Saturday, August 11, 2012

Michigan (Day 4 - With Pictures!)

Above (and below) are photos from my day in Michigan on Thursday. I had some trouble downloading the photos that evening but finally retrieved them off my memory card this morning and wanted to share. Above are more photos from Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Again, I was glad that I visited this garden for a couple of hours on Monday as I was able to take my time and enjoy the gardens on a sunny day. It was quite rainy Thursday afternoon and I was able to only see a portion of what I saw earlier in the week. The conservatories were neat and our tram ride gave some great information on many of the sculptures out in the gardens.

With the exception of the two bottom photos, the rest of the shots below were from the Mast Young Nursery trial garden. They had so many great arrangements in hanging baskets and other planters throughout this space and their signage was exceptional. I was one of the few visitors that was out there the full two hours taking photos. While there were plenty of "side by side" plantings, the combinations I thought were quite nice and I saw some very new product that I'll be sniffing around for this winter. I've always enjoyed the Mast catalog every winter and can see that they really strive to offer the best of the best. As with all our destinations, they were very cordial and hospitable with providing staff for questions, snacks, water and lunch. These last two photos were from our first stop (Elzinga & Hoeksema Greenhouse) in Portage, WI (near Kalamazoo). This nursery had recently put in $1.5 million in to their new energy saving improvements which includes solar panels and a huge geothermal system that I couldn't totally understand (to be honest) and can't quite verbalize. There is a short video on YouTube which describes these improvements though. Just type in the nursery name. Their staff was helpful and really were proud of their "green initiatives" as well they should be! The photo directly below is just some of the many tons of nursery plastic that they ship off for recycling each year. Their drivers actually bring back consumer returned plastics from their delivery stops and they have staff at the nursery that clean, sort and package the plastics for recycling. They actually send back over 15 full semi-truck loads of plastics each year (destination unknown). Their automation was quite amazing too. I chatted with their "handy man" who seemed well-suited for trouble-shooting any problems and he showed us some of his own contraptions including an interesting automated lettuce cutter. The bottom photo shows two of their huge compost tea makers which are used to produce products they incorporate in to their potting soils. Tomorrow I'll show some shots from my return trip on Friday.

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