Fall is the best time to plant anything, according to James and Jessica Upton, owners of Margo’s Garden Center, 6585 N. Telegraph Road.
Planting perennials, shrubs or trees now only allows time for the plants to root, avoid drought and summer heat, but leads to better growing success next spring.
The husband-and-wife team purchased the property for their business in 2019. The land was fully wooded, and several trees needed to be cleared to make room for the extensive garden center.
Several mature trees kept for shading and walking paths were included in the center’s design. The following year, Margo’s Garden Center, named after James’ grandmother, Margaret Mickelson, opened on Mother’s Day.
“James would always go to her home and help her in her extensive garden where Margaret named her garden, ‘Margo’s Gardens,’” Jessica said. “James then found his love of plants and Margo’s Garden Center was born in 2020. James has owned and operated a landscaping business, Midwest Landscaping, Inc., since 2003 and over time has acquired federal government contracts that needed large amounts of plant material. Since we needed a bigger area to service our contracts, we decided it would be beneficial to open a garden center since we were knowledgeable in the material itself and could serve the community as well. The knowledge we know and use to this day is all by experience.”
Sprawled on more than six acres, Margo’s stocks and sells shrubs, trees, perennials, annuals, gardening tools, fertilizers, bulk topsoil, and mulch. In the spring, they also sell tropical and house plants.
For anyone who doesn’t have a green thumb, Jessica suggests starting with flowers and plants that are easy to care for like daylilies, sedum, hostas, shade-loving plants, geraniums, and grasses.
Like most garden centers, Margo’s busiest time of year is in the spring from late April through the first two weeks in June. Popular choices with customers include lilacs, hydrangeas, coneflowers, bee balm, and astilbe. In the fall, daisies, hibiscus, sedum aster and mums top the list.
“We specialize in the plants we sell by knowing the requirements each plant needs for proper growth. We grow and purchase from reputable wholesale nurseries,” Jessica said. “Our garden center is located in the natural woods and is a beautiful walk through while showing plants, trees, and perennials in their normal environment. We can design a landscape for you, by appointment only.”
Open seven days a week and staffed with three full-time and seven part-time employees, Margo’s has not been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On the contrary, I believe it has helped business especially when we first opened, not a lot of people were able to do things as they normally would be due to the pandemic,” she said. “But garden centers were still allowed to be open, and it gave customers a chance to leave their home finally and work outside in the beautiful Michigan weather.”
As the garden center expands, the Upton’s plan is to offer more variety. They estimate 50 percent of their business stems from repeat customers.
“My husband and I work very hard for what we have,” Jessica added. “We take pride in our landscaping and garden center and want everyone’s yard to feel like an oasis and an escape from the real world.”
As cooler weather approaches, the Upton’s are preparing to close for the year. Their last day of business for the season will be October 31 with plans to reopen March 15, 2022.
Margo’s Garden Center
Location: 6585 N. Telegraph Rd.
Owners: James and Jessica Upton of Monroe
Years in business: 2
Services: Shrubs, trees, perennials, annuals, seasonal vegetable and fruit plants, gardening tools, fertilizers, bulk topsoil, and mulch. Landscape design by appointment.
Hours: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.