I have been going to Graye’s Greenhouse for many, many years. I go there to find the unusual, the unexpected, the houseplants I can’t live without. I also love to visit with the owners. Graye’s is known for its succulents, unusual geraniums, and truly miniature houseplants; many not easy to find.
A little history
A couple of days ago I stopped by and talked to Joe Graye about the history of the greenhouse. His grandfather Alexander Wnuk bought the land in approximately 1918 and its first use was as a truck farm, growing vegetables to take to the farmer’s markets. They went to three markets including Eastern Market in Detroit.
In 1928, the current greenhouses were built and in the mid-1930s the focus changed from vegetables to flowers. He grew cyclamen, cineraria, mums, lilies, gladiola, and other plants that he sold to florists in Detroit. Joe told me it takes 1 1/2 years to grow cyclamen from seed to sale size. Wow! In 1945 Joe’s parents Sylvia and Joe, Sr., bought the business from Sylvia’s father. Today their children Alyce, Joe Jr., and Mary Ann own the business. Mary Ann lives in Dundee and has a flower farm, selling at the Toledo markets. The love of plants really runs in the family.
70s houseplant craze
In the ’70s the houseplant craze kept them busy and today they grow unusual houseplants, veggies, and annuals.
Inside the greenhouse
When you walk in, you are greeted by a beautiful Koi pond and waterfall that is surrounded and filled with flowers and plants. Continue on, walking under the passion vine that has been growing there as long as I can remember. As you can see from the pictures, the floor is still just a dirt floor. It adds to the ambiance.
Almost a century-old
This independent garden center owned by the same family for almost 100 years is a great testament to the endurance and love of plants many families still have here in Michigan. I love this greenhouse and want to see it continue on for many years to come. If you live in SE Michigan, make sure you visit this small business in Plymouth.
Do you have a small garden center in your area you visit often? Tell me about it in the comments below.