Archive for July, 2018

Meijer garden tour article written by Jennie and photos by Gail. Thanks to both of you for your contributions.

We were wowed by the knockout colors of the grand entrance flowerbeds as we drove into Meijer gardens. Apparently the plan is to continue the wow right up to the doors of the conservatory but that part is currently under construction.

Entrance to the gardens

Entrance to conservatory area, currently under construction

Our touring group

One of the two docent groups

Sculpture outside the entrance

the Chihuly glass scupture flower like structures

We will henceforth notice how the sculptures inside the conservatory are chosen to enhance the plants, like armadillos and a javelina in the Western Hemisphere arid room.

Arid Room

Outdoors, the plants are chosen to set off the sculptures, often enclosing even the larger works in an outdoor garden room of green tree and shrub walls with various appropriate groundcovers. Even the terrazzo floor in the conservatory is considered a sculpture with specially colored stones and mother-of-pearl fragments setting off the many imbedded bronze designs that suggest a “forest floor” under the canopy of the concrete “tree” forms that support the roof.

Outdoor sculpture

The terrazzo floor

The largest insectivorous plant collection, the largest tropical conservatory in the state, superlatives stacked up! The Victorian room illustrated the historical development of botany and gardening that flourished in that era, and we learned the importance of the Wardian Case in successfully importing exotic species by ship.

Tropical room

Tropical room

The tour can easily be reported as 2 hours of education under the category “educational display gardens”. We also use that category for our volunteer work in our own display/demo gardens and for those who volunteer at TBG and HLG. It is appropriate education for our mission to have docent-led and guided tours because we learn more plants and design ideas as well as educational aspects of such gardens.

Tropical room

Victorian Room

Victorian Room

Pitcher plants in the insect area and carnivorous plant room

The docent showed us a cut away of one of the plants. Inside you could see the insects that it was feeding upon.

A sophisticated cafeteria decorated with blown glass Dale Chihuly flowers, an interesting gift shop, a library, all on the first floor. We could easily have spent the whole day in that building, but the weather was moderate and vast gardens beckoned outside!

Chihuly glass flowers on ceiling in dinning area

The fountain area in the cafeteria outdoor dinning area

The tram was well worth taking as an overview of the outdoor display areas and helped us decide to return to the American Farm garden and the expansive new Japanese garden, before finishing up in the Children’s garden, our senses already overwhelmed even before we saw the oversized tongue, nose and ear denoting the sensory garden areas in it.

Meadow landscaping with sculpture-see conservatory in the background

Waterfall seen during tram ride draws you with the sound of running water. This is a number one spot for weddings…but there is a two year wait.

Garden along tram area

Our group heading out to explore on foot

American Farm garden

Sculpture in the American Farm garden

Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden

Children’s Garden
check out the size of the entry gate (i got thru it)


back exit-entry to vast gardens

sculpture……….another view of conservatory

This plaque says it all–
Thank you Meijer family—what a gift!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Registration will open on Monday, July 23 (the link will be posted on this page). In the meantime, learn more about the offerings at this year’s conference by visiting the various pages on the website. In order to expand our educational reach, this year’s conference will also be open to non-Extension Master Gardeners. Be sure invite your non-EMG friends and other gardening enthusiasts. Extension Master Gardeners will have a two-week head start to register before it opens to non-EMGs. We recommend registering early as tours, workshops and sessions often fill.

Registration Link
Register online by visiting: https://events.anr.msu.edu/mgcollege2018/

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Lavender Farm Tour

Gail went to the Lavender Farm and sent us photos and notes:

Last Saturday I attended Lavender Lane In Milan Michigan for their day
festival. Here are a few pics from my visit. It was a sunny, partly cloudy day with humidity rising as time went on. I arrived early around 10:30 am. only to find cars clogging the road from both directions, waiting to be
allowed onto the property from the single entry point-despite the entry fee of $5 PER HEAD. There were a number of people there.

There were both English and French Lavender:

The owners had lavender plants for sale,in addition to a limited quantity of homemade & commercially made lavender crafts (which pretty much had sold out by 12noon). Another draw were various booths on site; including food, jewelry, clothing, yard art, and
caricature drawings……..

People were not the only creatures to be enticed by the smells of lavender. Honey bees and bumble bees flitted around the field as they sought to find the best honey-spreading pollen as they did.

Bumble bee

Honey Bee

Among the flowers were artists who set up to put their talents and the scenery on canvas.

The owner said, of what he had for sale, the English lavender was the hardiest for our area and
not a favorite because it is pink vs purple in color. The French lavender is the purple one. I assumed
with the high humidity, the air would be heavy with that wonderful aroma lavender emits but as I went about
with my nose high, the air seemed to lack that aroma and found limited spots where you could smell it. Others
voiced the same findings. This was not the only debated issue for the day. I enjoyed my visit, but in all fairness, I must say a bit disappointed. My opinion, this was an example of social media being a disservice. Far too many people for the size of the operation, their millions being made on entry fees and not product (which I thought over priced). A great enterprise idea for Monroe County but for right now, this young couple may want to focus on taking product to local farmer markets……

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After the great variety of Lilies on Montage Monday, I thought it would be good to post this web page from FTD. It shows photos and explanations for the various types:

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A Monday Montage

We missed Photo Friday…but these photos are worth the wait. Thanks for sending to me Gail.

Rose Garden Arbor covered with various clematis plants

A picture of Gail’s two flowers sitting in the pollinator garden. The Zoo has made some nice changes to the area that surrounds the conservatory.

hanging Fuchsia hybrida in the pollinator garden

Connie V. sent in this great photo of monarch butterfly

Monarch caterpillar. Gail thinks this is a boy. Do you know why? I’m unsure of her secret. I understand that they look identical until they pupate. After all caterpillars do not reproduce until they transform into a butterfly.

Yellow milkweed in Gail’s yard. A favorite of the monarch

Astilbe in bloom

Pinnacle from an oak leaf hydrangea

Stargazer lily in bloom

Did you know that the lily is the second most favorite flower in the world? It’s second only to the rose.

more lilies

and even more…

A Daylily from the Samaria Daylily Farm

Daylily. Did you know that there are more than 90 species in the genus Lilium?

Flower from a Chaste bush


Swamp milkweed

It seems that Gail’s garden is in serious bloom right now…how beautiful. Here’s one of the beds. It includes hosta, ferns, astilbe and blue paradise phlox

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Photo Friday

Gail made a trip to the Toledo zoo. These were in an area that is being dedicated to pollinators.


Mexican Sunflower

So for the 4th of July we have a picture of the well known pair of rescued eagles on display

Gail wasn’t sure what the next two plants were….however, with the help of an app on my phone, I was able to identify this one: It’s a Giant Spider Lily Crinum x amabile.

Giant spider lilly

However, I can’t seem to get an identification on this.

Anyone know what I am?

The pond feature with wandering paths and planted areas outside of the conservatory. The conservatory is undergoing some renovations since the new director took over. They are changing their mission statement as well.

Gail’s granddaughter with a giant globe allium…what a pose…do you think she spends too much time with Grandma in the Garden?

Yellow Angel’s trumpet planted in read of the bed

Tamarisk tree


Conservatory and outside gardens

Just a note: If you wish to have an plant identifying app, I found two that work well. I use Picture
and Plant Snap. After opening the app you either upload a photo or take a photo and put it into the frame area then hit the check mark(picture this) or the word snap(Plant snap) and it will identify it. If it can not, you may submit your photo for it to be identified by professionals. I have submitted the one photo and will let you know what I find out.

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