Whiting Forest Canopy Tour



Let’s Get Together to See the Latest Botanical Garden Attraction in Michigan. Dow Garden’s Canopy Walkway in Whiting Forest. Canopy walkways – also called canopy walks, treetop walks or treetop walkways – provide pedestrian access to a forest canopy. Early walkways consisted of bridges between trees in the canopy of a forest; mostly linked up with platforms inside or around the trees. They were originally intended as access to the upper regions of ancient forests for scientists conducting canopy research.


In 1905, the first piece of the Whiting Forest property was acquired by Herbert H. Dow, the founder of the Dow Chemical Company, and his wife Grace. Herbert indulged in his favorite hobby by planting an extensive apple orchard and digging two ponds for irrigation, which remain beautiful features in the forest. Herbert and Grace had seven children. Their oldest son, Willard, eventually became the second president of the Dow Chemical Company.


In 1939, ownership passed to Willard Dow. Upon his death, the property passed to his daughter Helen Dow Whiting, and her husband Macauley. The Whitings took great care to create a beautiful home for their six children and continued the apple orchard. When the Whitings retired to Sun Valley ID, they donated the property to the City of Midland. Now owned by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, it was opened to the public in 2004.


In 2014, Metcalfe Architecture & Design and Jonathan Alderson Landscape Architects (of Philadelphia) began developing plans for construction in the summer of 2014. Phase one will be completed in 2018 with a sneak preview and includes lodge renovations, canopy walk, a forest classroom, and planting of a four-zoned orchard. The grand opening will take place October 2018.


Dow Gardens was started in 1899 by Herbert Dow, founder of The Dow Chemical Company. The Gardens, originally developed on eight acres of flat, sandy land, provided a creative outlet for Herbert Dow and his interest in agriculture and design. He created gardens, ponds and hills according to a simple philosophy that we still follow to this day: “never reveal the gardens’ whole beauty at first glance.”

Alden B. Dow, Herbert’s youngest son and an experienced architect, continued his father’s work on the Gardens. The family connection continued with the involvement of Herbert Dow’s grandson, Herbert Dow II.

Thanks to the dedicated guidance of the Dow family, the Gardens have grown to 110 acres. Today, the creativity of Herbert Dow is still revealed to all those who visit Dow Gardens.


Meet at the visitor center at 11am on Friday, October 12, 2018. APLD-MI members are free. Non-members pay the $5.00 entry fee.  1.5 CEU’s have been approved for this tour.



The Garden Party on Belle Isle

As many of you might already know, Piet Oudolf has designed and will be installing a garden on the historical Belle Isle on the Detroit River.  Piet (Dutch pronunciation: [ˌpit ˈʌu̯dɔlf]; born 27 October 1944) is an influential Dutch garden designer, nurseryman and author. He is a leading figure of the “New Perennial” movement, using bold drifts of herbaceous perennials and grasses which are chosen at least as much for their structure as for their flower color. (Wikipedia).  “For me, garden design isn’t just about plants, it is about emotion, atmosphere, a sense of contemplation. You try to move people with what you do. You look at this, and it goes deeper than what you see. It reminds you of something in the genes — nature, or the longing for nature.”
— Piet Oudolf

Oudolf’s designs include Lurie Gardens in Chicago, The High Line in NYC, Scampston Walled Garden in the UK and Kurpark Bad Driburg in Germany.  “Piet Oudolf, perennial plant designer of the iconic Lurie Garden, is the premier garden designer for public landscapes today. His designs are both artistic and ecological, connecting the history of the site with aspirations for the future of the community in which he is designing. Piet designs gardens that attract attention from gardeners and non-gardeners, alike, with relatable but yet complex plant arrangements that evoke the natural history of prairies, meadows, and woodlands while still being highly artistic. Piet’s gardens are more than just artistry, they attract numerous wildlife—birds, insects, and animals—for the enjoyment of all in the garden.”
Executive Director
Millennium Park Foundation

Belle Isle Park, more commonly known simply as Belle Isle (/bɛlˈaɪəl/), is a 982-acre (1.534 sq mi; 397 ha) island park in the Detroit River between Michigan and Ontario.  The island is home to the Belle Isle Aquarium, the Belle Isle Conservatory, the Belle Isle Nature Center, the Detroit Boat Club, the James Scott Memorial Fountain, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, a municipal golf course, a half-mile (800 m) swimming beach, and numerous monuments, among other attractions. he prominent American urban park designer Frederick Law Olmsted created a design for the island in the 1880s. He was known for his design of Central Park in New York. But only some elements of his design were completed. The 1908 Belle Isle Casino building is not a gambling facility but rather, is used for occasional public events. Highlights of Belle Isle include a botanical garden and the Belle Isle Conservatory (1904). Both the conservatory and the adjacent aquarium were designed by Detroit architect Albert Kahn, who designed city landmarks such as Cadillac Place and the Ford Rouge Factory. “Oudolf has chosen a site in proximity to the Carillon Tower with strong potential for contemplation and beauty. I have no doubt that this landscape will infuse layers of texture, color, natural form and ecology, bringing lasting aesthetic interest, design excellence, and international repute to Detroit.”
Director, Planning & Development Department
City of Detroit

On Tuesday, September 11, 2018, the leaders of the Grosse Pointe area’s garden club communities, will hold the annual “Garden Party”.  The Garden Party raises funds for various projects that specifically benefit the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory. Held in a beautiful tent on the grounds of the Conservatory, the evening features cocktails, hors d’oeurves, musical entertainment by Ben Sharkey, an art installation, and networking with supporters of the botanical wonders the Conservatory houses.  Funds raised at the Garden Party will renovate the staircase and flagstone path at the back entrance to the Conservatory sunken gardens. This path will once again allow public access to this area and serve as a link between the Conservatory grounds and the future Piet Oudolf garden.

Please visit https://www.belleisleconservancy.org/garden-party-on-belle-isle?mc_cid=1977db3588&mc_eid=76fa1cc9a3&utm_campaign=1977db3588-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_19_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Oudolf%2BGarden%2BDetroit%2BMaster%2BList&utm_term=0_f8760b3cb2-1977db3588-28106435 for more information and to purchase tickets.



GWA: The Assoc. for Garden Writers Holland Garden Tour


Rocks, Eats and Tweets in Holland, MI

Join fellow garden lovers in a relaxed day touring one of West Michigan’s largest farmer’s markets, three outstanding private gardens, and ending with a photo op in the extensive perennial display gardens at Walters Gardens. Whether you’re into organic produce, rock gardening, specimen trees, plant collecting, or garden photography, there’s something for you on this tour. All stops are conveniently located within just a few square miles near the shore of Lake Michigan. Make it a weekend trip and enjoy the area’s white sand beaches, the famous Big Red lighthouse, and unique downtown boutiques while you’re in town.

Here’s what the event will include:

10:00AM-12:15PM We’ll explore the Holland Farmer’s Market, an expansive venue that draws thousands each weekend. Led by Market Master Sara Cozolino, we’ll meet with four local area farmers about how they grow/produce and bring their foods and plants to market.

10:15-11:15AM Tour will include interviews with: Shady Side Farm–specializing in organic beans, wool and lamb; Plants with Stories—specializing in heirloom vegetables and seed saving; Sweet Everlastings—specializing in homegrown and dried flowers; Windridge Perennials and Landscaping–specializing in perennials

Bring your cooler and pick up organic veggies, fruits, meats and plants while you’re there. Lunch will be on your own at the market; choose from vendors or food trucks. A brief business meeting will be held after lunch.

12:30PM-1:45PM We have the rare opportunity to tour the private home garden of succulent and perennial breeder and grower Chris Hansen. You may know Chris’ lines of SunSparkler® Sedum, Chick Charms® Sempervivum, Gnome Domes® Orostachys, and Winter Thriller™ Helleborus. See them all in action in his botanical garden-grade home rock garden which encompasses every square inch of his suburban landscape. You’ve never seen a home rock garden like this!
2:00PM-3:00PM We’ll also have the rare opportunity to tour the private garden of world-renowned plant breeder and collector Hans Hansen (no relation to Chris). As the principle breeder of perennials and tropical plants for Walters Gardens and the Proven Winners brand, Hans is a wealth of knowledge and his garden reflects it. He will lead us through his no-grass, all-ornamental suburban garden and highlight his favorite unique plants which number in the thousands. This garden is a plant geek’s paradise.
3:15PM-4:15PM Tour the private garden of professional landscape designer Cami Geschwendt. Recently featured in Michigan Gardening magazine, the Geschwendt family garden is a spectacle like none other. Features include numerous unique specimen trees, masses of landscape roses, one of a kind metal sculptures made by Cami’s son, a 4-season tree house, a pontoon boat-turned tiny house, and much more.
4:30PM-Dusk We’ll have the chance to explore and photograph perennials in the expansive display gardens at Walters Gardens, Inc. This garden features over 1,000 varieties of perennials, including all Proven Winners Perennials, which are labeled clearly to make it easy to ID what you are photographing. This garden will be open to GWA attendees through dusk to allow ample time for photography when the lighting is at its best. You are encouraged to tweet and post your pictures to social media while in the gardens.

Dinner will be on your own at your leisure. A list of local area restaurants will be provided to attendees. A list of recommended hotels will be provided upon request. If you do plan to stay overnight, I encourage you to book your room now as this event is taking place during high season in a popular vacation town.

As you can see, this is a one of a kind day not to be missed! The cost is ONLY $35 for members who register by June 1! Non-members are always welcome. Sign up and bring a friend! And feel free to forward this information to anyone who you think might be interested in attending. Here’s the link to register online: http://bit.ly/GWAholland

The Art of Stone Craft Workshop


John DeVore is a lifelong student of all things natural. He is president of DeVore’s Land and Water Gardens, established 1979, and has used his business as an excuse to pursue design, horticulture, water aesthetics, stone construction, and travel.
He is an active participant in the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, The Stone Foundation, the International Professional Pond Companies Association, and the North American Japanese Garden Society. He was also the founding US partner of Garden Design School from the UK, and has trained designers and professionals in design, aesthetic boulder and stone construction, and water feature construction.
His interests always run towards aesthetics and experience. Experiencing the wonders of nature fuels the creative impulse, and working with his hands has allowed him to grow as garden artist, enabling him to bring some of that wonder into people’s lives.

John held this same class at the APLD International Conference in Cleveland in 2011 and it was very well received.  Please visit https://mnlateam.wufoo.com/forms/the-art-of-stone-craft-workshop/ to sign up for the class.  APLD Members receive an additional $50.00 off the MNLA membership fee.

2017 Landscape Design Tour

MNLA’s Annual Landscape Design Tour in partnership with Association of Professional Landscape Designers Michigan Chapter and Michigan State University as always been very educational and exciting. We have seen the sustainable landscape at the Kresge Foundation in southeast Michigan, the break taking landscapes of Drost Landscape in northern Michigan, Muhammad Ali’s house in Southwest Michigan, the picturesque facilities of Blue Thumb in the Bay Area, and we crossed into international borders (Canada) in 2013.

This year’s event takes us farther and adds even more excitement as we visit Philadelphia and the east coast. Philadelphia is America’s Garden Capital, with over 300 years of horticultural heritage.

Longwood Gardens alone boasts a collection of over 10,000 different plant taxa. Longwood Gardens is an American botanical garden. It consists of over 1,077 acres (436 hectares; 4.36 km²) of gardens, woodlands, and meadows in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, United States in the Brandywine Creek Valley.[1] It is one of the premier horticultural display gardens in the United States and is open to visitors year-round to enjoy exotic plants and horticulture (both indoor and outdoor), events and performances, seasonal and themed attractions, as well as educational lectures, courses, and workshops

Get inspired by both the formal gardens of Nemours Mansion and the natural, native landscape of Mt. Cuba Center. The Nemours Mansion and Gardens is a 300-acre (120 ha) country estate with jardin à la française formal gardens and a classical French mansion in Wilmington, Delaware. Mt. Cuba Center is a non-profit botanical garden located in Hockessin, Delaware, near Wilmington, in the gently rolling hills of the Delaware Piedmont. Its woodland gardens produce some of the most spectacular displays of wildflowers in the mid-Atlantic region


Join us on a trip like never before. Experience exclusive access to both famed public gardens and private estates, special receptions, and insights from prominent industry figures.  Register NOW at mnla.org.

Rosetta Hardscapes Contractor Training Days

Are you getting excited for Spring? Are you amped up about breaking ground in 2017?  If so, Rosetta Hardscapes would love for you to pop the cork off the landscape season at one of their  Contractor Training Days. It’ll be a celebration of all things hardscape, and a chance to connect before things get crazy this year.

 Check out the dates below, and sign up for free. It’ll be just like that movie, Training Day, except without the guns and drugs.


  • Monday, March 13, Fenton, Michigan
  • Tuesday, March 14, Hastings, Michigan
  • Wednesday, March 15, Crown Point, Indiana
  • Thursday, March 16, Grayslake, Illinois

It’s A Party!

Designers and public welcome. Join us next Friday, rain or shine!