Lush Gardens, Festivals, Hands-On Fun and More
I don’t know about you, but by mid winter I am in desperate need to see something alive and growing outside. Looking outside and seeing my withered vines and bare bush branches makes me wish and dream of strong green stems and bright blooms tumbling every which way around my walkway.
I may not be the best, neatest, or most creative gardener in the world (my landscaping looks like my young children did it), but watching these plants of mine come up year after year gives me such a sense of accomplishment and pride.
No Green Thumb Needed at These 5 West Michigan Favorites
Whether you’re a master gardener or not, everyone loves a beautiful spring display. Here are some places where you and your kids can enjoy the spring blooms.
April and May 2019
Kids can spend their “Saturdays in the Soil” with Koetsier’s Kids Klub – gardening crafts and projects every Saturday morning from 10 a.m. – noon in April and May. On deck for this spring’s projects: tomatoes towers, succulent bowls, pansy bowls, fairy gardens, flower pot painting, and a pizza garden – which is a tomato plant surrounded with herbs – brilliant! Koetsier’s also has their “Bloomstudio” that hosts classes for all ages that will be just the thing for you to jumpstart your own spring blooms.
May 4 -12, 2019
One of the the most popular festivals in West Michigan is the Tulip Time Festival. Drawing a crowd of 500,000 annually, festival goers are treated to over 5 million tulips blooming all over the city. This year, the Festival is celebrating its 90th anniversary with the yearly tribute to the city’s Dutch heritage with food, fireworks, and hundreds of klompen dancers. Tulip maps are available to show visitors the best places to view the tulips, and visitors can also take guided tours throughout the city. Flower lovers can visit Holland just before and after the festival to stay out of the crowds and still enjoy the tulips while they are in bloom.
The Traverse City region turns pink and white each spring when its rolling hills and meadows bloom with cherry blossoms. The Leelanau and Old Mission peninsulas bearing the most plentiful blooms are the most popular places for visitors.
It’s too early yet in the year to tell exactly when they will appear and how long the blossoms will last, but in past years, the blossoms first appear in mid-May. Once in full bloom, they last about five days, but since different areas of Traverse City have cherry trees blooming at different times, the season lasts about two weeks total. You can get more details on the “whens” and “wheres” of the blossoms here.
April – June events
Visiting the Frederik Meijer Garden and Sculpture Park is a springtime must for anyone flower deprived. Although beautiful and open year round, the Garden bursts back to life with new blooms every spring.
The very popular butterfly display isn’t the only reason to come to the Garden in the spring months. Roaming through the individual gardens is a great way to get reacquainted with this lovely place, but you and your kids can also participate in some planned fun activities as well:
Not only flower-focused, but more of a farm garden themed event, you can enjoy a Michigan Farm Garden Springtime Walk April 16, 23, and 30 at 10 a.m. Hands-on activities, stories, and more.
Kids and their Grandparents can enjoy the glorious flowering cherry blossoms and other spring flowers in the Japanese Garden with a spring search and find and cherry blossom craft April 27 at 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Find out what is blooming on an Earth Day appreciation walk April 27 from 1 -4 p.m. Included are stories, crafts, and, whoa, a worm hunt!
Late April, Early May 2019
Although their schedule will depend on the weather and how quickly the apple blossoms appear, Robinette’s plans to begin their “Blossom Tours” the first week of May. Known for their wide varieties of apples, bakery, and family fun, Robinette’s also plans to host an Easter egg hunt April 20, though details have yet to be determined.
Michigan Blooms That are Worth the Drive…
The very popular Michigan Lavender Festival will be July 11-13 at the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds in Imlay City. This is a new and larger venue for this event which will have hundreds of artisans and “gourmet” food trucks, plus 23 acres of lavender. U-Pick lavender available along with workshops and tours.
Also on the eastern part of the state, the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden is a popular place to find thousands of these sweet-smelling blooms. Typically blooming from mid-May into the beginning of June, though some varieties bloom as early as April. This is a great place for fragrant, flowery photo-ops with your kids.
Visiting Detroit? There is a huge annual flower sale at the Eastern Market Flower Day
200,000 people from all over the state usher in spring on 15 acres of flowers, trees and shrubs. The event boasts of including every variety you can imagine. That sounds like a lot, and this event may be worth checking out May 19.
Late Bloomers – A Sweet, End-of-Summer Sunflower Field
Looking for a flowery photo op location later in the summer? If you can wait until August or September, check out the privately-owned sunflower field on the southside of Fillmore Road between 36th and 48th streets in Jenison.
The owners of the field put out props and benches for visitors to take photos in their lush field of sunflowers. They also sell bouquets of sunflowers with a lockbox for honor payments for those who use their property. What a great way to get gorgeous family shots with such “photogenic” blooms.