November 13, 2012
Corinne took this photo at Hidden Lake Gardens, a property just west of Tecumseh (map) that was donated to Michigan State University (then Michigan State College) in 1945 by Harry A. Fee, an Adrian businessman. They explain that:
He had always dreamed of owning a lake, and, upon his retirement in 1926, he purchased Hidden Lake along with 200 acres of land surrounding it. He repaired and refurbished the old farmhouse, built a greenhouse, and began farming. He soon realized that the land was not suitable to conventional farming or raising livestock and so he began to grow nursery stock. Not wanting to compete with local nurseries during the depression he planted the stock on his own land in an effort to create a “series of pictures,” a philosophy that we continue to strive for today. Mr. Fee described Hidden Lake Gardens as a “dream as you go development”…
“When the idea that I was making a series of beautiful scenic pictures available to the Public and just when I decided to dedicate the Gardens to public service I do not remember …. all subsequent work has been and should be continued with the prime object of its being for the Benefit of the Public…” Mr. Fee donated Hidden Lake Gardens to Michigan State University (then Michigan State College) in 1945 and his wish that the Gardens be for the benefit and education of the public has continued through the years. He was actively involved in decision making at the Gardens until his death in 1955.
With his generous endowment under the direction of MSU’s Horticulture Department, the Division of Campus Parks and Planning and presently Land Management, the Gardens has continued to develop with land acquisitions, construction of buildings, and the establishment of educational programs. The original 200 acres have grown to 755 acres! This includes a 120 acre arboretum that was begun in 1962 and consists of plant groups such as crabapples, lilacs, maples, evergreens, and shrubs.
Garden highlights include an extensive arboretum, a collection of dwarf trees and rare conifers, a Bonsai courtyard and a Conservatory featuring three distinct climates. They host weddings & events as well.