Take a Walk Through the Gardens of West Michigan

Whether looking to inspire your own green thumb, searching for a bouquet to brighten your table, or enjoying a brightly colored walk, these West Michigan garden destinations are sure to brighten your day!

Traverse City is famous for its cherry blossoms, but visitors will also find a wonderland of flowers and smaller gardens in the area, such as 25 acres of native Michigan plants near the Village at Grand Traverse Commons open for year-round garden visits. 

The Secret Garden at Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery on Old Mission Peninsula near Traverse City is a must-visit once Memorial Day rolls around. Guests can enjoy over 6,000 lavender plants, along with a flower garden, and a strawberry patch, and more.

Located on 80 beautiful acres in Petoskey, Maple Moon Sugarbush and Winery offers a little slice of heaven for its visitors. Family owned, the maple trees and facility are open for tours and the Petersen’s are delightful and welcoming. They have numerous grades of syrup, all made on the premises, as well as jam, salsa, home-made maple granola and other specialties. Their latest addition is nothing shy of amazing.  They have become America’s First and ONLY maple winery, with ten vintages available as well as a maple ginger hard cider. It doesn’t get any better than this. It is a family labor of love. Relax in the wine tasting room, tour the facility and sample delectable treats such as maple syrup, maple candy, maple ice cream, maple root beer and maple wine.  With approximately 4,500 taps on 28 acres, Maple Moon brings in over 80,000 gallons of sap in March and April to produce a yield of approximately 1,700 gallons of syrup. 

Join Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville this summer in exploring their bold and romantic gardens designed by award-winning architects James Van Sweden, Mark Johnson and Sandy Clinton. Take a tour with our master gardeners as they lead you through water gardens and babbling brooks winding through the Cottages at Water’s Edge, to the ever-changing beauty of hundreds of perennials, thousands of annuals and shrub varieties in the resort village.

Walk through a field of brilliant colorful blooms during Zinnia Mania, weekends the end of August, at Lewis Adventure Farm & Zoo in New Era. U-pick bouquets and vases are available for purchase, and the petting zoo and farm activities are included with admission. 

You will find an orchard of fruits and a delightful garden patch of vegetables all spring and summer long at Lewis Farm Market. In addition to what is grown on the farm, the Lewis family stocks its market with locally grown produce from neighbors. You can choose from produce that has been grown on a farm in the USA, picked at the peak of ripeness! The farm market also boasts a bakery, as well as sauces, pie fillings, honey, maple syrups, and more. 

Take a walk through Monet Garden, located at the corner of Clay Avenue and Fifth Street in downtown Muskegon. This pocket park is a small replica of the famous Monet Garden of Giverny, France, filled with bulbs, annuals, perennials, water flowers, shrubs, and trees that creates an oasis in the city.

For nearly a century, tulips have attracted millions of guests from all over the world to Holland. This charming corner of West Michigan boasts over 5 million blooms every spring. In honor of Tulip Time Festival, the City of Holland plants over 200,000 bulbs throughout public parks and downtown. Stunning tulip displays can be enjoyed at Window on the Waterfront, Windmill Island Gardens, Centennial Park, along 8th Street, and the Tulip Lanes. Stroll the 36 acres of the beautifully manicured grounds, and tour the 260-year-old DeZwaan Windmill, the only authentic Dutch windmill operating in the United States at Windmill Island Gardens, one Holland’s must see attractions. While in Holland, be sure to stop at Centennial Park to see 6,000 annual plants create a 10’ X 12’ “open book” cover of the classic novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The iconic Yellow Brick Road will lead you across the street to Herrick District Library where it winds through landscaped areas of colorful annuals and perennials. Life-sized bronze sculptures of Dorothy and Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, a Fighting Tree and Flying Monkey, a Munchkin, and the Wicked Witch are placed along the Yellow Brick Road, inviting those of all ages to interact with them.

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.

Michigan’s hundreds of wildflowers signal that spring is on its way. Yet with all the excitement of early spring wildflowers, late bloomers are sometimes forgotten. Here are just a few favorites you can find around the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings.

  • Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum) emerge like closed, bright green umbrellas before unfurling wide, flat leaves in early spring. The nodding white flowers do not bloom until late May and can only be found if you peek under the plant’s broad leaves.
  • The pink to purple petals of wild geraniums (Geranium maculatum) grow in shady forested areas. Recognized by their deeply cut, palmately-lobed leaves wild geraniums’ saucer-shaped, five-petaled flowers are lined with nectar guides to attract native bee species.
  • Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) is not a typical wildflower. Shades of green, white, and purple color their unique flowering structure consisting of a modified leaf, the “pulpit”, and cluster of small flowers, “Jack.”
  • Spring beauty (Claytonia virginica) carpets beech-maple and oak forests with its clusters of star-like, five-petaled white to pink flowers and narrow, grass-like leaves. However, its beauty is fleeting; it completely dies back within a month after flowering.
  • A gracefully arched, single stem with alternating leaves three to six inches long could identify two different Michigan wildflowers: Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum) and false Solomon’s seal. Only the spring blossom distinguishes these two plants: tubular white flowers dangle in pairs and hide below the stem and leaves of Solomon’s seal whereas a single plume of white flowers radiates from the end of false Solomon’s seal’s stem.
  • The bell-shaped red and yellow flowers of wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), with its distinctive backward-pointing nectar tubes, resemble an eagle’s talon and give this wildflower its Latin name Aquilegia. The tubes contain nectar that is inaccessible to all but the longest-tongued nectar hunters such as hummingbirds.
  • Reaching no more than eight inches tall, dwarf ginseng (Panax trifolius) is a smaller and less conspicuous cousin of American ginseng. Nevertheless, its tiny, ball-like clusters of delicate white flowers can last about three weeks.
  • Prairie smoke (Geum triflorum) is one of the most dramatic late spring wildflowers. Its nodding, globular, reddish-pink to purplish wildflowers give rise to seed heads that form upright clusters of wispy pink plumes that have provoked a myriad of common names such as torch flower, lion’s beard, old man’s whiskers, and, according to a visiting third grader to the Institute, troll’s head.

Learn more about the Institute’s wildflowers during one of their many programs or trail hikes.

Take a stroll through one of the Greater Lansing area’s gardens, including the oldest continuously operated botanical gardens in the United States! (W.J. Beal Botanical Garden)

Join the South Haven Garden Club in their annual Garden Walk Tour on Saturday, July 11th for a look at the home gardens of South Haven starting at the Libery Hyde Bailey Museum.

Leila Arboretum in Battle Creek has something to offer in every season, from concerts in the summer to sledding in the winter. For horticulture enthusiasts, or people who love to look at beautiful things, Fragrant Hill has a variety of flowering trees, including cherry and magnolia. It’s a good spot for “hanami,” or spring flower viewing. In the summer, the Miss Iva Doty Native Flower Garden is a peaceful respite, where you’re surrounded by Michigan plants and flowers. There’s also the Kaleidoscope Garden, which teaches about growing food and has an extensive daylily collection. The arboretum also has a sculpture garden, called Fantasy Forest. 

Enjoy a walk through the lush gardens of W.K. Kellogg Manor House in Hickory Corners. The estate grounds are open for self-guided walking tours from dawn to dusk. You are welcome to pick up a historical walking tour guide from the brochure rack on the office doors at the Manor House.

Whether you are a novice or a master gardener, individuals and groups are invited to become GardenKeepers at Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek. Gardeners are responsible for providing their own plant materials, caring for their plants, watering, fertilizing, and should expect to spend an average of 2 hours per week caring for their garden. Binder Park Zoo’s GardenKeeper program aims to create beautiful garden spaces that everyone will enjoy at the zoo. It’s a fun and satisfying experience for volunteers all ages, and a way to encourage everyone to Connect. Inspire. Conserve.

You’ll find botanical gardens, nature preserves, parks, trails, and more when you visit Harbor Country in South West Michigan. Many of the area gardens offer programs and special events throughout the year to celebrate all the Michigan seasons have to offer.