GTPulse: Local Plant Nursery, Gift Shop and Water Gardens Opens Just In Time For Mother’s Day

There’s a trend on social media right now where people are taking selfies in their backyards and gardens. Quarantined Gen Z’ers and millennials are dragging mirrors of all sizes outside and leaning them against fences, trees, outdoor furniture, anything that will hold the weight of their chosen mirror, all in the name of getting a cool Instagram photo. I don’t blame them. Who doesn’t want an excuse to be in a garden right now? Nick and Anna Ohler are the owners of the newly opened Bright Lane Gardens just outside of Lake Ann.

Housed in what used to be Waterscapes Unlimited, when the outdoor landscaping company left the Lake Ann location they left behind an outdoor showroom of koi ponds.

“They installed koi ponds and landscape features that were all centered around water. So, they were all over the property here. We don’t have all the ponds going because it was a ridiculous amount, but we still have four or five of them going,” Nick said.

The uniqueness of the property is what drew Anna and Nick to it. Owning a business together has been something the Ohler’s have been planning for a while now. The couple met while attending Michigan State University. The couple married and moved to Northern Michigan in 2017 and have been working on Bright Lane Gardens since August 2019. Anna has her MBA and Nick studied online marketing, but college wasn’t where the interest in owning a business started.

“I’ve definitely always had the bug in my head about starting a business,” Nick said. “We spent a couple of years looking for a good opportunity and when we saw this place it kind of gave us a place to do a lot of different things rather than choosing one thing.”

Bright Lane is part plant nursery and part gift shop all surrounded by what Nick and Anna have turned into botanical water gardens. The couple has had a longtime passion for plants.

“We’ve been doing this as a hobby for a couple of years. Hot peppers I got really into for some reason. I grew a Carolina reaper and a jalapeno and some of the other trickier ones that are hard to get started,” Anna said,

Nick and Anna have taken care to stock their store with not only plants but with items made by other locals.

“As far as inside the gift shop we definitely want to have a focus almost completely on locally made goods with an emphasis on Northern Michigan,” Nick said.

The gardens won’t be open until COVID-19 related restrictions are lifted, but the couple is excited for customers to have a place to sit and relax. The tranquil setting has already gained interest from folks interested in using the outdoor gardens for personal gatherings.

“We’ve had a lot of people reach out about weddings already,” Anna said. “We’ll probably never move into weddings to be honest but  smaller-scale things like bridal showers, baby showers, birthday parties, this could be a unique setting for things like that.”

They’re excited to be opened for their first Mother’s Day and offer old school favorites like hanging baskets as well as newer plant trends like succulents. They’re taking online orders that can be shipped or picked up until they can open.

“We have quite a bit of inventory from the gift shop; it’s just a matter of getting it onto the website. So we’re trying to translate that over to the website right now so we can still put it in front of people without putting their health at risk,” Anna said.

Put Bright Lane on your list of gardens to visit when you can and daydream about experiencing in person for now.

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Categories: GTPulse