Westcroft Gardens, the historic family farm turned nursery and botanical garden located on Grosse Ile, launches its August series of events today, August 2, 2014, continuing its weekly “Market at the Farm.” Every Saturday from morning well into the afternoon a small farmers’ market featuring in-season produce and products made in Michigan comes to Westcroft.
Westcroft’s history as a nursery specializing in shrubs like azaleas and rhododendrons dates back to 1919, when Ernest N. Stanton shifted the output of the farm from hay for the horses that pulled street cars in Detroit to flowers. Stanton was a descendant of Alexander Macomb, who was a fur trader and one of the earliest settlers on Grosse Ile. He served in France during World War I as part of the American Ambulance Field Service. Many of the cultivars he developed are still grown today.
Stanton was also an inventor who developed and patented an easy-on, easy-off apron in 1947. The apron was designed with a spring in the belt that made the apron easy to put on and easy to take off—an obvious advantage for a working gardener.
Stanton also maintained a keen interest in birds and was for many years an active member of the Michigan Audubon Society. The twenty-seven acres of Westcroft Gardens, including the six-acre botanical gardens and the thirteen acres of woodlands, make it a haven for many different species of birds and a great place for bird watchers to gather to observe them. Species that have been spotted at Westcroft include bald eagles, Cooper's hawks, great gray and great horned owls, kites, marsh hawks, ospreys, peregrine falcon, red tailed hawks, screech owls, and woodcocks.
Westcroft Gardens is located at 21803 West River Rd. in Grosse Ile. Nursery hours are Mon.-Fri. from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sun. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The botanical gardens are open from dawn to dusk daily.
August events at Westcroft Gardens:
August 2: Market at the Farm – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
August 9: Market at the Farm – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
August 16: Market at the Farm – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
August 23: Market at the Farm – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
August 30: Food Is Fun Day at Market at the Farm