September 12, 2018

The Grand Garden Show on Mackinac Island

Last month my husband graciously attended The Grand Garden Show on Mackinac Island with me.  It was a lovely experience all around.  The historic hotel was beautiful, the food was excellent, the garden classes were fun and the garden tours were inspiring.  As we approached the hotel, we experienced this long flower bed that was covered with hundreds of Monarch butterflies.  Unfortunately I waited to take a photo until the last day when it was raining and the butterflies were absent, but when the sun was out it was magical to see so many butterflies all together.

Here is a shot of a dozen butterflies on a single plant in one of the gardens on tour.  In this post I'll share photos of some of the gardens we toured in the afternoons.

Several homes on the west bluff featured bright annual gardens in front.  At the rear of the photo the Grand Hotel is visible.

This little flower garden was adorable.  I love the lavender salvia, mixed petunias and peachy-orange dahlias together.  The warm-colored petunias at bottom are Honey Supertunias, which I grew in pots this year.  They were good performers and you can see they add a new color to the assortment of petunias.

This garden featured many bright plantings of annuals among the green groundcovers, trees and shrubs.

As fun as the colorful annual gardens were, I found myself preferring gardens with shrubs, perennials, and plenty of green for a backdrop.  This hillside was lovely with several types of hardy hydrangeas.  Though we saw many smooth, panicle and oak hydrangeas, I didn't see a single bigleaf hydrangea.  I guess they have hardiness problems on the island as I do in my garden.

Here are some smooth or Annabelle hydrangeas with hostas at the entrance of one home.  Welcoming and relaxing at once.

This was one of the 'cottages' on the tour.  I kept expecting a butler to show up.  The architecture of the old homes was as enjoyable to see as their gardens.

Many homes had fewer flowers and more green space like this.  This garden was very peaceful.

Isn't this an interesting garden?   We were told there used to be a fountain in the center, but to simplify maintenance and keep the grandchildren safe, the homeowners filled it in and planted a garden instead.

A newly landscaped area featured impressive stone walls and stairs.  During the tourist season, no cars or trucks are allowed on the island, so landscaping is accomplished with horse-drawn quarry wagons and manpower.  During the brief windows when tourists are gone for the winter and the weather allows, larger construction equipment can be used for big projects. 

The perennial and shrub combinations at this garden were especially pretty.

I'll post next with photos of the many fabulous container gardens we saw at the hotel and in town. 

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