Our 2002 Road Trip, Part 3 of 5: The Meijer Garden Department

Meijer Gardens Cacti!

We’ve posted several photo galleries over the years starring just flowers and plants, but none looked as cool or as lethal as these echinocactus barrels.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: a flashback to our fourth annual road trip, a meetup in Grand Rapids with fellow Star Wars fans for opening day of Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones. Before and after the movie, we spent our first time in Michigan hitting a few key tourist attractions in the vicinity.

In between movie showings, our friends Katrina and Shannon had us detour for one of the largest attractions in Grand Rapids, the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Opened in 1995 courtesy of the folks at Meijer — one of our larger big-box grocery/department store chains here in the Midwest — its 28 acres were donated to the city for use as a grand celebration of cultivated art and greenery. According to Wikipedia, Meijer Gardens has more than quadrupled in size since our 2002 visit. Our once in-depth examination is now an obsolete scratch across the surface of the flora and fancies that are surely like a standing army today. I suppose that’s what we get for arriving unfashionably early.

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Happy First Birthday, Free Earth Day Plant!

Earth Day Potted Palm!

On Earth Day 2015 as a fun perk, my employer marked the occasion by giving out free tiny potted palms to every home office employee. They were three inches tall, probably the kind that professional greenhouses give out to kids visiting on field trips. Most of them were probably dead within a week.

Just for kicks, I decided to conduct an experiment by seeing what would happen if I actually tried to take care of it. One year later, behold the results.

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2015 Road Trip Photos #46: Presidential Flowers Are Prettiest

Hermitage Garden!

When we planned our visit to Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage in Nashville, we expected American history, Presidential burial sites, preserved or simulated 19th-century living quarters, honest acknowledgment of slavery, and maybe a few war props. We didn’t expect so many pretty flowers.

Rachel Jackson’s sudden death in December 1828 mere weeks before her husband’s first inauguration means she was never officially a First Lady of the United States. Up to that point, one of her prize works was the one-acre garden on their estate, which remains in place to this day with many descendants of the original flora as living, blooming legacies. For longtime MCC readers familiar with our annual spring “Flowers Are Pretty” entries (follow the saga here, here, here, and here) may agree this walk around the Hermitage works well as a bonus chapter in that series.

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More Than Flowers at the Indiana Flower & Patio Show 2016

Dramatic Modern!

A variety of patio design options included this stark, eye-popping Dramatic Modern setup that can be part of your backyard for the high, high price of don’t-even-ask.

In our previous installment, you saw flowers and nothing but flowers from the 2016 Indiana Flower and Patio Show. But the exhibition, sprawled across two buildings at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, has so much more to offer than pretty flower displays. Various vendors offer gardening implements, flower and vegetable seeds, digging advice, contest drawings/telemarketing signups, garage finishing services, gutter-cleaning inventions, non-stick cookware, liquor, chocolate, nuts, coffee cakes, summer sausage, massages, eyelashes, poor abandoned pets, Indianapolis Star subscriptions, and more more more. And if you love aggressive sales pitches, DirecTV bought five separate booths specifically to irritate me, because the four booths they had last year didn’t do the job thoroughly enough, according to their anti-me tone-deaf focus groups.

But enough about marketing peeves. Let the pageantry and shopping begin!

Right this way for candy, characters, patio ideas, animals, and the little old lady who loved every minute of it!

4 Flowers 4 Pretty: Another Flower & Patio Show

Indiana Flower & Patio Show!

It’s that time yet again! Spring is imminent if not premature here in Indiana, and my wife and I compiled a new assortment starring nature’s most colorful objects that rhyme with “powers”. Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Twice per year my wife and I escort her grandmother to one of two special events at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Each November we visit the Indiana Christmas Gift and Hobby Show. Each March the highlight of her month is the Indiana Flower & Patio Show, which features numerous displays of colorful flora, booths where gardeners and homeowners can peruse and pick out their new seeds, plants, implements, and accoutrements for tending and cultivating their yards in the forthcoming spring and summer. Assorted horticulturists and lawn care companies show off bouquets, sample gardens, and ostentatious flowers you’ll wish you owned.

We brought you pretty flower photos in 2013, in 2014, and in 2015, and the sequels will continue until they don’t. Once again I’ll be stepping aside and letting the flowers show themselves off and demonstrate what they contribute to Creation and property values. Not only would I get half the names wrong, but here in America tonight it’s the annual Daylight Savings changeover, the one where clocks spring forward, everyone loses an hour of sleep, and we all spend Sunday grumpy and mumbling. It’s in that mindset that I’m letting easy-to-glance-at pictures outnumber all those thinking words that usually occupy this space.

…that’s too many words already. I’ll stop. Relax and enjoy!

Right this way to scroll through pretty flower photos, Like, and then go back to bed!

2015 Road Trip Photos #27: Jackson Square in Another Light

Jackson Square!

It’s like a prettier Disneyland without the rides or kids or paid stuffed animal cosplayers.

At the end of Day Three, we first laid eyes upon Jackson Square when the sun was on its way out of sight. Some clouds had lingered after a light drizzle that had peppered the city while we were inside Mardi Gras World. The world generally looked gray everywhere we turned. Then we got a good night’s sleep, commenced Day Four, and walked into the idealized sky-blue morning you see above, beckoning us with its possibilities and begging for a photographic do-over.

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