My mom’s out here for a 9-day visit, and Momma Jane is the original CPL (Crazy Plant Lady) in this family. She’s had a gorgeous cacti and succulent garden for as long as I can remember, and she’s got a way with everything from orchids to ferns. After giving my indoor plants a spa day on Wednesday morning, we thought we’d spend today’s “balmy” 18-degree snow showers inside the greenhouses at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. This was David’s and my first time there, and we look forward to seeing the outdoor sculptures, plants and trees in other seasons.
Between Christmas trees decorated in styles from all around the world, Rodin exhibit, the Desert Room, Carnivorous Plant Room, a miniature city made from nuts, bark, leaves and mushrooms, the train, and the 5-story high Tropical Room, we plant lovers were in our element. I thought I’d share some of our favorite photos below. If they’re of me, or they look particularly artistic, David took the photos. He’s really a master at capturing just the right angles and interesting framing.
The above photos and the next one are in the entryway, filled with amaryllis, evergreens and natural light displays.
Once inside, we went into the Desert Room, filled with cacti and succulents of all shapes and sizes. These photos share just a tiny portion of the small and huge desert selections, all highlighted by seasonal poinsettias:
That’s a succulent wreath below:
The Octopus’s Garden — well, Octopus Agave, anyway. You can’t tell scale from this photo, but those cacti in front are bigger than my thighs. The Octopus Agave could gobble us up, if it were in the carnivorous room.
One of my favorites from David:
Those were so tempting to sit upon, but fortunately, we remembered they were cacti! I just love the coyote sculpture in among the plants, as well as the contrast with the snow outside:
Synchronously, David had just borrowed a library book called “Fairy House,” by Mike and Debbie Schramer, and we all looked through the book this morning. It provides in-depth how-to’s for making fairy houses and fairy furniture using found objects like bark, flowers, leaves, and mushrooms. This next large exhibit features famous buildings in Grand Rapids and its sister cities, all created using found materials, integrated into plants, lighting and a miniature railroad. Here are some favorite shots, but again, just a snippet of the incredible detail and lush sights, smells, and sounds:
The tropical greenhouse was amazing — like walking into a rain forest, complete with waterfalls, birds and 5-story tall trees. This next photo from David looks like wings to me, but it’s actually palms flying overhead:
Their holiday hours kept them open after dark, which made for a moody, magical visit, but a little more difficult to take photos that captured all the details. This one comes close to showing the variety of colors and shapes:
David also managed to capture another photo of the cozy indoors juxtaposed with the snowy dusk outside:
He also caught the Chihuly glass on fire at nightfall:
Looking at the Guest Guide and Map, it’s clear that we saw only the tiniest sliver of the attractions. We can’t wait to return in warmer weather to hear concerts and see the Japanese Gardens and David Nash’s Larch Forest.
No trip to Grand Rapids would be complete without lots of yummy food! We bookended our trip with lunch at Marie Catrib’s and dinner at Rocket Pies, both of which focus on local, farm-to-table and/or organic food, with plenty of options to meet any diet or desire. We have yet to eat anywhere in Grand Rapids that’s not out of this world delicious, but these two really hit the spot today. Highly recommended if you’re ever passing through!