It's an unfortunate trend we've been seeing in recent years. Maps and items featuring Michigan, but with no sign of the Upper Peninsula.

Countryside Greenhouse is making sure the U.P. isn't forgotten.

Maybe when the Mackinac Bridge closes to vehicle traffic for almost six hours on Labor Day it will seem like the Upper Peninsula has disappeared for a while.

Guess what? It's still going to be there. Even if some maps want you to believe the U.P. either doesn't exist or isn't a part of the United States.

Countryside Greenhouse is located in Allendale, home of the second-fastest growing community in Michigan.

Last weekend, I spent some time with my daughter (many hours) exploring the store and finding items for our garden this spring. We also spent time in their play area and ate there, too. Really, it's so big you could live there for a few days Career Opportunities-style and no one would know.

Not that I'm suggesting you try it since that type of thing actually does happen in Michigan.

One thing you're sure to get at Countryside Greenhouse, besides sore feet from so much walking, is a geography lesson (hopefully it's just a reminder) about the existence of the Upper Peninsula.

Want to buy a stone version of Michigan without the U.P.?

Too bad!

You must respect the Upper Peninsula...while simultaneously making sure that Countryside Greenhouse doesn't get stuck with a lot of stone copies of the Upper Peninsula that they can't sell.

Matt Milhouse, TSM