The Plant Professionals
16886 Turner Street
Lansing, MI 48906
Fax: (517) 327-0299
8 a.m.- 5 p.m. M-F
Also by Appointment
There are many public gardens to visit in our great state of Michigan. I love strolling through gardens and dreaming about how I can use what I see in both my customer’s landscapes and for my own home. I wanted to share a few of my personal favorites that I think are worth exploring.
Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory
Located on the 982-acre island park of Belle Isle, Detroit, the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory is the oldest continually running conservatory in the United States. Opened in 1904, the conservatory was originally constructed from wood salvaged from the St. Louis World Fair, then rebuilt in the early 1950’s with aluminum replacing the wooden framework. The conservatory is divided into five distinct sections, featuring a different type of garden. The Palm House, Tropical House, Cactus House, Sunken Fernery, and Show House. The conservatory occupies a 13-acre parcel of land is shared by formal gardens and a lily pond. I have not been here since I was little, but it is on my list to bring my kids here this summer. If you get a chance to visit the Anna Scripps Conservatory, also plan on visiting the Belle Isle Aquarium.
Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park
Located in Grand Rapids and opened in April 1995, this garden has quickly become a top cultural destination in the Midwest. The Gardens are known internationally for the quality of the art and gardens. This 158-acre main campus has attracted more than 10 million visitors since its opening. Meijer Gardens includes Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory, five indoor theme gardens, outdoor gardens, nature trails, boardwalks, sculptures, galleries, and a 1,900 seat, tiered amphitheater. The newest garden addition, opened in June 2015, is an eight-acre Japanese garden. This garden reminds me of the gardens in Kyoto, Japan. The Michigan Farm garden and the large children’s garden are great for children to explore and learn about outdoor wonders.
The Dow Gardens
Established in 1899 by Herbert H. Dow for the enjoyment of his family and friends, The Dow Gardens feature 110 acres of labeled trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals, a conservatory, art and sculpture, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s statue of the Water Nymph. Located in Midland, the many gardens to enjoy are the Pollinator Garden, Stream Walk, Herb Garden, Rose Garden, Children's Garden, Pineside Garden, and opening in 2018, the Whiting Forest. The Whiting Forest Garden will be the nation’s longest canopy walk. five stories above the forest floor and 1400’ long, visitors will have an aerial view of the pond, orchard and forest. The Dow Gardens also are nationally recognized for their Growing Gardens Program that gives families in the community the opportunity to maintain their own plot, complete with a silly scarecrow.
Shigematsu Memorial Garden
Located at Lansing Community College, this hidden garden provides a peaceful space in the busy city to sit, stroll, and learn more about the Japanese culture. This garden contains several traditional elements of the Japanese garden. The rock garden, typically found at Zen Buddhist temples, is intended to inspire contemplation. The moon-viewing deck that extends over the pond lets the visitor view the Koi and connect with nature. In the center of the strolling garden, the hill is designed to represent Mt. Hiei and Mt. Hira in the Shiga Prefecture, St. Johns, Michigan’s sister city.
MSU Horticulture Gardens
MSU is where I earned my degree in Horticulture. I spent many hours roaming the various gardens across campus for labs, or plant identification classes and I am particularly fond of these gardens. The many gardens include the 4-H Children’s Garden, Trial Garden, Judith DeLapa Perennial Garden, Clarence E. Lewis Landscape Arboretum, The VIP Garden (Vegetable and Insect Pollinators), Rose Garden and the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden.
The W. J. Beal Botanical Garden is the oldest continuously-operated university botanical garden of its kind in the U.S. It is an outdoor laboratory for the study and appreciation of plants. More than 2000 different taxa can be found in this garden, including poison ivy!
The Trial Garden grows and evaluates hundreds of new varieties each year of annuals, perennials, and vegetables. How well these plants perform in mid-Michigan growing conditions is observed, and results and recommendations are shared with the Horticulture industry and visitors.
The Clerance E.Lewis Landscape Arboretum had its beginning as the old campus nursery and as a result many remaining specimen trees continue to grow, providing learning opportunities. The seven-acre gardens include a Japanese Garden, English Gardens, Fruit Displays, a native plant prairie.
The Judith DeLapa Perennial Garden features ten island beds and five border beds that showcase a wide variety of native and hybrid perennials that perform well in Michigan’s climate and soils. I love to come here for inspiration for my landscape clients and my own home.
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