Have you ever wondered what happens to our beloved Secret Garden and its wonderful staff over the winter months? My name is Andrea, and I'm here to let the secret out! The Brys Secret Garden gift shop is open from late-May to mid-November and the remaining months are packed full of preparations, creations, and hibernation!
Leading up to the winter months, our incredible landscape professionals, Miriam and Ron, are hard at work harvesting each one of our 6000+ lavender plants BY HAND! The work doesn't stop there. In late Fall, herbs are harvested, flowers are dried, outdoor furniture is moved to storage, and much more. Inside our garden shop, everything is organized and cleaned. Products are packed up and moved up to our "World Headquarters", as Walt Brys likes to call it! Actually, it is the former St. Joseph Parish Hall, which the Brys family purchased when St. Joseph moved their church to a much larger site down Center Road. The old parish hall then became the storage/production/office area for the Secret Garden. It's where all the magic happens!
Once the shop is prepped for the winter, we say goodbye to our little garden paradise until the coming May. Our lovely Secret Garden team is downsized to only four members, including myself. The four of us will spend the next 6 months dreaming up everything we can to offer in the next season. Katie, daughter of Walt and Eileen Brys, is the mastermind behind it all. She plays the role of chemist in the kitchen, concocting fragrance blends and new bath products, as well as being the fearless leader for all that goes on at our "hall". Her husband, Azmi, is our very own body product connoisseur. He fills, caps and labels every bottled item that leaves our door. This is never a small task! Finally, Hannah, and myself fill in all the gaps. Hannah, who has been with the Secret Garden since its beginnings, is our new Secret Garden Manager and soon-to-be graduate from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids. She is our artistic whiz, photographer, graphics creator and more. And as the Secret Garden's Assistant Manager, I take on all things written, technological and logistical. In addition to all of this, we work together to prep items for our amazing seamstresses, Miriam (also our master gardener!) and Denise, and package the products when they are finished. Outside of the hall, the lovely Eileen Brys spends her winters scouring the internet, thrift stores and local estate sales for all of our vintage linens, napkins, vases, and jewelry. She irons, cleans and polishes each item then finds creative new ways for us to use them. And lastly, Miriam and Denise receive everything we've prepped and spend the winter putting together and sewing hundreds of neck cozies, eye masks, vintage sachets, pillows, t-shirts, pet accessories, kids' cuddles and so much more. This can be a very daunting task, but for Miriam and Denise, it's "business as usual"!
As spring approaches and winter (finally) comes to a close, we begin to prepare the shop. Katie is our staging genius who always has new ideas that keep our little gift shop a fun and ever-changing place for our guests. Once the shop is set up, products are in place, cookies are baked and rocking chairs are back on the porch, we are ready to welcome the new season's wonderful customers.
New in 2019!
Curious to know what exciting new products we'll be introducing for the 2019 season? Here's a sneak peek!
NEW to our Online Store!
Coming Spring 2019!
Brys Secret Garden's Assistant Manager & In-House Blogger