I had an early start from the hotel this morning in East Lansing, MI and only had a 5 minute drive to the Horticultural Display Gardens on the campus of Michigan State University. This would be my seventh or eight visit over many years and I always enjoy seeing their trials as their ornamental horticulture program continues to be very strong. Their 4-H Children’s Garden (built in 1993) is exceptional and continues to be the “flagship” for the best of children’s gardens around the country. It was designed with input from children and has very active use and management. I also toured the trials nearby and while the annuals were newly planted, I did catch some exceptional perennials and container plantings. I spent a good 2 hours or so touring this portion of the MSU campus on a quiet Sunday morning then headed east towards Canada. Thankfully I only drive through rain and both of my garden stops were pleasant and sunny.
I passed through Port Huron and crossed the bridge ($3 to leave the USA!) to Canada. No trouble getting through customs although the customs agent hadn’t heard of Rotary Botanical Gardens which really ticked me off. 🙂 The roads in Ontario, Canada that I traveled today were in such good shape I couldn’t believe it. I don’t think I hit a pothole until Toronto. I drove another three hours to the Toronto Botanic Garden and will admit that the Sunday traffic in Toronto reminded me of Chicago and my big city driving skills were invaluable. I’m glad I made it to the garden (my first visit) as there was so much to see. The botanic garden is part of a larger park and had some great displays and colorful plantings. I then made it to Hamilton, Ontario for the evening and the adventure continues tomorrow with registration for the conference, networking and a trip to see gardens in Buffalo, NY (back to the USA for a bit!). See some highlights below!
the MSU 4-H Children’s Garden gets very active use and is packed with lots of hands on activities (above photo and three below)
cool Monet bridge
in the foreground, the bricks form he body of the butterfly with the “wings” being planted for pollinators!
above is a portion of the shady perennial trials at MSU
‘Bronze Peacock’ Rodger’s flower (Rodgersia pinnata) – perennial (best photo I’ve taken of this one)
in the shade, this combination was a bright beacon with ‘All Gold’ golden Hakone grass (Hakonechloa macra) and ‘Citronelle’ coral bells (Heuchera villosa) – both perennials
Michigan State University Horticultural Display Gardens (weeping Alaskan cedars in the back)
propeller plant (Crassula falcata) – not hardy
nice hosta collection (above)
very interesting….the Toronto Botanical Garden was “free” but two of these donation machines were front and center (no cash? no problem!…charge your donation!)
Star of Persia (Allium christophii) intermingling with perennial salvia (Salvia sp.)
beautiful flowing borders with lots of lavender, blue and clear white! yummy!
‘Bush’s Lace’ Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii) – woody tree
the beautiful area above was blocked off for wedding photos (I hopped the barricades…rebel)
‘Delta Dawn’ coral bells (Heuchera) – perennial
neat slope plantings abounded at the Toronto Botanical Garden (above)
Black Lace® elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’) – woody shrub