From the fragrant peony and pretty pansy to the early springtime greenery of a chiseled topiary. We’re taking a moment to stop and smell the roses — and the lilacs and the hyacinths, etc. — of the more massive and manicured gardens in The D.
Detroit International RiverWalk | Butterfly Garden
Let your worries flutter away in the butterfly gardens of Gabriel Richard Park. This plush, colorful oasis includes a few tucked- away benches so viewers can inconspicuously immerse themselves in the experience. Located on the Detroit International RiverWalk, just east of the MacArthur Bridge to Belle Isle.
While Clara and Henry Ford’s mansion on the Fair Lane Estate in Dearborn undergoes extensive renovations, the surrounding grounds and gardens (designed by esteemed landscape architect Jens Jensen) can still be admired. Walk along the lilac-lined pathways in springtime as the variations of violet and lavender bring about a sense of magic and whimsy. Open weekdays till 6 p.m.
Garden geeks are sure to dig it here. Tended by Michigan State University, the sprawling site includes a hosta garden, rose garden, landscape demonstration garden, rock ledge garden, enabling (accessibility) garden, xeriscape or “dry” garden, and an arboretum with acres of trees and shrubs common to Michigan — and much more — all designed to inspire and teach. Book a tour or drop by 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
Visitors here are captivated by not just one garden, but the entire grounds — including woodlands, wetlands and meadows — thoughtfully designed by distinguished landscape architect Jens Jensen. The majestic Grand Meadow is especially serene, with its vast open landscape bordered by large elm and silver maple trees, bright daffodils and wildflowers.
Detroit Zoo | Butterfly Garden
Kept at a balmy 75 degrees, the butterfly garden within the Detroit Zoo’s Wildlife Interpretive Gallery is completely immersive. It’s not uncommon for the incredible free-flying insects to land on your shoulder or randomly feed on a flower’s nectar right in front of you.
Where other gardens grow in The D
Cranbrook House & Gardens in Bloomfield Hills • Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle in Detroit • Proven Winners in Carleton • Meadow Brook in Rochester • Taylor Botanical Gardens in Taylor • Westcroft Gardens on Grosse Ile • George George Park in Clinton Township • Finlandia Gardens in Farmington • Lafayette Greens in Detroit