Photos by Mary Pecar/ New Perspectives Photography and Old Mission Flowers
Virginia (Ginny) Coulter, the owner/gardener who graduated in Horticulture Science from Michigan State University, has lived on Old Mission fruit farms for 60+ years and has always loved flowers. Ginny was languishing in a government job and wanted to follow her passion. She talked to her husband, Lew, into tilling up a fallow field and installing an irrigation system adjacent to their home in 2013. She’s been adding more flowers ever since. Ginny’s grandchildren have given her hand as well as a few good friends, but it primarily her labor of love.
In the summer, Ginny prefers to stay on the north end of the peninsula, in her garden, or the orchard, on her bike, or in the bay. She and Lew try to travel in the shoulder seasons because winters are for cross-country skiing. She is a volunteer coach for the VASA Ski Club Middle School Program. The business has been bountiful and joyful! The neighborhood, summer folks, and tourists have embraced it. There have been customers who come weekly, mourners who have come for cemetery flowers and brides that have come for wedding flowers. One summer a couple randomly stopped by to pick a bouquet and the man proposed to his love in the garden. Photographers, artists, and children are especially welcome in the garden.
Old Mission Flowers is a seasonal, self-service, honor system garden where customers pick and price their own bouquets. The business is located fourteen miles north of Traverse City on a hillside with a view of West Bay at the corner of Ladd Rd. and Center Rd.
Old Mission Flowers is typically open from dawn to dusk from May through October. The garden at Old Mission Flowers has an approximately one-half acre of flowers featuring collections of dahlias, gladiolus, hydrangeas, lilies, peonies, roses and many other perennials. Plants have been selected to provide seasonal blooms from May through October with quality cutting flowers that have good productivity, a broad color palette, fragrance, good stem length and a variety of bloom sizes. Containers, instructions, preservative, scissors/clippers, and water are available so that customers may help themselves.
Morning is generally the best time to pick flowers and they should be placed in water immediately. The evening is also a particularly nice time to come to the garden because the lighting is beautiful and you can watch the sunset over the west bay.