Favorite Gardens in Michigan

Amy S. Eckert
| February 22, 2024 | 4 Minute Read
A windmill towers over a tulip field. The tulips are planted in rows of orange, purple, yellow, pink, white and red. @karfar

The snow has melted away, the sun is shining and Michigan’s gardens are bursting with color. Celebrate the season at one of these favorites.

Veldheer Gardens, Holland

Famous for their tulips—you’ll find 6 million flowers of 850 varieties in every color of the rainbow—Veldheer Gardens (above) is a highlight for visitors to Holland’s annual Tulip Time festival in May. The gardens also feature mass plantings of crocuses, hyacinths, daffodils, alliums and other flowering spring bulbs. Shoot photos of the colorful grounds, then head indoors to order bulbs for your own garden and shop for hand-carved wooden shoes and classic blue-and-white Delft porcelain, both created on site.

An abstract orange sculpture in front of a background of green trees. Alexander Liberman, Aria. © 2022 Alexander Liberman Trust. Photo courtesy of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids

Nearly 160 acres of gardens, a five-story glass conservatory and 300 sculptures combine to make the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park (above) one of West Michigan’s most popular attractions. Spring and summer are particularly beautiful, when the English perennial garden displays lilies and hydrangeas, the shade garden features delicate bleeding hearts and trout lilies, and the farm garden grows tidy rows of edible plants. Through April, you can see the gardens’ annual “Butterflies Are Blooming” exhibition, where thousands of butterflies flit around the tropical conservatory.

Closeup of yellow flowers in the sunlight. iStock

Oudolf Garden Detroit, Detroit

Set in the heart of Detroit’s Belle Isle, the 3-acre Oudolf Garden Detroit includes wildflowers and grasses suited for Michigan’s climate and designed for four seasons of beauty. Renowned Dutch landscape architect Piet Oudolf created the garden in 2021, separating plants into a Main Garden, Rain Garden, Piet’s Bird Border and the Meadows. Lobelia, black-eyed Susans, butterfly weed, wild irises, prairie smoke and salvia are among the plants chosen to provide a canvas of varied colors and textures.

Three Monarch Butterflies perch on a cluster of purple flowers. iStock

Dow Gardens, Midland

When Herbert Dow (of Dow Chemical fame) and his wife purchased land for their estate in 1899, they quickly began transforming it with ornamental trees, rippling brooks, elegantly arching footbridges and large perennial beds. The result is today’s beautiful 110-acre Dow Gardens. After strolling through a landscape of flowering fruit trees, spring bulbs, hydrangeas and roses, visit the Conservatory, designed by the Dow’s son Alden, for a spring butterfly exhibition and rotating indoor plantings.

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