August Tour: My Garden

Photo & story by GK and a few from me.
The last tour of the summer highlights to enjoy:
Our blog editor Linda: extended an invitation to visit her garden

We have been to Linda’s garden before. An interior designer; her garden – a self reflection, never disappoints.
The front yard contains two paver resting areas surrounded by beds.

West Arbor patio area

the group in the front yard patio entry

Re-doing the front entry gardens, has been her most recent project- below, members study the succulent wall pocket placed to greet front door guests.

A closer look of the vertical succulent garden

Since the pavers take up most of the area, plantings are in various types of containers. At the entry I decided to feature a succulent garden. Here are a few of the containers and succulents.

sitting on the table is a container of various succulents

An old floor lamp converted into a container so the string of pearls could be featured

Another plant that got a lot of attention- a hydrangea. The plant produces striking color variations and per Linda,
she does not amend her soil for PH—-

This hydrangea is planted into a pot as well. It continues to produce new blooms that start off lavender, turn to the blues/lavender and then to the pink/sage color

For those of you that were interested in this variety it is an Endless Summer brand called BloomStruck (Hydrangea macrophylla).
Along with the succulents you will find 7 varieties of tree peonies as well as a few herbaceous ones. This time of year you see most green foliage. However, in Spring the blooms add much color. Here are a few of my spring photos:

This was increased in size to see into the bud where the saw flies are getting their share of pollen.

Here we discussed a bit of powdery mildew caused by lack of circulation in that spot. The mildew was concentrated by the herbaceous peony growing from the root of the tree peony

There were a few interesting plants discussed as well including the Helleborus from front yard that was a double, It’s called Helleborus Wedding Party – Flower Girl. There is a full series of Wedding Party, I have 3 in the series, but the other’s were just planted this year and won’t get blooms until this spring.

I had cut one for a spring flower arrangement.

Leaving the front; we walk around to the side yard on route to the back gardens.

Hiding in the flower bed–“a gardening angel”

On the west side of the house was an over grown area with globe arborvitae. There were 5 of these “monsters” and I made it a goal to rip the out and replace with colorful coneflowers.
Nested into the group is a delightful clematis. One of Gail’s faves from her past tours…she has a request in for a clipping. It’s name: Clematis heracleifolia, Mrs. Robert Bryden.

Linda loves using coleus to bring out matching blasts of color.
Below: Jenny shows how to propagate a coleus
What handsome owl. I enjoy matching many of my flowers to these artwork pieces in my garden. Notice the coleus next to the owl. It’s an unusual one that caught many of the gardeners eyes. I looked up my tag to include it’s name. The company that trademarks it is Dummen Orange. The trademark is Stained Glassworks and it’s name is Tilt A Whirl Coleus.

Here are more examples of Linda’s talent for bringing plants & yard art together with color
A major plant feature in Linda’s garden is a Japanese Maple
(I think I need to get one of these.)
Another feature the potting shed.

The side view

the inside from front to back

on the outside- back wall of shed, one of those wall pockets that Linda is noted for.
Below, A view of the garden from the rear of the shed.
Discussion-this plant: a HYSSOP or not ??

Grabbing a bottle of cold water before we dart off to our next stop.
Let’s take a quick peak back at her garden:
Linda, thank you, for being such a gracious host & for
sharing your garden with us!!………..

As we leave the Wildwood Metro Park: Manor House & Ellen Biddle Shipman’s Garden; on route to the Toledo Botanical Gardens-I want to share some parting words- a quote from Ms. Shipman:
“The Garden is a portrait of the person & it should express her likes & dislikes” The short, air-conditioned ride freshened us up for TBG,

Stella was able to describe the many changes taking place in recent years, s the botanical gardens have become part of the city park system.

( in artist’s village)

She showed us where the sensory garden will be built, and various collections and projects,…


(rose garden)

(an unusual rose)

(blues & sculptures)

like the hedge of white rugosa roses on the way to the color garden where she usually volunteers, when she is not helping with the plant records.

She had high praise for the hard work of the three horticulturists, improving the garden experiences in spite of frequent staff turnovers. It was fun to hear background on many of the plants,

like the Katsura trees near her area giving off a strong cotton candy aroma as their leaves turn in fall,
and the internal staff debate over the fate of the barberry bushes in the red garden
Both places are worth visiting at many times of the year and our two hours with guides will help us appreciate them more, remember more plants, and share info with others we take there.
As our tour came to an end most everyone opted to head home, weary from all the walking; some us continued to flit around since we were already here:

Here are some other highlights:

The Pond


Herb Garden

Leucothoe fontanesiana

a large sculpture–resembles the Metro Park logo:
existed before TBG joined the Metro Parks.
Done for today, to return on another; let’s extend a

THANK YOU-to Stella our very own MG who served as docent for this portion of our day. Both tours today were great!!!
We are lucky to have such diversity within our membership- and fortunate to neighbor with such valuable resources!!!!

Wildwood Preserve

Written by Jenny S.
photos Gail K.

Apprehensive about the weather report, we arrived at the Wildwood metropark
in coolest clothing and took care to stand in shade, but fortunately it was overcastwith a breeze in the morning and quite tolerable!

Although the former Stranahan manor house was closed in preparation for a wedding scheduled that day, our docents were also involved with the historic mansion and got permission for us to enter after all,
only going to the upstairs living area.

From there we had excellent views of the garden Shipman designed particularly
to be seen and enjoyed from that perspective (and it was cool inside!)

The acclaimed designer stayed in the house while planning the garden for the Stranahans and used the architecture of the house for inspiration.
(the dark arc at the far end of the above picture is this feature in the garden)
We learned some history of the house, heavily vandalized while abandoned before a massive community effort succeeded in the city purchasing the site for a park It is beautifully restored and an ambitious restoration of the original garden is underway.
Our hosts made the point that while Shipman’s garden frameworks were simple and elegant, the actual plantings were quite involved and difficult to maintain, so that few of her designs continued for many years after planting; very few in existence today. (A good lesson for us in planning public gardens.)

Some massive purple beeches are original and now provide more
shade than the rose garden should have, but it was quite lovely with
antique varieties and standards, enclosed in low box hedges.

Anemones and lilies were also enclosed in boxwood, with viburnum standards.
Rhododendrons and azaleas put on a show in spring, no doubt with bulbs, etc. but were simply a nice, healthy green in July. We missed the lilac and wisteria blossoms, too, and saw only the ragged end of the climbing hydrangea bloom.
There are a lot of interesting garden areas around the building that are not part of the personal and formal Shipman design, like a moss garden, hosta collections and both pollinator and wildflower patches with lots of good trails through the woods.
We liked seeing where Michele works to maintain small areas around large cottonwoods,

where bush honeysuckle (Diervilla) is growing and blooming well.

Someone else was in the gardens with us

Thank you Michele B for arranging this tour—to our docents who were very knowledgeable and to Jenny for the script. Upon leaving Wildwood, we went on to the Toledo Botanical Gardens-where our very own Stella K. served as our docent. That portion of our tour will be next but a separate blog posting.
Thank you gk

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