we took a long weekend and visited the gardens at the Grand Hotel in the early season. the temperature was only in the 50’s for the weekend, and we did have some rain on Monday morning. nonetheless, the gardens and the grounds of the Grand Hotel are lovely. it looks like the gardeners have been working to clear the hillside in front of the hotel, as some winter damage is quite evident.
the daffodils were still in bloom, so it is easy to judge that their season is farther behind our zone 5 season in Midland. some patio geraniums were out on the famous long front porch. we bundled up to sit there for an hour, and to just admire the view and the flags waving in the breeze off the lake.
every trip, i always visit the hotel’s greenhouse. located just behind the fitness center, it is kept open for hotel guests. the annuals were being readied for the beds. shaded areas surrounding the greenhouse are filled with flats of flowers. while we were there, the gardeners were marking off the bed designs with paint for planting.
the hotel relies mainly on annuals for the landscaping color. the majority of flowers in bloom throughout the summer are annuals. Last year, we met Jack Barnwell, garden designer and owner of Barnwell Landscaping and Design services on the island. He is responsible for several properties on the island, installing thousands of Proven Winners plantings, hanging baskets and window boxes.
If you have time to take a trip to Mackinac Island, in Northern Michigan, plan for an August visit. The island is warm by then, and the gardens are spectacular.