Earlier this season I took you on a blog walk through Michigan State's Beal Gardens. This is an outdoor botanical garden with a variety of areas -- poison plants, edibles, herbs, and loads of grasses, flowers and what some might call weeds. The university considers it an "outdoor laboratory for the study and appreciation of plants," designed for students in the agricultural/horticultural fields. But it is equally, if not more, popular among the general community.
The garden has lovely spots to stop and simply contemplate.I was completely enamored with this one.
Maybe it's because I love tulips and this display was so bright and cheerful! It made me wish I'd brought my book!
My first visit this year was in early April, and while our spring started early and warm, it relapsed into unseasonably cold. The weather we experienced in early May was more what I would have expected in early April! This time, much more was blooming and there were a lot more people out, too!
Beal Garden has volunteer docents and Ron was on duty during my walk. He was very good at his job, catching up with people and telling them a bit about the garden. He caught up with me, too!
For example, I didn't know the garden began in 1873 by a university professor, William Beal. Or, that it is the oldest continuously operated university botanical garden of its kind in the U.S.
It now contains 2,000 different types of plantings. (Ron said his favorite was the spice verbena, and he was right when he said its fragrance was intoxicating!)
Beal collected species from around the world and was intrigued by Darwin's concept of hybrids, focusing on corn varieties. He also became interested in something called seed viability. In 1879, Beal buried 20 bottles with over 100 seeds in each. The idea was to dig up one bottle every 20 years and plant the seeds to see what germinates and what doesn't.
The project was halted in the 1930s, so it wasn't until 2000, 70 years since the last bottle was pulled from the ground, that the last seeds were planted. In April, a new bottle was unearthed. The seeds were recently planted, the results yet to be discovered. But, of those from the last planting, only one seed germinated.
Which may explain why the cosmos seeds I had left from last year tanked and didn't send up one sprout!
When I visited in April, I was saddened because I thought I'd missed the trillium, one of my favorites. Rick said I was wrong, it was too early. He was right.
And I was rewarded!
I'll have to come back in another month for an update!
It was such a lovely day, I continued my campus walk along the river. It wasn't long before I was greeted by a family of geese. If you count up the goslings, there are 20 there.
I didn't see any other parents with this brood. Either they are extremely prolific, gosling-nappers, or Pied Pipers.
I know -- Canada geese are a terrible mess. But I do love seeing them and their babies!
Squirrels were out in full force.
So were students, fishing in the Red Cedar River. The photo is fuzzy, but you can see this one was a pretty big catch.
And, thankfully, released!
Another family of geese, along with quite a few ducks were taking their morning swim.
They decided to come up on the shore and sample the university's finely manicured grasses!
The geese on campus are so used to people, they barely raise their heads when we come close when passing by. These little fellows had something else on their minds!
I leave you today with a last look at the trillium...
...what may be the last of the lilacs...
And this sweet face.
Yes, I think this time, spring might really be here.