ArtPrize Exception to Meijer Gardens Photo Policy

As an ArtPrize Exhibition Center, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park will lift its restrictions on photographing works displayed in the sculpture galleries during the Shattered: Contemporary Sculpture in Glass exhibition.

Meijer Gardens normally prohibits photography in the sculpture galleries, in order to provide the best viewing experience for all guests and to protect the intellectual property rights of the exhibiting artists. Because of the unique nature of ArtPrize, and by agreement of the artists in this exhibition—we are pleased to allow photography for personal use during business hours for the full span the exhibition, September 18, 2013 through January 5, 2014.


Graham Caldwell. Large Polychrome, 2011. Iridescent glass and epoxy, 107 x 54 x 15 inches. Photo taken by Meijer Gardens staff.

Meijer Gardens reserves the right to prohibit photography we deem as commercial or professional usage, or interferes with guests’ experiences. Photos of all works provided by the artists will be available on and on Meijer Gardens’ Facebook page. Monopods and tripods are prohibited.

Coinciding with the fifth annual ArtPrize competition, Meijer Gardens’ fall exhibition, Shattered: Contemporary Sculpture in Glass brings together artists from across the globe to break down preconceptions about glass art.

Spring weather is coming… is your garden ready?

By Julie Francke, Curator of Horticulture Education

The last week of the Spring Gardening Mini-Series concludes on April 11!


Courtesy photo from Ginny Pearce.

If you have a shady garden, but find yourself envying your neighbor’s sunny flower beds, be sure to join us on Thursday, April 11 for “Gardening in the Shade” from 1–2:15 p.m. during the last leg of the Spring Gardening Mini-Series.

Ginny Pearce will inspire you with ways to create a beautiful shady sanctuary that is cool and inviting during a mid-summer day. She will introduce you to a wide variety of plants that thrive underneath the canopy of trees—from plants that provide colorful foliage such as European ginger, Japanese forest grass, variegated Solomon’s seal, and hostas to those that offer splashes of color—such as astilbe, anemone and hardy geraniums.

Gardening in the shade can present a unique set of challenges—competition from tree roots and varying levels of shade determine what will thrive. According to Ginny, the key is to match a plant’s growing preferences to your garden’s natural conditions. Garden smarter—not harder.


Taken from Google

During “Rhododendrons and More” from 2:30–3:45 p.m., Jeri Kiel will dispel the myth that rhododendrons are difficult to grow in West Michigan. According to Jeri, if you purchase hardy varieties and pay attention to their physical requirements, “you’re golden.” She also suggests keeping the motto “buy local” in mind when selecting rhododendrons. Plants produced by local nurseries have been carefully chosen to thrive in our climate and are already fully acclimated to our conditions. Why waste your time and money on plants that won’t succeed?

Jeri will also introduce you to the rhododendrons’ gorgeous relatives—azaleas, mountain-laurels and even decorative varieties of blueberries. They’re beautiful and easier to grow than you might think.

Taken from Google

Taken from Google

Rebecca Finneran, MSU Extension Educator said, “Pruning can be one of the most perplexing rituals for the spring gardener because pruning requirements vary with each species.”

In “Pruning Trees and Shrubs” from 4–5:15 p.m., Rebecca will take the confusion out of pruning and discuss the best timing, tools, and techniques.

Simply noting when a shrub blooms can reveal when it should be pruned. Shrubs that flower in the spring, such as forsythia and lilac, should be pruned after they bloom. Those that bloom in the summer, such as rose-of-Sharon and Annabelle hydrangeas, should be pruned in late winter or early spring. Rather than getting out the hedge shears and carving your shrubs into “meatballs and tuna cans” she will provide alternative techniques that will bring out their natural form and help maintain a desirable size. Whether you’re a “reluctant pruner” or an “overachiever,” this class will help you prune with greater confidence and skill.

Spring Gardening classes are also available on April 9. To find out about these classes and how to register for any class, follow this link.

Achieve Beautiful Gardens – March 26 Gardening Mini-Series

By Julie Francke, Curator of Horticulture Education


“Garden Design: Composition in the Garden”

On March 26, Meijer Gardens’ Spring Gardening Mini-Series will reveal ways to make your garden more beautiful!

We’ll begin with “Garden Design: Composition in the Garden” from 4–5:15 p.m., taught by Chris Major, landscape designer with Blue Ridge Landscaping. Chris will help reexamine your garden through a garden designer’s eyes and inspire you with great plant combinations. More importantly, he’ll reveal why these combinations look great and how to apply these principles to your garden. Chris will also reveal how hardscapes (anything that is not a plant) can help tie the overall garden design together.

When asked, “What is the most common mistake people make when designing their gardens?” Chris revealed it is not paying enough attention to the scale.

“When selecting hardscapes, such as boulders, sculptures and walkways, we need to select materials with respect to the scale of their outdoor environment—this is generally larger than the homeowner realizes.”

In regards to plants, scale is equally as important. Understanding a plant’s growth habit and rate need to be taken into consideration. “We’ve all seen the cute spruce trees at the garden center and proceeded to plant them a few feet from the corner of the house. At first, this makes sense because that little guy would look ridiculous if you planted it 15 or 18 feet away. Unfortunately, the end of this story usually involves a landscaper having to remove said tree 15 years later as it is now attacking the side of the home!”

"Perennials: The Power of One"

“Perennials: The Power of One”

If you are searching for the “best of the best” perennials for your West Michigan garden, you won’t want to miss “Perennials: The Power of One” from 5:30–6:45 p.m. presented by Susan Martin, perennial specialist and director of marketing communications for Walters Gardens. Susan is passionate about perennials and writes about them in the Walters Gardens catalog, on websites, in industry publications and Michigan Gardening Magazine. With more than 1,000 perennials growing in display and trial gardens right outside her office door, she sees first-hand how they perform.

Susan’s profession is also her hobby—she describes her own garden as a “collector’s garden” that includes a broad mix of perennials, annuals, shrubs and vines. In this class, Susan will reveal some incredibly improved perennials including:

  • A series of Tickseed (Coreopsis) that blooms for 5 months non-stop
  • A hardy perennial with dinner plate-sized blossoms that will be center of attention for a full three months in the garden
  • A shasta daisy (Leucanthemum) that puts out four rounds of flowers from early summer into mid-fall
  • A tall garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) that never gets powdery mildew
  • A tall stonecrop (Sedum) with stems so strong you’ll have to cut them down in spring–it never flops!

According to Susan, “To find out which varieties they are, you’ll have to attend my talk!”

“Drought Tolerant Landscapes”

“Drought Tolerant Landscapes”

In “Drought Tolerant Landscapes” from 7–8:15 p.m., Richard Sierra, senior sales representative for Hortech, will reveal ways you can help your garden thrive despite our hotter and drier summers and suggest plants that thrive on less water.

According to Richard, Hortech has seen an increasing demand for plants that require less water and maintenance. Gardeners are changing the way they think about water and are becoming more aware of water as an important resource—both from an environmental standpoint as well as financial. Last summer, some Midwestern cities even experienced water restrictions and bans.

Richard came into the green industry by accident—24 years ago he began working as a team leader in the shipping department and later became certified as a Green Industry Professional—and now advises landscapers and garden centers across the Midwest on the best plants for their needs. He also landscaped his first home in Grand Haven entirely with groundcovers and rocks; a low-growing sedum was his lawn, surrounded by drought-tolerant ornamental grasses, and punctuated by boulders.  Richard’s garden only needed to be irrigated during periods of extreme drought, saving time, money, and the important water resource.

All classes in the Spring Gardening Mini-Series are offered at the affordable price of $10 for members and $15 for non-members thanks to the support of the Association of Grand Rapids Landscape Professionals.

Click here to register for any of these classes, as well as classes held on April 9 and April 11. Full descriptions and other information are also included. Walk-ins welcome.

Spring Ushers in Spring Gardening Mini-Series, first one March 21

By Julie Francke, Curator of Horticulture Education

Part I of a three part series

Butterfly Bush in front of Meijer Gardens.

Butterfly Bush in front of Meijer Gardens.

March 20 is the vernal equinox—what most of us refer to as the first day of spring. While this may conjure up images of flowers blooming and bees buzzing, we could welcome a fresh blanket of snow or summer weather in mid-Michigan (do you recall last year’s record-setting temperature of 86 degrees?). The days will continue to lengthen, the weather will warm, the flowers will bloom, and the Meijer Gardens Spring Gardening Mini-Series will begin!

The Spring Gardening Mini-Series showcases four days of inspiring gardening classes at Meijer Gardens. These classes are on Thursday, March 21, Tuesday, March 26, Tuesday, April 9 and Thursday, April 11 throughout the day.

On March 21, the Mini-Series classes address the nation’s new gardening passion—growing your own vegetables. In “Growing Vegetables from Seed” from 1–2:15 p.m., you will learn about the different types of seeds (hybrid, heirloom and ark) and the best ways to start them.


Heirloom Garden in the Meijer Gardens Michigan Farm Garden.

“Patio Vegetables: Thinking Outside the Plot” from 2:30–3:45 p.m. reveals a new and attractive way to grow your own food—in containers right on your patio. Delving deeper, discover the rewards of “Underground Vegetables” from 4–5:15 p.m.—everything you need to know about growing “root vegetables,” from colorful potatoes to unusual sunchokes.

The local experts who will teach these classes are not only passionate about gardening, they understand the challenges and opportunities that West Michigan gardeners face. Meet the instructors even before you attend a class:

Growing Vegetables from Seed, 1–2:15 PM

Karen Lubbers owns Lubbers Family Farm, a picturesque farm nestled along the Grand River, where her family grows their own food and raises their own livestock using sustainable practices.  Their farm is also home to Cowslip Creamery and Little Rooster Bread Company. They began growing their own food in 1993 after their youngest daughter, then six, was diagnosed with brain cancer.  As Karen describes, “We began extensive research into the origins of cancer, which led us, inevitably, to our food supply, along with other things over which we had no control. We became increasingly alarmed by what was in our food in the form of pesticides, herbicides, dyes, preservatives— it is a very long list. Then we became equally alarmed by what we found was not in our food nutritionally.”

S_Hirvela_gardener Patio Vegetables: Thinking Outside the Plot, 2:30–3:45 PM

Stacey Hirvela, social media specialist for Spring Meadow Nursery, is looking forward to the release of her first book by Rodale Press (due out January 2014) which will detail all the information you need to grow edibles in raised beds and containers of all types. After earning her bachelor’s degree in linguistics at the University of Michigan, she changed direction and followed her passion by attending school at New York Botanic Garden. Stacey has been a rooftop gardener in Manhattan, the horticulturist at the former Tavern on the Green restaurant and has worked for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You will love Stacey’s passion and enthusiasm for all things green.

Ana Bosma1 Underground Vegetables, 4–5:15 PM

Ana Bosma is horticulturist at Meijer Garden and is responsible for Michigan’s Farm Garden as well as the Gwen Frostic Woodland Garden. Ana was born and raised in Grand Rapids and attended Michigan State University earning a degree in Horticulture with a focus on organic vegetable production. Before joining the Meijer Gardens staff, she worked for several years growing vegetables for farmers markets and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs.

All classes in the Spring Gardening Mini-Series are offered at the affordable price of $10 for members and $15 for non-members thanks to the support of the Association of Grand Rapids Landscape Professionals.

Click here to register for any of these classes, as well as classes held on March 26, April 9 and April 11. Full descriptions and other information are also included. Walk-ins welcome.

Watch for future blogs that will provide an inside look at the topics and instructors of the next Spring Gardening Mini-Series classes!

2013 Outdoor Summer Concert Series Sneak Peek

We’re excited to share a “sneak peek” at four of the artists who will be part of the Meijer Gardens 2013 Outdoor Summer Concert Series! Hear what’s in store this summer by listening to this Concert Sneak Peek Spotify playlist!


Montgomery Gentry

Montgomery Gentry Friday, July 5

Montgomery Gentry is an American country music duo composed of vocalists Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, both natives of Kentucky. The duo is known for its Southern rock influences, and has collaborated with Charlie Daniels, Toby Keith, Five for Fighting and members of The Allman Brothers Band.

The duo produced more than twenty chart singles including the number 1 hits “If You Ever Stop Loving Me,” “Something to Be Proud Of,” “Lucky Man,” and “Roll with Me.”


David Byrne & St. Vincent

David Byrne & St. Vincent – Sunday, July 7

David Byrne was a founding member and principal songwriter of the American New Wave band Talking Heads, best known for their Top 10 hit, “Burning Down the House.” Since then, Byrne has released his own solo recordings and worked with various media including film, photography, opera, and non-fiction. He has received Grammy, Oscar, and Golden Globe awards and been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Touring with Annie Erin Clark, better known as St. Vincent, is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Together, St. Vincent and David Byrne released a collaborative album titled Love This Giant.


Steve Miller Band

Steve Miller Band – Thursday, July 18 

Producing number one hits like “The Joker,” “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Rock’N Me” and “Abracadabra,” the Steve Miller Band is considered a classic rock legend. Since forming in sunny California in 1968, the band has released more than 18 studio albums, three live albums, seven compilation albums and numerous singles.

After more than fifteen years, Steve Miller recently went back to make a new album with classic rock engineer, Andy Johns (Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones) and the band produced almost three dozen tracks. “Bingo!,” the first album from the sessions, was released in May 2010.

SM EB SCR Tour Photo Crop

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell  – Monday, July 29

Steve Martin is currently in the fifth decade of a uniquely varied and accomplished career in which he’s excelled as a comedian, actor, author and playwright, and as a Grammy-winning, boundary-pushing bluegrass banjoist and composer.

His fellow Texas native Edie Brickell initially burst onto the national scene in the late 1980s fronting the New Bohemians. Together, their rootsy compositions are a combination of Martin’s inventive five-string banjo work with Brickell’s distinctive vocals and vivid, detail-rich lyrics.

Reminder that tickets go on sale to members on Saturday, April 27 and the general public on Saturday, May 11. More information on prices and purchasing locations will be available following the release of the full lineup in mid-April, so check our website and social media sites for details around that time.

Connected and Disconnected

The enigmatic bronze figures of Dutch sculptor Hanneke Beaumont have been a source of great fascination and wonder since they first captured international attention in the late 1990s. Since then, her works have been exhibited and installed internationally from London to New York, Munich to The Hague. At Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, her sculptures, #25 and #26, are a continual source of inquiry and enjoyment in the Sculpture Park.

Join us now through April 28 for Connected and Disconnected: The Sculpture of Hanneke Beaumont, which features features 14 works demonstrating the artist’s command of the human figure. As the title suggests, Beaumont’s works allow guests to explore what it means to be disconnected from one another in an otherwise connected world. Included with admission.

Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

Connected and Disconnected: Photo courtesy Chuck Heiney.
Hanneke Beaumont. Bronze #91, 2008-09. Patinated bronze on iron bases; 62 x 31 x 34 inches.
Hanneke Beaumont. Bronze #93, 2008-09. Patinated bronze on iron bases; 46 x 21 x 37 inches.

This is Beaumont’s first major museum exhibition in the United States. Her sculptures were created in a variety of media, such as terra cotta, bronze and iron and allow audiences the opportunity to understand her command of the human figure and her impressive fluency with materials.

Programming for the Exhibition

  • Perspectives
    Friday, February 22, 12 pm
    Katie Racey, Membership Manager
    Brett McPherson, Maintenance Staff
    Joann Wisnewski, Facility Attendant

Walk through the galleries with three staff members as they explore the exhibition from their own perspectives. Discover interesting personal interpretations of sculpture that you may never have considered before. Feel free to participate in the discussion; it is not necessary to be an art expert to find deeper meaning in art!

  • Gallery Walk
    Saturday, March 2, 2 pm
    Susan Wallsteadt, Psychology Professor, Grand Rapids Community College

Learn about the meaning of body language and facial expressions from a psychological point-of-view and explore the emotional content of Beaumont’s work.

Visit us at for additional information.

Holiday Whimsy: The Railway Garden

Experience the magic of the train in the Railway Garden.

Experience the magic of the train in the Railway Garden.

Let childhood nostalgia wash over you this holiday season at Frederik Meijer Gardens. As you stroll through Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World’s 42 cultural displays and trees, take a detour into the Victorian Parlor to see the magic of the Railway Garden. Marking the beginning of the holiday season, this unique feature has been a winter tradition for nine years and counting.

“When you walk into the space, you become part of it. The garden is taking place above, below, all around you–and it’s constantly changing,” said Steve LaWarre, Director of Horticulture. “Plants start and finish blooming, trees drop leaves and needles, plantings grow. It takes on a different feeling week to week.”

A miniature Rosa Parks Circle in our Railway Garden.

A miniature Rosa Parks Circle in our Railway Garden.

The horticultural elements bring life to the display of trains and trolley, but take note of the all-natural, manmade buildings which create a landscape for the track to curve and loop around. As part of this year’s celebration, we’ve unwrapped five new gifts – the last of these miniature buildings in the Railway Garden.

Years ago, guests voted on which Grand Rapids landmarks they would like to see made into the Railway Garden scenery. Over the past three years, 15 new buildings have been added to the intricate cityscape. The final five iconic attractions are finally installed and include: Fifth Third Ball Park, Jersey Junction, Paddock Place (now Mangiamo!), Meyer May House and Voigt House. These last additions bring the total building count to 30 whimsical structures.

The Fifth Third Ball Park is the latest edition - just look at those tiny baseball fans!

The Fifth Third Ball Park is the latest edition – just look at those tiny baseball fans!

Whether it’s the whir of trains and trolleys or nostalgic Grand Rapids landmarks that draw you in, let the thoughtful horticultural design and smells of cedar and evergreen bring a bit of childhood fantasy to the here and now.

What’s your favorite part of the Railway Garden?