31 March 2017

Pre-Conference Tour: Oct 11

The Pre-Conference Tour will depart from the Holiday Inn Downtown in Grand Rapids and head south for a full day tour that features a specialty wholesale rhododendron nursery, a large wholesale perennial and ornamental grasses nursery, a retail collectors’ nursery featuring a display garden and finally a serene and beautiful Japanese Garden, the latest addition to the Fredrik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. We will return to the hotel in time to make the short walk to the nearby Eberhard Center for our kick-off event, the Welcome Reception.

Rosebay Nursery is located on 20 acres of what was formerly a Christmas tree farm with over 80+ varieties of Rhododendrons in propagation. The facility is able to grow varieties in either open or protected areas under rows of pines allowing evaluation of differences in hardiness and providing customers with examples under different environments.

Rosebay Nursery is a wholesale nursery with 24 polyhouses for over-wintering of spring orders and 27 Nearing frames for propagation and introduction of new varieties. The owner, and co-founder, Linda Charvat will be celebrating Rosebay’s 40th anniversary in 2017.

Midwest Groundcovers is an industry leader in the propagation of groundcovers, deciduous shrubs, perennials, evergreens and native plants. The 300-acre Fennville, Michigan nursery was purchased in 1986 and container production began in 1994. Midwest’s Michigan nursery produces all perennials, ornamental grasses and Vinca. Propagation is done from cuttings, field divisions and seed.

Blue Horizon Nursery is a retail nursery established in 2003 by Bill Snyder and Paul Surian. The nursery is nestled on 56 acres with over 10 acres of native wetlands in addition to a 1 acre pond.

The nursery boasts large display gardens and you are encouraged to use your lunch break to stroll the Display Gardens where you will see hundreds of dwarf conifers and other rare plants. There will also be structured tours of the propagation area where many of the rarer plants are produced for future sale. Bill and Paul are collectors who seek out unusual plants with extraordinary characteristics. You will find a number of their introductions throughout the nursery grounds.

Meijer Gardens’ Japanese Gardens
The Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden is the most recent addition to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. The eight-acre project opened in June 2015. It was designed by Hoichi Kurisu and features traditional components such as waterfalls, ponds, elevation changes, authentic Japanese structures and a functioning teahouse. The Japanese Garden, located in the middle of the campus, embraces the essence of traditional Japanese gardens—tranquility, contemplation and beauty while incorporating contemporary sculpture by international artists. Seven works, including works by Anish Kapoor and Zhang Huan have been installed. Docents will be stationed throughout the Japanese Garden to answer your questions.

While pre-tour attendees will be encouraged to visit the Japanese Garden, they will also have the option to explore the rest of the 158-acre botanical garden and outdoor sculpture park. Considered one of the nation’s most significant sculpture and botanic experiences, Meijer Gardens includes Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; five indoor theme gardens; outdoor gardens, nature trails and boardwalk;sculpture galleries and permanent sculpture collection; library; café and gift shop. An optional tram tour will be available. You won’t have time to see it all so you might want to explore your options ahead of time HERE!

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