Seasonal Stars

Harvest a bounty of fall inspiration at Frederik Meijer Gardens, from cooking with mint and lemongrass to crafting gourds and intriguing bonsai creations.
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Long Border
Photography by William J. Hebert

Artful sparks for seasonal home décor start at Frederik Meijer Gardens this autumn during several fall festivals, shares Julie Francke, curator of horticulture education.

This year on Sept. 14 and 15, the Herb and Gourd Fest spotlights elderberry, parsley, mint, lemongrass and bay. While members of the Midwest Michigan Herb Association offer cooking tips via on-site demonstrations, seasoned artisans from the Michigan Gourd Society present hands-on decorating techniques such as chip carving, transferring patterns, wood burning and applying clay and dye finishes to an array of locally-grown options.

One of the things most unique about the art of bonsai is that the artist’s ‘work’ is never finished.
— Julie Francke

An annual celebration, “Chrysanthemums and More” showcases hundreds of flowering plants inside and out from Sept. 20 to Oct. 27. Peruse varieties featured along the winding Scenic Corridor and Seasonal Display Greenhouse indoors, and uncover more ideas at the English Perennial, Michigan Farm and Volunteer Tribute gardens.

October 12 and 13 marks the Fall Bonsai Show.

Bonsai Tree
Photography by Tim Priest

“One of the things most unique about the art of bonsai is that the artist’s ‘work’ is never finished,” Francke notes. “The bonsai continues to grow and change, and the artist needs to keep the long-term vision in mind while being able to respond to expected and unanticipated ‘opportunities.’ For example, if a branch dies do you remove it, fashion it into jin (deadwood), or completely rethink the style of the tree? A healthy tree will often grow too vigorously — buds can quickly grow into long shoots.”

When purchasing a bonsai for inside enjoyment, she added, choose an indoor tropical species. Many bonsai — junipers, pines and boxwood, for example — must be grown outdoors and kept in an unheated area during winter.

Learn more at meijergardens.org, miherb.org, mababonsai.org and michigangourdsociety.org.

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