Fall 2015 Travel: Michigan’s Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Celebrates Autumn with Chrysanthemum Exhibition

The “Chrysanthemums And More!” Exhibition Features Vibrant Chrysanthemum Displays, Family-Friendly Activities And More, Now Through To November 1.

Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World to Follow

The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is pleased to present the fall exhibition, “Chrysanthemums and More!” now opening to the public. This exhibition, the largest of its kind in Michigan, features expansive displays of chrysanthemums, fall foliage and family-friendly activities. The exhibition will be on display until November 1.

One of the world’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park (1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525) serves nearly 600,000 visitors annually. Meijer Gardens was recently ranked in the top 100 most-visited art museums worldwide by Art Newspaper, the leading publication in global art news. The 158-acre grounds feature Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory (The Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory); one of the largest children’s gardens (The Lena Meijer Children’s Garden) in the country; arid (Earl and Donnalee Holton Arid Garden) and Victorian (Earl and Donnalee Holton Victorian Garden) gardens with bronze sculptures by Degas and Rodin; a carnivorous plant house (the Kenneth E. Nelson Carnivorous Plant House); outdoor gardens (The Gwen Frostic Woodland Shade Garden, The Leslie E. Tassell English Perennial & Bulb Garden, and The New American Garden); and a 1900-seat outdoor amphitheater (The Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater), featuring an eclectic mix of world-renowned musicians every summer.

The Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

The Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

The internationally acclaimed Sculpture Park features a permanent collection including works by Rodin, Oldenburg, Weiwei, Moore, Serra, Bourgeois and Plensa, among others. Indoor galleries host changing sculpture exhibitions with recent exhibitions by Picasso, Degas, di Suvero, Borofsky, Calder and Dine. In June 2015, the 8–acre Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park opened. Created by renowned designer Hoichi Kurisu, the garden features sculpture by Anish Kapoor, Zhang Huan and Guiseppe Penone, among others.'Chrysanthemums and More!' exhibition

Image provided by

Chrysanthemums in bloom at The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park fall exhibition, “Chrysanthemums and More!” now opening to the public. (Image provided by The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park)

Chrysanthemums in bloom at the

Chrysanthemums in bloom at The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park fall exhibition, “Chrysanthemums and More!” now opening to the public. (Image provided by The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park)

This year’s focus will be on the historical significance of the chrysanthemum to many cultures, including the Japanese people, which ties in with Meijer Garden’s 2015 theme: Welcoming the World. The Japanese prominently place images of bright, golden yellow blooms on the imperial seal of the emperor, and in honor of The Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden, yellow will be this season’s featured color. 

Chrysanthemums and More! is the largest of its kind in Michigan, featuring expansive chrysanthemum displays, fall foliage and family-friendly activities. Indoors, the Seasonal Display Greenhouse features a cascading chrysanthemum-covered wall as the main focal point. Presentations of chrysanthemum spheres, large disbuds and beds of colorful planting complement this display in the nearby Victorian Greenhouse. Outdoors, expansive beds of lush chrysanthemums are arranged in large sweeps of scarlet, purple, orange and gold.

Chrysanthemums & More has become a true fall tradition. Mums provide a bold impact of color that transforms Meijer Gardens,” explained Steve LaWarre, Director Of Horticulture, “We’re brushing landscapes with bursts of gold and yellow in honor of the Japanese tradition.”

Hundreds of mums for the exhibition are gathered in the growing greenhouses, pre-event.

Hundreds of mums for the exhibition are gathered in the growing greenhouses, pre-exhibit at The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park (Image provided by The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park)

Butterfield, Cabin Creek, Hebert

Deborah Butterfield’s Cabin Creek, a sculpture in the permanent collection of the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Known for her craftsmanship and creative use of materials, Butterfield portrays the essence of the creature’s spirit and energy, bringing equine sculpture into contemporary prominence. (Photo by William J. Herbert/Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park )

Visitors will be greeted with chrysanthemums throughout the Grand Entry Garden and Cook Entry Arbor, and delighted by abundant floral arrangements as they walk through the main building. Upon entering the Seasonal Display Greenhouse, a statuesque chrysanthemum column will present itself as the main focal point. Presentations of chrysanthemum spheres, a five-sphere topiary, large disbuds and beds of colorful planting will complement this feature in the nearby Victorian Greenhouse.

Outdoors, expansive beds of lush chrysanthemums will be arranged in large sweeps of orange, purple and gold and will be balanced by ornamental cabbage and kale.

Activities, such as the Fall Bonsai Show, Giant Pumpkins and Hallowee-Ones, are full of family fun throughout the exhibition. Mum Day on October 18 will give visitors a chance to take a walking tour lead by horticulture staff, enjoy informational demonstrations and learn more about the chrysanthemum.

The Taste of the Gardens Café will feature seasonal daily dinner specials on Tuesday evenings, with some seasonal ingredients coming from Meijer Gardens’ own Michigan’s Farm Garden.

Exhibition Programming

Herb & Gourd Fest

Herb & Gourd Fest

Herb & Gourd Fest

Saturday, September 19, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, September 20, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Be inspired with new ways to use herbs and gourds at this year’s Herb & Gourd Fest. Discover a variety of ways to use chives, oregano, turmeric and lemon verbena, and sample foods made with them. Discover this year’s “Herb of the Year,” savory, and learn about the many different types and uses. This event is included with admission to Meijer Gardens.Pumpkins_Hebert

Fall Bonsai Show

Saturday, October 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, October 4, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

See a variety of bonsai, from trees in the early stages of training to lovely older trees, displayed by members from the West Michigan Bonsai Club. Shop for bonsai supplies and trees. Learn about materials and techniques used and vote for your favorite tree. This event is complimentary.

Fall Family Days

Sunday, October 10 and 11, 1 to 4 p.m.

The Lena Meijer Children's Garden at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. (Photo Credit: Michael Barera)

The Lena Meijer Children’s Garden at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. (Photo Credit: Michael Barera)

Visit the Children’s Garden for fall family fun. Activities include something for each of the senses: flower prints in the Kid-Sense Garden, weaving autumn tales in the Storytelling Garden and old-fashioned games in the Log Cabin. This event is included with admission to Meijer Gardens. 

The Lena Meijer Children’s Garden is one of the most interactive children’s gardens in the country. Here children can look through viewing ports to answer questions about sculpture, dig into the sand quarry to uncover information about fossils and build bridges over the Great Lakes water feature. They can explore tree houses, a log cabin, a butterfly labyrinth, a sense garden and a child-sized beaver lodge. Highlighting hundreds of plants as well as whimsical, child-oriented sculptures, it is perhaps the only children’s garden in the United States with natural wetlands running right through the middle of it.

Giant Pumpkins at Michigan’s Farm Garden

Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18, 1 to 4 p.m.

Michigan's Farm Garden at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. (Photo Credit: Michael Barera)

Michigan’s Farm Garden at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. (Photo Credit: Michael Barera)

Weighing in at hundreds of pounds, these pumpkins will amaze kids and adults alike. Enjoy a cooking demonstration (1:30 and 3 p.m.) that will highlight the versatile use of this popular fall gourd. This event is included with admission to Meijer Gardens.

Mum Day

Sunday, October 18, 1 to 4 p.m.

Enjoy walking tours lead by the horticulture staff as well as informational demonstrations. Make a big, eye-catching tissue paper mum choosing from an assortment of fall colors. This event is included with admission to Meijer Gardens.

Hallowee-Ones

Friday, October 23, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Parade at 10:15 a.m.)

Dress your child in costume and enjoy this special event designed for the youngest visitors. Children are invited to join in a costume parade and listen to Halloween-themed stories. This event is included with admission to Meijer Gardens.

The “Chrysanthemums and More!” exhibition is sponsored by The Meijer Foundation and the Botanic and Sculpture Societies of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Michigan Radio serves as the media sponsor. It will be proceeded by the annual Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World, a celebration that takes place every November and December – featuring more than 40 different cultures and customs from around the world, trees and displays both indoors and out, more than 300,000 Christmas lights, horse-drawn carriage rides, visits from Santa and educational activities to coincide with the exhibition. The Railway Garden expands through three lush indoor gardens with a model train traveling past glittering lights and over high trestles. Within the garden are buildings modeled after Grand Rapids landmarks, all handmade of natural materials by Applied Imagination.

The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park opened in April 1995 after 13 years of planning and fundraising by the West Michigan Horticultural Society. In 1990, Fred and Lena Meijer were asked for their support, and they embraced the concept of a major cultural attraction centering around horticulture and sculpture. The original vision– to promote the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of gardens, sculpture, the natural environment and the arts–has turned Meijer Gardens into a top cultural destination in the Midwest region, known internationally for the quality of the art and gardens. Since it opened, it has attracted more than nine million visitors.

Meijer Gardens‘ dream and commitment is to create a legacy of lifelong learning, enjoyment and a rich cultural experience for generations to come. 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; One of the nation’s most significant sculpture and botanic experiences, sculpture galleries and a permanent sculpture collection; library; a café; gift shop; classrooms; and meeting rooms. Both indoors and outdoors, the 158-acre main campus is barrier free and handicap accessible.

The Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory is a five-story, 15,000 square-foot facility featuring rock landscapes, a waterfall and a variety of exotic plant selections. The conservatory houses tropical plants from around the world, including fig trees from India, exotic orchids from Central and South America, Asiatic bamboo and banana trees. Additional indoor gardens include the Kenneth E. Nelson Carnivorous Plant House, Earl and Donnalee Holton Arid Garden (featuring Saguaro cacti), the Earl and Donnalee Holton Victorian Garden, and the Grace Jarecki Seasonal Display Greenhouse.

The outdoor gardens feature four-season plantings that can be enjoyed throughout the year. To foster an educational awareness of the numerous ecosystems in West Michigan, the Wege Nature Trail winds through a forested section while the Frey Boardwalk introduces visitors to the natural wetlands. Featured on these walks are bird watching sites, a tadpole pond and vistas. From watching the snow fall to the leaves changing color, these areas are perfect for experiencing Michigan’s changing landscapes.

The Gwen Frostic Woodland Shade Garden commemorates the artistic influence of this well-known naturalist artist and features woodland plants like ferns, hostas, bleeding hearts, rhododendrons and azaleas. The Leslie E. Tassell English Perennial & Bulb Garden and the New American Garden are two additional outdoor features highlighting the organization’s continuing commitment to horticulture.

The sculpture program at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is composed of both an internationally-acclaimed permanent collection and dynamic exhibition programs. The permanent collection features nearly 300 works including important examples ranging from Auguste Rodin and Edgar Degas, to Henry Moore and Alexander Calder to Louise Bourgeois and Richard Serra. Works are sited in both interior settings such as the conservatories as well as featured outdoors across the gardens and grounds. The greatest concentration of work is featured in a 30-acre sculpture park, which plays host to both colossal and more traditional scale works sensitively sited in a natural environment. Of special interest are recent acquisitions by Ai Weiwei, Lee Ufan and Coosje van Bruggen. In addition, Meijer Gardens hosts three temporary exhibitions every year. A suite of indoor galleries offers approximately 4,000 square feet of display space. For example, major presentations of artists ranging from Magdalena Abakanowicz to George Segal, Dale Chihuly to Anthony Caro have captured widespread critical acclaim. Frequently, temporary exhibitions are complemented by outdoor installations in the lawns of the Balk Specialty Collection Garden or on the Keeler Sculpture Terrace.

In addition, Meijer Gardens hosts three temporary sculpture exhibitions every year. A suite of indoor galleries offers approximately 4,000 square feet of display space. For example, major presentations of artists ranging from Magdalena Abakanowicz to George Segal, Dale Chihuly to Anthony Caro have captured widespread critical acclaim. Many temporary exhibitions are include outdoor installations on the lawns of the Balk Specialty Collection Garden or on the Keeler Sculpture Terrace.

The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden is the most recent addition to Meijer Gardens, which opened in June 2015. The eight-acre project, designed by Hoichi Kurisu, features traditional components such as waterfalls, elevation changes, extensive boulder placement, 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. The design effectively uses space to highlight contrasts between still and rushing water, between quietly intimate spaces and expansive open spaces, and between manicured and natural areas.

The Lena Meijer Children’s Garden is one of the most interactive children’s gardens in the country. Here children can look through viewing ports to answer questions about sculpture, dig into the sand quarry to uncover information about fossils and build bridges over the Great Lakes water feature. They can explore tree houses, a log cabin, a butterfly labyrinth, a sense garden and a child-sized beaver lodge. Highlighting hundreds of plants as well as whimsical, child-oriented sculptures, it is perhaps the only children’s garden in the United States with natural wetlands running right through the middle of it.

Michigan’s Farm Garden is reminiscent of a 1930s family farm. This delightful setting includes an heirloom vegetable garden, an orchard, a barn, a sugar shack, a produce stand, a windmill and a ¾ scale replica of Lena (Rader) Meijer’s childhood farmhouse. Sculptures of farm animals complete the picture.

The Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater is a distinguished venue for the Fifth-Third Bank Outdoor Summer Concert Series and other musical events each year. The outdoor amphitheater boasts brilliant acoustics and tiered lawn seating for 1,900 people. Artists who have been featured on the Meijer Gardens stage include Bonnie Raitt, Steve Miller Band, B.B. King, Lyle Lovett and Willie Nelson.

It is a non-profit organization, privately funded by grants, foundations and individual and corporate gifts. The organization is operated by almost 200 full and part-time staff, more than 800 volunteers and supported by gifts from more than 23,000 member households and many donors.