By Gail K:
Highlights from my exploration of the Dow Gardens:

Est. in 1899 as the home of Herbert & Grace Dow–the 110 acre garden now sees 200,000 guests a year. The map shows the many paths & named garden areas on the estate. My opinion; the gardens are an experience with nature; allowing each person to enjoy & reflect in a unique personal way. Flowers not so much the focus, but add color & texture to the design and shape of the many pathways.

Follow me as I make my way thru the garden areas-so very much to see but I must limit for the sake of the blog. In the photo above you see how the plantings enhance the curve- leading the eye and your feet to continue on;anticipating what may be around the bend.

The Rose garden-here are a couple of roses which caught my eye.

Adjacent to the Rose Garden was a very large Children’s Garden:

A notable planting in the children’s garden was this combo of
petunias and coleus.

rior to reaching the children’s garden, my eyes were drawn to a grove of white birch trees.
Not sure of the intent, but it gave me a sense of peacefulness.

You had to be on the alert for hidden gems-below is the studio:the building had a distinct Japanese flair, which was reflective in other aspects of the garden

Another interesting aspect of the gardens was the use of various materials & shapes- this bridge & the round stone walk were mesmerizing- echoing a time long gone —

Another aspect of “personal choice” and mixed media of the
A hidden gem in the Pineside garden
The Pineside Garden provided the backdrop for their home, “THE PINES.” The large & inviting veranda style front porch, provided a shaded respite for weary guests to sit in rocking chairs & take in the vast expanse of the yard as they paused from the extensive walking required to see the gardens.

A faint breeze carried a sweet aroma, thanks to a nearby Beauty Bush
The “stream walk” area provided the most contrast–water, rock and plantings.

A favorite for me–WATERFALLS

This photo encompasses the many aspects used in the garden
and should you need to take a break-there were hidden alcoves that provided
just the right spot-to sit and contemplate
Below–A prominent clue to the Japanese influence in the gardens- this is located in the Stream Walk portion

This large, mixed planting on a hillside was in the early portion of my exploration–it speaks to the gardener in all of us.

Among the flowers I discovered another fave of mine
In closing, I hope you sensed a personal encounter with the gardens. I enjoyed my time & found a certain peace. In closing, to quote Mr. Dow: “NEVER REVEAL THE GARDEN’S WHOLE BEAUTY AT FIRST GLANCE”


Extra Value

Sometimes we get an “Extra Value” when we purchase a plant.
Gail writes:
Went to garden center yesterday for some peat moss and
did a little checking in the plant area, as most of us do and
look who I found***
and of course ya know–I had to buy the parsley and take this
guy home………do you know who his mother is??? gk

As for myself, I purchased a Hibiscus when K-mart was open and along with it came this:

If you’ve purchased a plant and got an “Extra Value” tell us about it or send me a photo.

Gail send us additional pictures:
Continuing on with the visit to DOW GARDENS in Midland, MI.
The place is big-considering, it is literally within a downtown/residential district. Having never visited before; my group opted to continue on after lunch–and explore the garden section. It just so happened our canopy tour, coincided with an exhibit in the Gardens–neat!!! For the sake of blog space & my sanity, this post will cover just this exhibit- a follow up on the gardens will come later. R-E-A-D-Y??? With a map of the gardens AND one specific to the exhibit–we jaunted off to explore—


Per the map, there are 19 named & numbered pieces. I will give the name-only if I can be certain I have it right…..

At the entry to the gardens is a sculpture; NOT part of the exhibit but

As it says-this piece is representative of the garden.

I wanted to start with it anyhow–it hints to what awaits us in the gardens.

One of the first exhibits we see. Crane Unfolding #45
As we continue to wind our way along the paths others came into view



This sculpture different; it had color-do you see the other part?? Look on the ground, right corner.








href=”https://monroecountymastergardenersassociation.files.wordpress.com/2019/07/thumbnail.jpg”> lastly–Lookin Good [/caption]
## not origami!!!
Hello Pete & Jill– Hort. Club members caught resting on a bench overlooking the Children’s Garden and the
White Bison exhibit.

OK folks, that concludes the origami portion-I did not take pics of all- but I managed to correctly ID all that I took. I found out the audio tour works off site-so if you missed the tour but would like to hear the artist’s interpretation–dial 1-989-484-9064 and use the #number I have posted with each picture……enjoy!!! gk

Dow Gardens Tour

Gail has submitted photos and remarks:
June 15, 2019: Our first scheduled tour for the 2019 summer season. Overcast skies with a threat of more
rain–did not deter the group. Armed with umbrellas & raincoats the group of Master Gardeners and Hort. Club
members headed out to Midland’s Dow Gardens. The pictures that follow will cover the docent led Whiting Forest tour.

The docent was very knowledgeable of the gardens and was hands on (Head of his dept) in developing this area of the gardens.

The group listened intently as the docent gave some history to the aspects of the newly planted apple orchard.


aerial view of newly planted apple trees

En route to–yes, we are going up there

We walked along some grand vistas

The wooded path took us to the starting point for our aerial canopy walk. The Whiting Forest is 54 acres, with a 13,600 sq. ft. playground, 4 zoned orchard, a cafe and the nation’s longest Canopy Walk-

The entry area was marked with orange posts which represent “cattails” The docent detailed the major points of
interest as we walked along the 1/4 mile path.

There was a major focus to NOT REMOVE A SINGLE TREE– only 5 trees were removed within the pathway.
This feature was created @ $18,000 to “save” this tree.

The pathway had directional arms that would take us to various features—in this portion, a huge network of nets was suspended around a grouping of trees— throwing all caution to the winds some, including me had to just
DO IT!!!

Below: The Massel’s take the walk

The woods is mainly comprised of spruce trees.

Look closely- see the structures??
It reminds me of the Ewok Village in Star War movies.

OK a closer look at the structures reveals an ONION????

With a flat path to a doorway for easy entry-the one across the way offers a much more challenging method to get
inside- despite that, a line forms for those “waiting” to get on the suspended road pathway.

Once in the structure (you know I had to go up) you had a view into the canopy– and we discovered like an animal burrow there was another chamber in the bottom section, not apparent from the pathway view

The group pauses in a clearing to check out the scenery below;

What did they see??

to play or a cool spot for lunch???? Wait we have more to

You couldn’t miss the large rocks integrated into the project; if I recall correctly, from Lake Superior.

feature showing the preservation of a tree

Lake view

Aerial view- Belgian Wall of Espalier trees

The group concludes their 1 hour “canopy” tour-

-well worth the 2 1/2 hr. drive- much more to be seen along the other pathways in the forest; refer to the map- the bright orange solid line the only portion we did–more time is needed; the majority feeling the need to replenish their energy.

would seek out the cafe to enjoy soups, breads & desserts before
exploring further or heading home….It was a good time & not a drop of rain!!! gk

Jennie sent me some photos that, Bailey Biniecki, the new receptionist at the MSUE office has taken. She has been enjoying the plants. The first one is from the entrance to the parking lot and clearly frames the dogwood behind the gas plant, Dictamnus, in full Bloom. The rest? Well, can you guess and name the plant and/or where it grows? I will list them as ABC etc. Now for those of us that work the garden areas, hold off, let those less familiar guess first…

Dictamus, Gas Plant: At entry

Plant A

Plant B

Plant C

Plant D

Plant E

Plant F

Naida subscribes to a Newsletter “Gardening in Michigan – MSU Extension News” and thought others would enjoy receiving this. https://www.canr.msu.edu/home_gardening/tip_sheets/

Smart Gardening is MSU Extension’s campaign using earth-friendly messages to help gardeners make smart choices in their own backyards. The goal is to equip gardeners with a “tool kit” of research-based knowledge to use immediately at home. Whether choosing plants, using garden chemicals, fertilizer or applying water, gardeners need to understand the long-term impacts on their communities.

In this Newsletter are FEATURED EVENTS which are MSU Extension Classes throughout Michigan. Most often these classes are quite a distance from S.E. Michigan so not reasonable for me to consider. There is also a section CURRENT NEWS STORIES with some very good information and photos. I especially enjoyed this recent article on Pollination in Vegetable Gardens and Back Yard Fruit, very easy to understand:

Another good article on Growing Lavender in Michigan:

May Meeting Recap

by Gail K.
As is our usual–For our May meeting

Bob Bransky a past member-who has been involved in a community garden project; arrives with his volkswagon loaded with a selection of vegetable and native plants. Some of his vegetables are heirloom tomato plants………….

Emoke & Jenny discuss the various tomato plants while Paul
& Joan talk over the native plant selection.

Looks like Emoke has made her decision— Tom ?? BLTs for lunch

Looks like Joan has her hands full and isn’t quite done yet and Paul still
hasn’t made his choice.

Jenny discusses with Bob on her selection.

Thanks Bob—til next year…………….gk

By Gail K. & Jennie S.
In May–Jennie invited Marissa Schuh, from MSU; An expert for the Commercial Vegetable Growers in southwest MIchigan.

Her role is to educate small growers who produce for local fresh markets and large growers who supply large quantities of produce to major grocery chains (often through the Detroit Eastern Market,) and restaurants.

Our area is notable for growing large acreage of tomatoes for Red Gold, and large amounts of cabbage for fresh use and for processing into coleslaw and sauerkraut.

She helped conduct a research project at Tollgate on soil blocking vs plastic trays for starting tomatoes, she said the data did not support the idea that soil blocks produced higher yielding plants either in greenhouse “tunnels” or outdoors. Read more here: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/impact-of-soil-blocks-on-yield-and-earliness-of-six-tomato-varieties

While it does reduce use of plastics, it requires more effort and management. A main point is the variety you choose will make more difference to the health and productivity of your tomato plants than any other factor. Heirloom varieties tend to be less predictable, and less disease resistant.
Her well-illustrated talk gave examples from Johnny’s catalog, which provides good information on disease resistance and other plant characteristics, recommending that gardeners learn which diseases are causing them problems and choose varieties with specific resistance to those.

She spoke on the Western Bean Cutworm, how it has moved into our area in very recent years and affects sweet corn. Most field corn is now produced from seed that has been genetically altered to produce the natural insecticide Bt, so there are far fewer corn borer and corn earworm moths than previously and growers of peppers and other vegetables can use less insecticide as a result of that. This newer worm is resistant to some “Bt” hybrids, thus able to multiply in field corn at present.
However, commercial sweet corn growers do not use genetically modified seed because the fresh market and major grocery chains will not accept it. They must continue to closely monitor insect development so they can spray at the right times to prevent egg-laying or to kill tiny emerging caterpillars before they burrow into the ears.

In closing, Marissa referenced a book and the MSU Enviroweather page for our area, where you can also monitor pest development, weather factors, etc. (Click on Vegetables, for example, in the bar at the top of the page.) https://enviroweather.msu.edu/weather.php?commodity=&stn=drf