WRITER | CANDIE CONAT
PHOTOS | NORTH STAR GARDENS
Cliff Gearhart’s love of trees and the fundamental need to provide for his family during the Great Depression prompted him to launch North Star Gardens. Originally, Gearhart started out harvesting wild trees to sell. Little did he know that he would inadvertently become a trendsetter when he started one of the first Christmas tree farms in Michigan.
Gearhart’s legacy grew, and after more than 75 years, North Star Gardens remains a family-owned Northern Michigan business. Now, at almost 1,000 acres with multiple locations, North Star Gardens has become a trusted source for home gardeners, landscaping engineers, and outdoor design professionals across the region.
No doubt, you will find the most beautiful and vibrant plants, flowers, shrubs, and trees when you visit a North Star Gardens location, but at the Indian River location, you will find more than just a garden center.
Visitors come to spend a few hours shopping for their own homes, but quickly realize the gift shop and outdoor center is perfect for finding a gift for weddings, graduations, birthdays, and more. With the North Star Café serving breakfast and lunch on their outdoor patio, it’s easy to see why so many choose to make this a day trip.
The Café serves up everything from your favorite Starbucks beverage to amazing bagels and pastries, including massive homemade cinnamon rolls and breakfast burritos. They will even provide a tasty treat for your furry friends.
North Star Gardens is an outstanding supporter of local and Made In Michigan products. You’ll find options such as the locally made Wildflower Soapworks and Gypsy Hand Sanitizer to handmade soy wax candles from Ava’s Illuminations, where each candle contains a gorgeous Petoskey Stone. Another favorite is the framed works of art from A State of Copper. These pieces highlight various rivers, lakes, and bodies of water from around the state. Other unique gift ideas include travel hammocks and clothing from Liv’n Fresh and Michigan Native. Outdoor living is covered as well, with a full line of Adirondack-style furniture and unique outdoor firepit rings.
A few years ago, North Star Gardens decided to erect 17,000 square feet of greenhouse space near their original Christmas tree farm in Wolverine. It allows them to supply fresh, locally grown plants to each of their retail locations.
Every year in February, the process of planting over 200,000 “plugs” begins. Come spring, thousands of plants will make the short trip to the retail stores when they are ready for sale. Not long after that, gardeners and landscapers will begin excitedly selecting their favorite plants to grace homes and businesses all over Northern Michigan.
North Star Gardens
4104 S. Straits Highway
Indian River MI 49749
(231) 238-4151 l NorthStarGardens.com