Cheryll's Writing Journal

Musings, rants and ravings, plus gems of insight nobody wants to hear now that I've finally got them. Also neat stuff I found on the 'Net when I should have been updating this blog....

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Done. Well sort of, mostly. Maybe...

The display house at Matthaei Botanic Gardens has been closed for most of the summer, replacing the roof and temperature control systems and mechanicals. The promise was for September 1st reopening, then October 1st, and finally November 1st.
We survived the wait with many acres of spring wildflowers and summer annual and perennial plantings.

Only the tropical and temperate zones are open, but it is clear that even those areas are still in process of renewal and refurbishing. Doesn't look like this at the moment:
This 50 year old green house has both permanent and rotating displays (fed from several other succession areas). Some of the trees are -- were -- at the roof. It is the mainstay of our 'natural' exposure when the weather is inclement, or we aren't feeling up for the hike around the miles of gardens and paths.
(Like this meadow at the edge of a Michigan wildflower planting in an open woods, which is a quarter mile walk from the road.)

The weather being definitely Fall yesterday, complete with cold wind and rain/snow showers (meaning only in the air) MIL and I went to check out the greenhouse project. There was some anxiety over what state we would find the permanent plantings.

She hates to weed or prune living things -- which is largely why her urban acre plus in the middle of Cleveland suburb is all gone to woods:
This is the front yard. When they bought the property 50 some years ago, it had one little oak tree, a couple rose bushes and two spindly cherry trees...

And this Pennsylvania farm of nearly the same age is no longer farmable, LOL.

Much cheered to discover that the $5 entrance fee has been rolled back to 1968 price of $3 (even tho MIL doesn't have to pay because she has reciprocal access due to being member of several botanic garden associations) we soon found our worries were mostly for naught. Having the extra couple months has allowed for much regrowth from the extensive pruning away from the work areas. The new ceiling includes roll back shade cloth, which effectively lowers it several feet. There will need to be a lot more regular pruning to keep the trees from interfering with the mechanicals.

It looks like the loquat trees will recover, but not fruit for a while, which is probably okay, since Michiganders don't know what they are! The Zapotas and some of the larger palms are gone completely. Not to mention several enormous Euphorbs in the desert section. They will be missed! Guess the loss is more noticeable there than in the tropical and temperate zone plantings...

The orchid display is just starting, and the chrysanthemums were in full swing:
A cascading mum (more than 4 feet of cascade!). The sign explains that staff and volunteers work all summer to train these plants into this shape. The thick woody stems make it look years old!

Ditto the bonsai mum. Apparently, this is a great plant to start with if one is interested in learning the art. You can see your results in a single summer.

Do not lose heart! This is one of their 'instant' gardens. All these mums were grown in pots in the succession houses and carefully arranged together for the show.

There were so many varieties and colors! Here's a close up:

In the temperate house there is a dripping fern wall above a sunken pool inhabited by some koi who are seriously filling it! They have grown considerably since we saw them last. These are the two biggest ones, about 27 inches!
There are 4 others almost as big in this 10x4x3 foot puddle...none the worse for all the construction over their heads.

And there is more work to do and plants to grow and regrow. We will not be bored this winter, as there will be progress to observe every week.

It is so nice to have such a garden show to visit when one's own plantings are sleeping over the winter! And even with gas prices rising, it is way cheaper than going to a movie...probably healthier, too.

Labels: ,


  • At 9:12 PM, Blogger Nancy said…


  • At 4:11 PM, Blogger Laiane said…

    Hi, Cheryll. I found your blog via Ravelry through the Ann Arbor group.

    What lovely photos! Even though I've lived in Ann Arbor since 1994, I haven't made a trip to Matthaei (just the Arb). I've been missing a lot, apparently. That mum bonsai particularly intrigues me.

    Best wishes,


Post a Comment

<< Home