Archive for September, 2022

Meijer Gardens

There were four of us that went to the Meijer Garden tours. It was a rather hot day, so we decided to tour the outer gardens first, then go inside. They were planting a brand-new garden when we were there in one of the courtyards along the building as you enter. It was quite interesting watching the worker planting and pulling a few weeds as maintenance. It was in full sun, and I was surprised to see some of the plants that I have in shade being planted. It’s unfortunate that none of the group got photos of this section. Guess we were too interested in the garden design.

However, Joan and I did take photos as we began the outdoor tour and later inside.

We traveled the walkway along the pond just outside of the building.

Along the path was an orange kniphofia, Yarrow, coreopsis, lupine, and others. It also seemed to be a new garden planting that wasn’t fully established to me.

We walked along a trail path into a wooded area. There were some very interesting shaped Red Bud trees along the path. I was sure I had taken photos of these; however, they aren’t on my phone.

Along the path I found this grass. It was interesting to me because a friend recently purchased this for me. It’s Standing Ovation Little Bluestem. As it grows through the seasons, the stems turn green, pink and grayish blue. You can see some of the stems starting to become pink.

We were very interested to visit the Japanese Garden. Last time we visited Meijer Gardens it had just opened. We were curious to see how it had developed over the 5 years since our last visit. I did not get to see it last visit, so I was very interested. The above photo is from the entrance to the garden.

Along the path we took, our first viewing was this duck, enjoying the large pond area. Of course, we enjoyed the beautiful scenery offered by the garden as well.

Along the pathway, there we many rocks. One of the attendants told us that many of the rocks had sayings on them. I was so busy taking in everything that I didn’t get any photos and didn’t see very many.

We made it to the gazebo, where we were happy to sit for a spell and take in some of the beautiful trees and foliage around the area.

So very serene. Even though there were chain saws in the background.

Onto the pathway to the building again. We saw the large horse statue in the distance, many beautiful plantings of coleus, lantana and rudbeckia.

This was one of the larges rudbeckias that we’ve seen. We did ask the name and they went and found it for us. However, it seems we can’t remember it. We then headed to the Children’s Garden. We rested a bit, watching the kids play in the fountain area while cooling off.

Onto the cool indoors where we had lunch and then walked to the Arboretum. This beautiful planter was at the entry.

The entrance into the succulent area. Guess this isn’t an escape from the heat.

We then went onto the tropical garden within the Arboretum.

There were plenty of orchids to take advantage of seeing.

Next we went into the carnivorous plant area.

There were several types of pitcher plants. However, this is the one I decided to photograph.

By this time, we are all ready for the trip home. Enjoyed the day.


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Paw Paw

by Jennie S.

Saturday I saw some yellow goo on the drive near my pawpaw tree and realized the fruits were dropping, ripe early!  I had cut a bouquet last spring from the demo garden trees and tied the branches in a water bottle in my single, so far unfruitful tree at home, for pollination. It worked!  My first crop, and I only got to pick one of them because the other dozen or fell off the tree. They were still tasty and I began to think the demo garden fruits were probably also falling. Kay and I went Tuesday afternoon and, sure enough, salvaged roughly half of them by picking them up and the other half by picking from the tree with long-handled fruit pickers. (Gail should have been there to take a photo of that!) Here is a photo of my pollenizer bouquet and one of the demo garden harvest on my kitchen table where I peeled, seeded and froze the very ripe ones. I plan to make ice cream from the frozen pulp and share it at the potluck again, but really the best way to enjoy them is fresh. Come visit me soon so I can give you  a few of the firmer ones, which should keep for a few more days on my counter or refrigerated. Otherwise I will have to peel and seed them, too.

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Montage of Daylilies

story & Photos by Gail K.

Glad you’re back!!!Found a friend @ Deb’s & we have a montage of
daylily photos to share with you. 

Deb took me to her family’s homestead; here her sister, tends to even more daylilies

Deb says her favorite are reds & brighter colors. Her sister on the other hand prefers the darker shades. What are your favorites?

 petals made of velvet??

Drama & Design

Light & Airy–all the same colors

Bold & Bright     Such variety with just 2 basic colors

Pastels in Punches of color

 Sunny Standouts

Flowery Flames

Bold & Bright    WOW!!!!

I hope you enjoyed a day- dedicated to all you
“daylily lovers,” 

 – the time has come to move on…………

“Happiness must be cultivated. It is like character. It is not a thing to be safely let alone for a moment, or it will run to weeds.”

                     Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

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Work & Learn Session

Pictures and story by Joan O.

Pix from work and learn yesterday, when Gail tackled the shrub in front of the Extension building…. and won!
Michele in the background, dividing dug up daisies and irises.
Jennie putting much effort into removing those perennials. Naida was there, too, helping with everything. Kay showed up, too.

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Deb’s Daylilies

Story and Photos by Gail K.

Welcome to —-Deb’s Daylily Garden!!

Awhile back our group, took a trip to see Deb’s Daylilies. My photo disc went funky and I was unable to post. It has sat on my “to do” list—until July 16, 2022.

If I remember right, I need to watch for – flowers at the roadside mailbox—YUP- there they are.

What a welcome mat, wouldn’t you say???

Morning Deb!!!! 

Above, the outer edge of her Hosta garden which sits adjacent to her driveway……….

Deb’s yard has far more than daylilies so we are going for the full tour……ready? I remember this from the last time- it was a fave then and now………

Fairy garden for the grandchildren.

More than just “the plants”- Deb has integrated art of all types into her gardens. 

Do you see the frog?………Rib-bit!!

Overhead trees- provide the perfect shady spot for a large Hosta bed. The vast display offers a wide variety of size, shape & color hues; all beautifully blended into a sea of green.

Duck Duck  ??  GOOSE!!

Leaving the Hostas, we pass the veggie garden on our way to the back yard & the daylily patch. Despite my impromptu visit– these gardens are in tip top shape….

Rounding the back of the house-WOW!
Holy color wheel!!!

Here in the filtered shade of an early morning sun- Before my very eyes, Mother Nature had spilled a #120 count box of crayons—-what an array of colors!!!!

With Deb’s permission, I tip toe in & around the multitudes snapping photos- hoping to capture the more outstanding blooms- to share with YOU.

It doesn’t take long to see just how varied these flowers are….in color, shape & design!!!!

Debbie-naming each as if they were her children…..even who the grower was or where she bought it…

What?? Pick a favorite????  Really?

I will admit, I find myself attracted to the “spider” variety esp when it is showing off in my favorite color.

BUT    OOH LA LA  look at this one!!!

Enjoy some others I was drawn to–
Bold & Sizzlin’ hot:

Cool & calm:

Pretty pastels:

Moody & Dramatic:

Showy & Delicate:

Leaving Deb’s garden, we head to her sister’s house to see even more varieties; they will be featured in

my next blog entry—


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Nadia asked me to post on Blog:

 I was at Mark Prielipp Greenhouse this am where I was able to buy a beautiful, full and very healthy PW Invincibelle Wee White hydrangea to replace one that died at the Veterans gardens in Milan.  I had made several calls trying to find a replacement and most greenhouses did not have or I was advised they had been cut back several times and were looking kind of “crispy”.  Then this morning Anna from Prielipps called me to let me know they had 3, in 3-gal pots, and looking very healthy.  I picked up one immediately – they have two more of the same variety along with several other hydrangeas.

I was so impressed with how beautiful and healthy all their plants are still looking!  Plus, they are having a great sale:  All perennials (and they have many) are $9.99 each or 3 for $24.99.  Trees and shrubs 50% off market price.  Annual 4″ pots $1 each.  Large, hardy mums $12 each (but you can buy those at the Milan Area Historical Society sale next Friday 9-9, Saturday 9-10 and Sunday 9-11 from 10am to 4pm Friday, and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4pm for $10 each).  If you are looking for a particular plant or shrub give Anna a call at 517-451-0022.to see if they have it.

Anna asks me to pass along that they really need some seasonal, part-time help this fall so if you have any interest in working a few hours a week give her a call at 517-451-0022.  Mark Prelipp Greenhouse is at 7722 Britton Hwy in Britton, MI.

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story and Photos by Gail K.

The second leg of our journey took us to the Defries Gardens in New Paris, IN.  A bit of history-

Dr. DeFries & wife donated 13 acres & a farmhouse to the Elkhart County Parks. Their endowment supports the upkeep of two distinct gardens on this site.

Let’s explore the “Calendar Garden” first. Most of us had some concept of a Bible Garden; not the case with a Calendar Garden.

Landscaper designer, Jon Cutrell is credited for creating this garden & to this day continues to oversee & care for the gardens. The main feature of a calendar garden is the design…..

“the circle”-365 feet, correlate with days in our year. Dates are marked on the bricks along with significant seasonal dates- note color of bricks—

Additionally; along the pathway are structures within the planted areas.  These serve specific purposes.

Each month is marked by a “gateway “allowing visitors to view plants within a span of time; month to month.

Markers-like above, are “Lunar.”  The orbs represent cycles of the moon and move within the

design based on the date when a “full” moon will occur. In the event of a blue moon-they use a blue orb.

 A platform gave opportunity to experience a full overall view of the garden…..Summer Solstice


I hope to fully capture the uniqueness of this garden with my photos.

Below is a crosswalk-these areas mark an equinox or a solstice and align with the axis points of north, south, east & west.  Very intriguing—-

At the end of each axis on the outside circle- sits a pavilion reflecting a specific “season”–

Below- Spring Equinox: represented by a functional greenhouse.   see the lunar post??

Crazy how this is all set up-very complex to say the least.


even the inside reflects the season of cold- quilts, fireplace

Along with days, months, seasons & moons.  There is the major component of pairing plantings within each specific time-season    ex: Winter view Evergreens, Conifers etc

Below: the group takes respite in the shade of the winter pavilion to view & discuss the plantings. This is not an ordinary or simple garden!!!  It’s like A PUZZLE.

FALL: as viewed from Spring..

Above-Outside view                Below-Inside
per brochure: represents being able to still enjoy outside but retreat inside if temps cool.
Simple yet complex mental process-just like nature itself.

Selecting the plantings- should be hardy in this zone & if at all possible native to Indiana.

Then planted in the “time” span when it will be in bloom.

hard to “show it all”, some extras photo Opps to share the not so obvious diversity in this garden.

Lenten Rose above & water feature with lily pads in bloom: below

February-March area of the garden

Above: Can you tell what this area is???

Below: the roof top of Autumn Equinox

Looks like the girls are trying to find their way over to the homestead garden

So let’s follow; it should be straight ahead thru this arbor.

The Farmhouse and the veggie garden

gardens surrounding the farmhouse- very clear that nature & plants were a major focus for the Defries.
These gardens are a living tribute to that…

Look a little house…….with a mouse
Speaking of home…..time to grab a late lunch and start the trek back to Michigan Thank you Marie for telling us about these gardens& thank you to the DeFries & Mr. Cutrell for publicly sharing.
Love gardens?? We suggest a visit to these Indiana gardens.

Heading into town to grab lunch–it was very apparent we were in quilt country……..

quilts all around……….a separate visit needed to take them all in—-

Beauty all around-would recommend this trip to anyone.

Weary, hot & hungry—giving thanks for a beautiful day spent with friends in grand gardens.  Now–did someone say Amish Home-cookin’………LET’S EAT!!!! 

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