Originally purchased in 1926 by Adrian businessman, Harry Fee, it was Mr. Fee's dream to own property with a lake. Some time after the acquisition of the property, he constructed a road around the lake and landscaped the property to enhance the beautiful views. He later opened it to the public so they could enjoy it too, and donated it to Michigan State University in 1945, wanting the property to also be used also for educational purposes.
Mom and I took to the road again. Mom's friend Sue joined us on this expedition to Michigan, where we spent two days touring several gardens that I'd not seen before, as well as a garden center I'd wanted to visit for quite some time.
Our first stop was at Hidden Lakes Gardens, near Tipton, Michigan, and part of Michigan State University, although it's located 40 miles from the school. The Gardens are in a very rural setting, which is key to their beauty. As the name suggests, there is a lake and a small pond and some of those rolling hills that we flatlanders find so appealing.
The original 200 acres has grown to over 750, which now includes a 250-acre arboretum. Located within the arboretum is a collection of over 300 dwarf and rare conifers, donated to the gardens by Justin Harper, from his personal collection in E. Moline, Illinois, in 1981.
A conservatory was built in 1961 and houses a collection of houseplants and other non-native exotic plants. There are three rooms in the conservatory: Temperate, Arid and Tropical.
The bonsai collection is just outside the conservatory and was acquired through a series of donations.
The perennial gardens are official All-America Selections Display Gardens near the visitor's center and are located on a hill overlooking the pond.
Hosta Hillside was originally Mr. Fee's rock garden, which overlooks Hidden Lake and contains over 800 hosta varieties. It was designated an Official American Hosta Society Display Garden in 1995, only the second garden in the nation to receive the distinction.
Hosta Hillside overlooks Hidden Lake
Mom and Sue enjoy some wild raspberries, growing in the woods across from Hosta Hillside