_Bakery.0.0
  • Verace Pasta e Olio
    31347 Harper Ave., St. Clair Shores
    (586) 690-7444
    https://www.facebook.com/veracepastaeolio
    The market, located in St. Clair Shores, will offer handmade, all-natural paczki made with real fruit and real cream. Filling flavors include cannoli cream, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, lemon and custard. “Our paczki are made with imported European flour and are true paczki, not doughnuts filled with fillers,” said Verace Pasta e Olio owner Cas Chirco in an interview with C&G Newspapers. “We have real fruit jams and don’t have a funny aftertaste like most do. The dough is light and airy — you could eat a dozen and not know it.”
    verace
  • Enjoya Sweets
    17804 E. 13 Mile Rd Roseville
    (586) 204-3752
    https://www.facebook.com/EnjoyaSweets/
    Per a satisfied customer on Facebook: “This is the only bakery I place orders when in the Detroit area. I wouldn’t go anywhere else! The looks are amazing and the taste is beyond great. I have always been pleased, and to top it off their customer service is warm and inviting. I highly recommend them to everyone.”
    **Enjoya will be offering paczki in Bavarian cream, raspberry, lemon, strawberry, blueberry, apple, chocolate and whipped cream. Pre-order by 2/26 to save 15 percent.
    enjoya
  • Mount Clemens Bakery
    95 N Groesbeck Hwy Mount Clemens
    (586) 465-7985
    https://www.facebook.com/Mt-Clemens-Bakery-296875070400033/
    A positive customer review on Facebook: “Love there donuts here they are the best!! And the people that work there are great.”
    mc bakery
  • Che Chosa
    24394 Crocker Blvd. Clinton Township
    586-477-1200
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Coffee-Shop/Che-Cosa-111693522202599/
    While this Clinton Township coffee shop will not baking their own paczki, owners will be heading down to Hamtramck to pick up the real deal treats, which they will then sell from their counter. They will have custard, strawberry, raspberry, lemon, apple and prune – and they always sell out, so it is advised that customers get to Che Chosa early or reserve ahead of time.
    che chosa

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

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