June 10, 2014
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.
June 6, 2014
April 7, 2014
November 22, 2012
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.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!
More Thanksgiving on Michigan in Pictures.
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.
March 12, 2012
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…
March 8, 2012
…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.