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How Gardening Graces Got Its Name

Over the years, many people have asked, "Are you Grace?" I always smile. One time a man asked if there were two of us (Graces). I think the name Grace would fit me and I would certainly be a 'gardening Grace'. But no, Gardening Graces was not named after me, but it was named after grace. Indeed, of the most noble kind; God's grace.

It was back in the latter part of the 90's, early spring, my favorite season, the one of fresh starts, life and new beginnings. A thrill comes with spring. Living in Michigan with its long winters greatly increases the anticipation for warm, sunny days, blooming trees, hands in the soil and produce from the garden.  But that gray, cold, oppressive April day seemed hopeless. Almost everything in my life was falling apart including my marriage and my financial well being. With nothing but lots of bills, no income and very little savings, I knew I was going to  have to do something. Starting a business or losing it all became my only options. They always say, "Do what you know best" and gardening fit the bill.

While I have a talent for design and a fair amount of expertise in landscaping and gardening, as a stay-at-home wife and mother, I had never added the letters MBA to my degree from the University of Michigan. In short, business knowledge became something I was going to have to acquire - quick! And the first order of business was christening it; giving the business a name.

Now attaching a name to something, be it a baby or a business, is a big deal, an exciting undertaking. But sitting there that day looking out the bay window from behind my desk, my eyes filled with tears. Being excited about anything was as far from me as the sunlight hiding behind the clouds almost as though the sun itself did not  exist. And neither did hope. Or so it seemed. 

Since I have become a Christian, a person of faith as some say, I have  come to know God as a Father, like a Dad actually, and He has taught me to cry out to Him whether in sorrow or joy. Sorrow brought my cries that April day as nothing seemed certain except that everything seemed lost. But I felt His gentle prodding to push forward with the task at hand, finding the name. Creative juices coagulate when  exposed to sorrow and nothing came to my usually fertile mind. More tears fell. Yet the prodding continued.

"I have a name. Listen." And I did. I heard the name in my head and then I heard it roll off my tongue, "Gardening Graces". From that audible utterance the name settled into my heart. And I cried again. But now they were tears of joy rolling down my cheeks. The name itself carried promise and hope; the promise of my Father's guiding hand, tender care and provision. He would be with me as I started with no business acumen, no clients, no capital, no employees, not even a truck. But I did have God's promise, my talents and myself.

I could fill a book with so many people and circumstances that God has used in these years since the business began that have provided my life with grace and beauty. So many have blessed me and added to the richness of my life. Just recalling how the Lord made me able to get my first truck is a story rich with generosity and love. Every remembrance of it and the couple who helped me at that desperate time brings joy to my heart. I strongly affirm that starting and running a business, especially from nothing and by yourself, is a most challenging undertaking. But when you have God guide and provide, He uses it to bless and accomplish His plans. And He has accomplished a lot through this little business, but the greatest work He has done is truly in me.

A simple definition of grace is unmerited favor or having something of value given to you that you have not had to earn. And that is what I have received from God in my own personal life, in my salvation and in the business He named GARDENING GRACES.


"Dear Barb, Our place looks so pretty now. It's getting harder and harder to leave! Many, many thanks!!"

Joan Morris & Bill Bolcom

"Everything looks great!

Ellyne - Ann Arbor


"Hello! It was nice to see my garden perking along...nice job as always....thank you!"

L.J. Ulrich | Ypsilanti

"Thanks and thank your guys for moving the rugs."

Barbara - Livonia