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 for more information and to purchase tickets.



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