Lilacs on Mackinac Island

Lilacs on Mackinac Island, photo by Steven Blair

While lilacs are starting to wind down around the state, they’re just getting going on Mackinac Island. The annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival started last weekend and continues through Sunday, June 15th. Here’s a few tips courtesy the Lilac Festival and Jeff Young, Lilac Curator at the University of Vermont Horticultural Research Center, Master Gardener and presenter of the “Walk and Talk with Lilacs” program during the Lilac Festival.

  • Common Lilacs need to have 9-12 canes for each 6 feet
  • Leave at least 2 feet between mature Lilacs.
  • Plant new shrubs 16 feet apart (circular shape)
  • Allow for a few more canes if you are planting as a hedge with less depth.
  • If you have too many canes, consider the oldest canes for removal first, leaving good spacing between canes.
  • If not enough canes, pick one or two of the best suckers each year until there are enough.
  • Once the Lilac is established, consider adding one new cane and removing the oldest cane each year to create a vigorous, healthy full flowering plant.

More at the Lilac Festival website.

View Steven’s photo background bigilicious on Facebook and see more at the Artistic Mackinac Gallery & Studio.

More lilacs and more summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Spring Showers on Spring Flowers

Spring Showers on Spring Flowers, photo by David Marvin

View David’s photo background big and see more rainy, tulipy, irisy goodness in his slideshow.

More Spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.


Untitled, photo by Donald Anson

By “Good Old Days” I mean April 2011.

View Donald’s photo background big and see more in his awesome Flowers slideshow.

For the flower-deprived, there’s lots more flowers and more spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures too!


FARMERS MARKET Nov 2012-963, photo by RichardDemingPhotography

The story of Thanksgiving is one of our country’s oldest and best stories. At the heart of it is the sharing of the rich and diverse bounty of the land.

Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state, and here’s hoping that some of Michigan’s varied fruits, vegetables, meat and other local and tasty foods will make it to your table today and throughout the holiday season.

See this bigger and in Richard’s massive Farmer’s Markets 2012 slideshow.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

More Thanksgiving on Michigan in Pictures.


Detail, photo by

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.

Check this out background big and see more in Corinne’s Hidden Lake Gardens slideshow and more of her photography on her Facebook page.

Macro Crocus

Macro Crocus, photo by MightyBoyBrian.

Brian shot this on yesterday’s toasty-warm and not very March-like Sunday and writes:

Go ahead, set your background. I declare that it’s spring. The flowers think so and I do too.

I was slithering around on the ground with my new macro lens (EF format vs EF-S with canon full-frame) to get up in close with this patch of crocuses.

Here’s a tip: instead of a typical green or brown backgound, position yourself so that other flowers are in the background of the scene giving their color to the awesomeness.

Good advice, Brian, and with highs predicted for Wednesday in the SEVENTIES around Michigan, you might need to find us a strawberry so we can go directly to summer…

Check his photo out background big or settle back for his bokeh slideshow.


Wingspan, photo by TerryJohnston.

…at Meijer Gardens to be precise, where Butterflies Are Blooming is:

…Meijer Gardens’ most popular annual exhibition and the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibit in the nation. March 1–April 30, visitors can escape the Michigan winter and mingle with more than 6,000 tropical butterflies flying free in the 15,000-square-foot Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory.

The exhibition boasts more than 40 different species from the Far East, Africa and Central America. Each week hundreds of chrysalises arrive at Meijer Gardens and are painstakingly sorted, inspected, labeled and pinned in our sealed Butterfly Bungalow. The chrysalises are then placed in a special emergence area of the Bungalow where visitors can witness through a window their magical transformation into butterflies!

Once ready to be released into the conservatory, the butterflies are placed on plants where they acclimate to the environment and gain strength before taking to the air. It’s a wonderful place for photos and just one of the opportunities for visitors to observe the butterflies up-close and personal. Throughout the tropical environment, butterflies can be viewed drinking nectar from the flowering plants and feeding stations, lighting on the odd nose or shoulder, and congregating along the stream beds, as well as in flight all around.

Here’s a little butterflies & Beethoven for you in this video! Many more great ways to get out and about in our March Event Calendar on Absolute Michigan!

Check this out bigger than a butterfly and see many more in Terry’s butterfly slideshow.


Cranesbill, photo by joeldinda.

Because we need flowers in January.
~Joel Dinda

One of my favorite things about Michigan in Pictures is that sometimes I learn things that I really am not intending to learn. Such is the case today when I picked my favorite of Joel’s photos to highlight this year’s edition of his perennial feature, A Flower a Day for January. Joel started this in January of 2006, and every day he posts another flower to his flickr photostream.

The Wikipedia entry for Geranium sanguineum explains that it’s the county flower of Northumberland, commonly called Bloody Cranesbill or Bloody Geranium. The Geranium entry says that the genus name is derived from the Greek géranos meaning crane) and has a note:

The genus name is derived from the Greek γέρανος, géranos (meaning crane). The English name “cranesbill” derives from the appearance of the fruit capsule of some of the species. Species in the Geranium genus have a distinctive mechanism for seed dispersal. This consists of a beak-like column which springs open when ripe and casts the seeds some distance. The fruit capsule consists of five cells each containing one seed, joined to a column produced from the centre of the old flower. The common name cranesbill comes from the shape of the un-sprung column, which in some species is long and looks like the bill of a crane. Many species in this genus do not have a long beak-like column.

…Confusingly, “geranium” is also the common name of members of the genus Pelargonium (commonly known as ‘storksbill’ in distinction from ‘cranesbill’), which are also in the Geraniaceae family. Linnaeus (Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus) originally included all the species in one genus, Geranium, but they were later separated into two genera by Charles L’Héritier in 1789.

Check this out background bigtacular and in Joel’s 137 photo and growing A Flower a Day for January (x5) slideshow.

Garden Pumpkin 1, photo by Marianne Priest

Absolute Michigan has a pumpkinpalooza going today – check it out!

Marianne took this shot using a Great Wall df2 camera using tri X/hc110 film. Another friend of the blog, Mark O’Brien, has details on The Great Wall camera on his blog.

You can see more shots that Marianne has taken with this camera in her amazing Great Wall DF2 gallery.


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