West Michigan is a gardener’s paradise. As the seasons change, the flowers begin to bloom and the trees spring back to life, creating a beautiful mix of colors and scents. You don’t need to be a garden expert to see and appreciate the beauty in our state. West Michigan’s garden landscapes await you when you visit these lush areas below.
Gardens in Southern West Michigan
Visit a variety of gardens all over the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station in Hickory Corners this spring. The W.K. Kellogg Manor House and Estate boast a pool garden, shade garden, and other manicured gardens overlooking Gull Lake. At the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, guests can observe the Native Pollinator Garden, brimming with native species in a variety of habitats, and a “bee condo” where guests can learn about pollinators.
The Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings has a variety of events, giving attendees an in-depth look at the institute’s garden or helping you plant your own. The secret behind healthy and productive plants can be found at the Creating Healthy Soil and Plants workshop on Saturday, April 21st. Come back on Saturday, May 5th, for the Spring Wildflower Hike, as you discover the rich and unique diversity of wildflowers found in the institute’s Little Grand Canyon. Grandparents and grandkids are invited to the GRAND Time: Seed Planting Party on Saturday, May 12th, where these two generations will come home with a potted plant that they create with provided materials. For any homeowner looking to use their own garden for food, the Gardening Strategies & Small-Scale Permaculture for the Homeowner workshop is the place to be on Saturday, May 19th. Using the principles of sustainable agriculture, landscape design, and ecology, participants will learn strategies for making the most of small areas and producing more than enough food to feed their families and friends. The spring season rounds out with another venture through the institute, with the BioBlitz Hike: Late Spring Wildflowers on Thursday, May 24th. There’s a workshop or event for everybody in the family, so grab your gardening gear and visit the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute!
The Leila Arboretum & Children’s Garden in Battle Creek is a one-acre garden, sporting an ever-changing environment where children can explore the world of plants. Using all the senses, children will have the opportunity to investigate plants, vegetables, flowers, and much more!
Have you always dreamed of having a beautiful garden wedding or an intimate little chapel ceremony? Then Apple Blossom Chapel and Gardens in Fennville is your perfect solution! Their little white chapel is located in a garden overlooking a pond, multiple flower beds, lush grass, and a patio where a reception tent offers a premier location for a garden reception or celebration.
Help plant an orchard at Virtue Cider in Fennville! In honor of Arbor Day, Virtue Cider is seeking volunteers to help plant new apple trees in their wild orchard on Saturday, April 28th, and the day will conclude with a toast of their new rosé cider. This event coincides with a simultaneous urban orchard planting in Chicago. This year, Virtue Cider is also home to a community wildflower garden to help attract area bees that help pollinate the region’s trees. For $3, you can purchase a plantable seed card and add it to their community wildflower garden! Come back during the summer and watch your garden grow.
The Marshall area hosts a garden extravaganza every July. The two-day show features a garden tour, market, and quilt show. Three different venues add up to an enjoyable weekend exploring five private gardens, unique collectibles, beautiful art and plantings for your own garden and gorgeous quilts designed and made by area artists.
River Country is home to a 30-acre, naturally grown lavender farm. You can visit the farm to pick up lavender essential oils, sprays, lotions, saps, and more. Stop by to check out the farm and pick up all your lavender needs!
Southwest Michigan brings people, plants, and nature together with their gardens, farms, and nature preserves. Here, you’ll find hundreds of acres of scenic spots with tall trees, tranquil ponds, abundant springs, and carpets of wildflowers. Find a trail to see a remarkable variety of plants and wildlife.
Gardens in Central West Michigan
Located in downtown Muskegon you’ll find a garden inspired by the famous Monet Garden of Giverny, France. Filled with bulbs, annuals, perennials, water flowers, shrubs, and trees, this small replica garden creates an oasis in the city.
Many people think of Windmill Island Gardens in conjunction with Holland’s Tulip Time in May. This makes sense, as the gardens plant over 120,000 tulips in three large fields and over 40 smaller beds. However, less known is the fact that Windmill Island Gardens actually pull all of the smaller beds and replace the tulips with annuals for the rest of the summer and fall, with 42 annual beds planted with over 80 varieties of annuals that bloom during this time. They also focus on a theme each year, which includes the garden areas. This year, the theme is ‘For the Birds’. They’ll have nearly 20 beds dedicated to this theme, which will have informational signage about birds and flowers, along with a number of events celebrating birds all season long. Guests are also welcome to join the ‘Art on the Island’ contest by capturing the beauty of the gardens in any art format. This is a season-long contest culminates in an art gala on Thursday, September 6th.
Springtime photo ops are right around the corner at Nelis’ Dutch Village in Holland! Come see the early-blooming tulips among the 25,000 bulbs that they’ve planted. Nelis’ Dutch Village’s Park Preview Opening Weekend is April 21st and 22nd, and they are open daily starting Saturday, April 28th. This year, Nelis’ Dutch Village celebrate their 60th season of entertaining visitors, and there are many more happy family memories to come!
One of the world’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids serves over 700,000 visitors annually. Meijer Gardens was recently ranked in the top 100 most-visited art museums worldwide by Art Newspaper, the leading publication in global art news.
Gardens in Northern West Michigan
The mission of the Charlevoix Garden Club is to beautify the home and community, to cultivate a love and knowledge of trees, plants, and flowers, and to foster friendship among its members. Their Annual Plant Sale is Saturday, May 26th. Here, plants are dug, potted, and prepared for sale by members. The Charlevoix Area Garden Club’s 2018 Garden Walk will be held on Wednesday, July 11th. It will feature five amazing gardens with the theme of “Beauty and Balance.” An additional Garden Walk attraction is the Biennial Flower Show: The Wonder of Water on exhibit in the Charlevoix Public Library’s Community Room
The Michigan gardens at Castle Farms in Charlevoix are stunning works of natural beauty, matching any of their counterparts found throughout Europe. Whenever possible, native plants have been used, as they’re less labor intensive and more suited to the environment. The gardens of Castle Farms blend old-world models with a 21st-century approach to sustainable gardening.
Several resorts and lodges on Mackinac Island are known for their exquisite gardens and sloping lawns, and many of them host garden tours. The entire island is a treat for the eyes all season long, but the century-old lilac trees, swooping cedars, and sturdy maples really make it worth taking a tour to see the foliage and well-maintained gardens.
For more than a century, the legendary Grand Hotel gardens have provided a beautiful enhancement to the guest experience. Century-old lilacs, white cedar, and maple trees provide dramatic structure, while perennials and annuals by the tens of thousands contribute bursts of color throughout Grand Hotel’s season, thanks to the ideal climate of a Mackinac Island summer. Guests can see over 150 varieties of flowers during a single visit, including geraniums, roses, peonies, coleus, garden heliotropes, cosmos, lilies, daisies, and begonias.
The Island House Hotel on Mackinac Island is a great place to spend time outside surrounded by the area’s natural foliage. Whether relaxing on the porch or enjoying drinks with friends in the garden, the iconic Island House Hotel delivers the complete Island experience. For a casual atmosphere, visit the Ice House BBQ, a local favorite as this hidden gem is nestled behind the hotel where you can lunch or a cocktail on the garden patio.
Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island is located on 18 acres of sprawling lakefront gardens. Their gardens offer everything from tranquil, private areas perfect for disconnecting and recharging, to the Great Lawn, where you can reconnect with family and friends. Maintained day-to-day, Mission Point’s gardens are the perfect way to experience the beauty of Mackinac Island.
Traverse City is famous for their annual cherry blossom explosion. But the city and its neighbors are also a wonderland of smaller gardens. Wander in any direction and you’ll discover these sanctuaries that are being maintained by their loyal gardeners. In fact, for the past 35 years, the local Friendly Garden Club has been leading an annual “garden walk” each July to highlight some of the prettiest private gardens. If you didn’t have it already, you’re sure to get the gardening bug next time you stop by Traverse City.