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.”
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.
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?