Photos of Matthaei Botanical Garden – Ann Arbor, Michigan – Part 1

Just so happened there was a Bromeliad Show that day!

I have to make a shameful confession. I have lived in Michigan since I was born…I’m a Master Gardener…I live about an hour away…I attend UM (University of Michigan) football games (not a lot of fun lately)…and I had never been to Matthaei Botanical Garden. OMG!

Sunday, August 22nd I finally visited. Gosh, what took me so long? I dunno…

Stepping out from the back of the visitor's center, this is the first garden you encounter!

This garden will be divided into 2 posts because I have so many photos to share with you! My photos only cover gardens around the visitor’s center. Several trails, ponds, a wildflower garden and praire garden make up the rest of the acreage.

TIP – Always take a photo of signs first so you can keep track of your photos and know the names of gardens, plants and interesting trivia! I’m all digital and a 2 gig card holds over 1,500 photos. If I don’t take photos of signs…I get confuserated…!

As you leave the back of the visitor’s center the first area you see is the Gateway Garden of New World Plants. There are plants from South, Central and North America including around 3,000 annuals. Since the annuals are planted in May and June…the best time for this garden is late July and August.

The Asian style feature in the Gateway Garden is called the Friends Pavilion. It was dedicated in 1999 to celebrate 25 years of support from the garden’s friends. It adds a needed statement to the garden.

One thing I liked about this garden was the backdrop of huge – about 10-12 foot tall cup plants…(Silphium perfoliatum) attractive to butterflies, pollinators and insects because the leaves form a cup to hold water…the insects attract birds…the seeds attract gold finches…it blooms with a small false sunflower-like bloom for about two months…a favorite plant of mine. I rarely see this plant in botanical gardens. My cup plants reside in my Monster garden. A garden of huge plants and gigantic garden art…oooh scary. The plant can become invasive if allowed to seed freely.

Rest and check out the plant, texture and color combinations...

The rock garden is quite small with an Asian feel...

The Rock Garden is located behind the Gateway Garden. Not much to see in August, but a quiet, not heavily visited area.

The Herb and Knot Garden is formal compared to surrounding more casual gardens

The Herb and Knot Garden is very spacious and formal. Everything is arranged in geometric paths. Lovely, but very different from most of the other gardens. It could just be me (comment please) but it seems to need a transition…or a fence around it…something…instead of…here I am! 

A gnarly tree provides a focal point for the formal herb garden

This tree is a very cool contrast to the formal herb garden. It would look wonderful uplighted for Halloween!

Stay tuned for part 2 of the Mattaei Botanical Garden photos.

Doesn’t this just make you want to go out and pick weeds in your garden and water? OR…maybe not…

Sandie Parrott

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One Response to Photos of Matthaei Botanical Garden – Ann Arbor, Michigan – Part 1

  1. Hello, Sandie – I work at UM in the department of Neurology and would like to include your beautiful photo of the bench at Matthaei for a spring-summer flyer. The flyer is for a program called, Catching Your Breath. It is a grant funded & free program for caregivers of an adult living with a demenita.
    This flyer will be circulated amongst colleagues, social workers, clinics and clients who may be interested. The CYB program has been operating since 2012 and we meet at beautiful Matthaei. My own picture of the bench did not come out as lovely as yours (you have talent!) , so I googled “Matthaei bench” and I found you!. If you are ok with me using the image, I would like to give you credit on the flyers. You can see a version of previous flyers at this site (go to Live Well):
    The colors and information will vary slightly, but you can imagine the photo at the top.
    Please reach out ot me at your earliest convenience. Thank you, Sandie.

    Warm regards,
    ~Laura Rice-Oeschger

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