Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Frederik Meijer Gardens ~~ Bucket List #4

We'd come to the realization that the "Bucket List" didn't have to be checked off in order--and eventually there'd be an expiration date.  Thus, on a sunny weekday, my husband and I played hooky to spend our wedding anniversary exploring the Meijer Garden in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Frederik and Lena Meijer
Officially known as the Frederik Meijer Garden and Sculpture Park, it's easily accessible off the Beltline Road exit from I-94.  Meijer Gardens opened on April 20, 1995 through the generosity of the family behind the Meijer grocery chain, who donated financial support, land and their world class sculpture collection for the use and benefit of the public. It's grown since that time, recently adding an expansive Japanese Garden.

The second most-popular cultural destination in Michigan, the Garden welcomes 600,000 visitors annually.  Entry fees are modest, and it's funded mainly by donations.

Mad Mom by Otterness 2001.
Open year round, Meijer Gardens has Michigan’s largest
indoor tropical conservatory; three indoor theme gardens; the  eight acre Japanese Garden, a busy Children's Garden, Farm area, a natural native plant bluff garden, spectacular sculpture gardens a library, event facilities and a lovely cafĂ©.   The entire property is fully handicap accessible and there's an adult guided tour by open-air train as well as a children's train. 

Eve by Auguste Rodin 1881
Don't miss the gargantuan bronze American Horse (based on a DaVinci drawing) in the heart of the Garden, or the Rodin in the north Sculpture garden.

Our list includes
Natural bluff area
Tomfoolery at The American Horse by Akamu 19
official public gardens as well as lesser known destinations off the beaten path like Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Dropping by off-season, -we had the place to ourselves.  A bit rugged, but the greenhouses were full of interesting plant introductions.   A few ended up in the suitcase. 

Next?  Piet Oudoulf's Hi Line garden in Manhattan, or Dow Gardens in Midland, Michigan.

Not on the Bucket List but fun:

Lafayette Greens -- Detroit Grows Upward!

Rehab Addict Detroit ~ Brush Park Edition