Sanctuary Steward: Wendy Wagoner
Creekside Herbs & Art is a family owned/run business, which is located off the beaten path, set back amongst ancient white pines and a meandering creek, in the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Creekside is situated on 25 acres of white pines, balsam, spruce and cedar. The herb farm, 36’ dome (glass blowing studio), and garden shop are based on spiritual thinking from many sources, largely based on my Native American heritage. At Creekside, our goal is to promote a sense of connection and integration throughout our community.
We believe that our well-being is closely tied to that of our surroundings. Our intent is to live and do business in a way that demonstrates our priorities in a tangible way. The nature trails, sculpture garden, traditional herbal garden, medicine wheel garden and children’s area help visitors relax, play and experience new levels of connection. Some of the native plants along the trails are nodding trilliums, blue flag iris, red baneberry, marsh marigolds, many diff e rent ferns, columbines, bunchberries, joe-pye-weed, club moss, pink jewelweed, goldthread, Canada anemone and starflowers. In the sculpture garden we are restoring native habitat and have planted; blue vervain, wild bergamot, Echinacea, Canada rye, Labrador tea shrub, nannyberry shrub, elderberry, milkweed, evening primrose, false sunflower, black-eyed Susan’s, flat-topped aster, New England asters, yarrow, pearly everlasting & Indian paintbrush. In the medicinal wheel garden we have many different plants. This is a sample of the medicinal plants we planted – black cohosh, bloodroot, goldenseal, wild roses, wild garlic, trillium, butterfly weed, valerian, wild ginger, sweet grass, jack-in-the-pulpit and arnica.
The shop is filled with products made by friends, local / regional artists, small cottage industries and companies who make quality, environmentally friendly products. Our classes, workshops and festivals raise aw awareness. We also have yoga, a massage therapist, reiki, hot stone therapy, self-empowerment & art classes and the spiritual trail serve to strengthen body, mind and spirit. I have been inspired by many people but Rosemary Gladstar – one of my heroines in life, has been a great inspiration in helping me establish the Northern Wild Plant and Seed Cooperative in our region. Our mission statement for the cooperative is: “This is a grassroots cooperative organized to promote, propagate and protect native plants”. Our local conservation district & districts in the Upper Peninsula saw a need for native trees, shrubs and plants for their twice annual tree sales. At that point there was no local genotype of native plants/trees/seeds for them to buy to sell to people in our district. So we formed a cooperative to help some of our members become producers of native plants/trees/seeds in our area. This process has not been easy and finding people passionate enough about the project to move forward has been slow. I worked on becoming a botanical sanctuary last winter and want to help others to create botanical sanctuaries with native plants on their properties through my work with the NWPSC and being a director with our conservation district. So in becoming “certified” through UpS I can help others find their way in continuing this green belt across the country. I cannot think of anything I’ve been more passionate about, healing our Mother Earth and in return healing ourselves.
Anyone wanting to journey to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I invite you to visit Creekside and kayak The Les Cheneaux Islands. We have a teepee along the creek that you could stay in.