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March 13, 2013

St. Patrick’s revelers celebrate the day in new ways

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

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Cindy Roback, owner of Young’s Garden Mart and Christmas Fantasy in Warren, arranges shamrock plants in the greenhouse.

With another St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, there are plenty of people around metro Detroit getting ready for the annual day of revelry with silly outfits, tasty corned beef and, of course, lots of green beer.

But for those looking to celebrate St. Patty’s in a more unique way, there are places you can go to get your green on without setting foot in a pub.

It just wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s Day without the luck of the Irish — namely, lucky shamrocks. Many flower shops and nurseries, like Young’s Garden Mart and Christmas Fantasy in Warren, sell potted shamrock plants. The traditional charms are a seasonal favorite for some, though many people don’t even know the plants are available.

“We’ve sold shamrock plants for probably at least 30 years that I can recall. (We) don’t sell a whole lot of them, but there’s always people that come in and want their shamrocks,” said Cindy Roback, owner of Young’s.

The plants are fairly easy to care for, said Roback, and they can last from year to year when kept inside in diffused light with moderate watering. The plants are sold at Young’s in two sizes and two varieties, which yield either purple or white blooms. Shoppers can pick one up for their own home or, as Roback suggests, spread the luck around.

“They make nice gifts. If someone’s in the hospital, a lot of people will take them a shamrock this time of year and wish them luck that they’re going to get better,” she said. “They’re absolutely lucky — the luck of the Irish, or anybody else for that matter.”

But why go green just for one holiday when you can make green a way of life? In Farmington Hills, city leaders are making green a priority with a number of sustainability initiatives in the community.

Farmington Hills management assistant Nate Geinzer leads many of the city’s environmental efforts, including Sustainable Farmington Hills, to engage residents to embrace environmentally friendly practices like recycling and gardening initiatives, and water and energy conservation.

“We really do a bunch of different projects. We’ve done a lot of things over the past five to seven years,” said Geinzer. “We’ve done various public events; most focused on weatherization. Something as simple as caulking air leaks around windows or changing incandescent bulbs to florescent or even LED options,”

This St. Patty’s season, Geinzer and Sustainable Farmington Hills will go green by planning several environmental-awareness events for this spring, including a neighborhood cleanup on April 20 and an Earth Day celebration from 5-7 p.m. April 22 at the Heritage Park Nature Center. The nature center will host a variety of exhibitors, all demonstrating different ways residents and local businesses can make their community greener.

“We hope to have a select group of exhibitors, including water conservation, energy conservation, environment, native landscaping and food,” said Geinzer. “Food is really becoming more of an issue and an area of interest with not just what you eat but where what you eat comes from; whether it comes from overseas or the farm just one county over.”

In addition, residents can visit www.sustainable FH.com for more green ideas and event listing, including a native gardening class to be held April 24. The site is full of green tips, and may inspire others to start sustainability groups in their own community.

While you’re busy being good to Mother Earth, don’t forget to treat yourself a little bit, too. Each St. Patrick’s Day, Taste Love Cupcakes in downtown Royal Oak goes green with a specialty gourmet cupcake flavor for customers to enjoy, according to cupcake associate Mindi Murray.

The bake shop, which was named the winner of an episode of the show “Cupcake Wars” on the Food Network last April, is best known for its creative cupcake flavors such as sweet potato and double chocolate cream, along with a variety of vegan cakes.

For St. Patrick’s Day 2012, Taste Love created a Chocolate Irish Cream cupcake, filled with Bailey’s Irish Crème ganache and frosted with Bailey’s buttercream. This year, Murray said the shop will offer a “Green Velvet” cupcake — a play on Taste Love’s popular Red Velvet cocoa buttermilk cake with vanilla bean cream cheese icing. They’ll also have another specialty flavor on hand for the holiday, though Murray said that cupcake will be kept a secret until later.

“We just try and change things up and get people excited for all of the holidays,” said Murray. “All of the employees here really love the holidays, so we just try to plan out what we like and hope other people enjoy them, as well.”

To find out more about shamrock plants available for sale, call Young’s at (586) 573-0230. For more information on Taste Love Cupcakes, visit www.tastelovecupcakes.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki at tesshaki@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.