Some of these glorious summer spots are well known, while others are truly hidden gems. We'll look at some of these places in depth as summer bows out, but for now, we've assembled a quick list of the gardens you need to check out before September hits and thoughts lightly turn to how brutal Michigan winter can be. Belle Isle is hardly a secret, though a surprising number of people we hit up for garden suggestions had never heard of the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory—which seems more like ten secret gardens inside Belle Isle than one. Given the massive greenhouse whose unmistakable dome houses thriving palm trees, you'd think this one would be slightly more obvious.
Then there are the dozens of community gardens, including Brush Park's, that serve neighborhoods' needs for both fresh produce and sheer, natural loveliness. Cadillac Urban Gardens has its own auto industry tie-in, and came up with the innovative idea of using shipping crates from GM's Orton Assembly plant as planters and turning what was a derelict southwest Detroit parking lot into a source of healthy food for nearby residents. In Brightmoor, the Farmway, and especially the youth garden, show what a neighborhood can do to sustain itself and build the next generation.
At the edges of the city, in Grosse Pointe, you'll find the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House and its gardens, where the automaker and his family worked for decades to design a life for themselves and a retreat from the pressures of life under Henry Ford's personal and professional regime.
Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory:
Edsel and Eleanor Ford House:
·Grounds and Gardens/a> [Edsel and Eleanor Ford House]
·Activities and Attractions/a> [Belle Isle Conservancy]
·Detroit Community Garden Features Repurposed Shipping Crates [Sustainable Planet]
·Cadillac Urban Gardens on Merritt [Facebook]
·Resilience on the Brightmoor Farmway [Ecotrust]