With a unique climate and rich growing soil, southwest Michigan is an ideal region for a horticultural tour. The Lake Effect often results in favorable
growing conditions and moderate temperatures. This great Lakes state is second only to California in its diversity of agriculture. Join us as we explore
this region’s notable gardens, nurseries, and more.
- Top 10 List of “must see” gardens
- Meet breeders and cultivators of succulents, perennials, flowers and more
- Talk with Chris Hansen, an enthusiastic plant geek and see his intensive private gardens
- Visit the renown Countryside Greenhouse, Blumen Gardens, Walter Gardens, Spring Hill Nursery and Hornbaker Gardens among others during our travels
- Enjoy behind the scenes for tours at several wholesale nurseries
- Roundtrip luxury motorcoach transportation provided from Ames, IA
DAY 1-THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2019
Depart Reiman Gardens this morning travelling across Iowa and into Illinois and our first stop, Blumen Gardens. Over the past 29 years, Joan & Joel Blumen have developed a full-service landscaping company, year-round Gift & Garden Center and an Event Rental Facility. Blumen Gardens inhabits over two acres of beautiful and historic land that is enjoyed as a relaxing shopping destination featuring a refurbished and re-purposed historic factory brick building. Two bonuses: we will eat a catered lunch on site and you will receive a 20% discount! After our visit, we continue on to Holland, Michigan. Check-in to our hotel for the next three nights and enjoy dinner with the group. D
DAY 2-FRIDAY, MAY 31, 2019
Travel the Lake Michigan Coastline as we explore southwest Michigan Walters Gardens, Inc., proud supplier of a brand you will recognize, Proven Winners® View garden art at the renown Frederik Meijer Perennial as well as many new cultivars they release through their own program. Here Gardens and Sculpture Park you’ll see how over 1,000 varieties of new and classic perennials are produced on a grand scale before they are shipped to your local garden center. We will tour major production greenhouses and bare root facilities and a guide will take us on the bus through vast growing fields. You can expect they will also provide a “goodie bag” with at least one newly released plant. Next, we’re off to WW Greenhouse, which comes highly recommended by Ed’s industry friends in the area. If professionals shop here for their own home gardens, it says a lot about the selection and quality we will find. W.W. Greenhouses carries an extensive line of perennials, annual bedding and potted annuals, along with extravagant hanging planters and baskets.
At Windmill Island Gardens, a municipal park located in the city of Holland, we’ll see the only authentic Dutch windmill operating in the United States. From the top, we will survey 36 acres of manicured gardens, dikes, and canals. Costumed guides, an Amsterdam street organ, a handpainted Dutch carousel, a beautiful children’s garden and playground for families, and gift shops will complete our visit. This afternoon, we will visit the gorgeous riverside home and property of Dale Deppe, president of Spring Hill Nursery. Here he tests new trees and shrubs. Closed to the public, we have been invited to tour not only the lovely gardens but also see and hear about new plants that we will either see sold in future years or don’t make the grade. If you purchase a tree or shrub brand new to the market this year, there is a high likelihood it came from Spring Meadow. In recent years, they have dominated the wholesale market and are one of the primary sources of the explosion of new hydrangea releases. We will tour their expansive propagating houses and see how a state-of-the-art facility mass produces exceptional quality plants. The facilities are surrounded by trial and display gardens where you can see mature versions of plants you may own as well as new ones yet to be released. And for the last visit of the day, can you say massive? Another garden center highly recommended by Michigan green industry folks, Countryside Greenhouse has over 21 acres of enclosed, poly covered, growing space that they utilize to grow plants with retail space for the home gardener. B
DAY 3-SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2019
The City of Holland has developed a thriving farmers’ market that includes many booths from some of the local garden centers. We will start our morning perusing a vast array of market offerings! Next, Ed has a list of the top 10 public gardens he has visited and Frederik Meijer Gardens makes that list! Ranked in the top 100 most-visited art museums worldwide by Art Newspaper, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park has grown to become an international destination. The sculpture program features more than 200 works in the permanent collection sited both indoors and outdoors on the 158-acre main campus. The gardens are integrated with fine art. Horticultural displays showcase a beautiful array of plants appropriate for the Midwest and specialized plants from regions around the world in both greenhouse and landscape settings.
Then we’re off to talk with Chris Hansen at his home. Chris is a true plant geek, as evidenced by his unique plant offerings at Garden Solutions. So much so, he created one of the most intensive home landscapes you will ever see featuring many of the plants he sells as well as a number of rare collectibles. His collection is matched only by the enthusiasm he will demonstrate when he shows off his jaw dropping display beds. After our delightful visit with Chris, we’re off to his fairly new wholesale business. We’ll be some of the first to tour the facility including a 150 foot display garden. There isn’t a plant that doesn’t fascinate Chris and he has bred many new selections of different genera, most notably hellebores and now succulents. His Chick Charms® collection is taking the market by storm and he continually adds new selections. You are likely to see exciting new plants that aren’t yet available!
Finally, we visit with Hans Hansen who heads up the WGI hybridizing team at Walters Gardens and is well-known throughout the industry for his truly new and improved plant introductions, most noticeably hostas. Over the past decade or more, Hans has introduced about 20 hostas through Shady Oaks Nursery in his home state of Minnesota. His own home garden shows his passion for plants and plant collecting. Ed assures you that you will see plants you have never seen before. We end the evening with a delicious farewell dinner at a local restaurant. B, D
DAY 4-SUNDAY, JUNE 2, 2019
At last we say goodbye to the many wonderful growers and gardens of Holland and return to Ames. But before we’re home, one last visit is in store at Hornbaker Gardens. Hornbaker Gardens, Inc. offers collections of hostas, daylilies, trees and shrubs, grasses, aquatics, annuals, and other perennials, drawing plant enthusiasts from not only the Midwest, but from across the country. The Shop at Hornbaker Gardens is stocked with garden art and other garden accessories and the display gardens have turned the site into a botanical gardens and arboretum. They include two display ponds and a pondless waterfall featuring many of the aquatic plants that the garden center sells and will add to the ambiance when we have lunch on site. Continue across Iowa for an early evening return to Reiman Gardens with plenty of new plants and ideas just in time for early summer planting. B, L
May 30-June 2, 2019
Price Per Person*:
*Due to special group pricing, this tour is not eligible for any discounts.
high low 70s/lows low 50s
+1 hour from Central Time
Arrival Time Available 60 days prior to departure
Departure Time Available 60 days prior to departure
Moderate walking at a leisurely pace is required to fully enjoy this tour. Some walking will be on uneven paths.
Hair dryers, TV/cable, telephone available at hotels.
Additional InformationDress on tour is casual. Pack light for room to purchase more plants!