Volunteers, donations sought to help with March storms cleanup


EMMETT — If “the Earth laughs in flowers,” then downright guffaws are bursting from the fertile grounds at Sunny Fields botanical park.

While it’s unlikely that the late, great poet Ralph Waldo Emerson ever stepped foot in Sunny Fields, there’s no mistaking that the Earth is chuckling away as daffodils, narcissus and jonquils emerge to welcome the spring sunshine and make things a little brighter.

A riot of narcissus blooms spring to life at Sunny Fields botanical park this Spring.

In its 20th year of offering a haven for gardeners and nature lovers and encouraging horticultural and environmental education for all, the 501(c)(3) and its sole proprietor, Bill Horman, hope area residents will lend a hand or dip into their wallets to help its efforts continue.

“The windstorms of late March left considerable tree damage and therefore a lot of extra work,” Horman, an experienced horticulturist and founder of Sunny Fields says. “We’re also asking for donations, which are tax deductible.”

As the season unfolds, Horman says Sunny Fields is also looking to hire a paid part-time employee to help with day-to-day operates at the park.

“This year marks the private park’s 20th year serving the public as a teaching resource for horticultural and environmental education,” Horman says. “It’s also a great place for tranquil recreation and where balanced wildlife stewardship is practiced and demonstrated.”

Each season brings something new to enjoy at Sunny Fields, he adds.

Throughout April, visitors will enjoy more than 100 varieties of narcissi, forsythia, spirea, pachysandra, lichens, Siberian squill, violet, poplar, willow, Japanese witchhazel, birch, maple, moss, and cornelian cherry.

In May, loads of ornamental crabapples and more than 300 varieties of lilacs burst with blossoms, as well as other fruit trees, dwarf iris, bleeding heart, grape hyacinth, forget-me-not, May apple, Jack-in-the-pulpit, marsh marigold, and more hit peak bloom.

June brings bearded iris, Siberian iris, peony, bleeding heart, Michigan cactus, horse chestnut, elderberry, blackberry, sweet pea and more to behold.

Daylilies, hosta, hydrangea, yucca, butter-and-eggs, rudbeckia, centaurea, pokeweed, phlox, chicory, Queen Ann’s lace, catchfly, jewelweed, spiderwort, dogbane, St. John’s wort and more take center stage in July, followed by August’s showing of black eyed Susan, ornamental grass, yarrow, milkweed, Joe Pye weed and more.

September brings blue vitex, seven-sons-flower, soldago, Jerusalem artichoke, autumn clematis, daylilies, sedum, and sparkling dew-covered morning spider webs, says Horman.

Colorful autumn foliage is on display in October, as New England asters, fruit and seed pods, mushrooms and brightly colored fungus, as migrating birds, and foggy mornings offer their beauty to all who behold.

“The chain of life is evident at Sunny Fields. Throughout the year, it is obvious that both plants and animals complete their life cycles,” Horman says. “Plants ripen their fruit, and often wither, to be replaced by sprouting seeds or spores they created and left behind. Likewise, some animals finish their natural lifespans, leaving behind young animals to take their place. Thus, at Sunny Fields, we observe the natural balance of life in its perfection.”

Sunny Fields botanical park is now owen Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Visitors will enjoy flower gardens, trails, wildlife and more. Admission is free, donations are gratefully accepted. Tours are by appointment, and Sunny Fields is also available for special events.

To make a donation or to volunteer to help at the park, call Bill Horman at 810-387-2765. Anyone interested in applying for the paid, part-time job is also welcome to call the number above.

Sunny Fields botanical park is located at 5444 Welch Road in Emmett Twp. Visit sunnyfields.org for more information, including a history of the park’s creation.