Mother Nature at Her Best (with a lot of help from the best gardeners in the world)! 7/18/2011

I just love flowers.  All flowers – even those that are considered “weeds”.  It doesn’t really matter what color – even beautiful green foliage  is a flower in my book.  They can be the “wild” variety or hybrids so cultivated they have names a mile long.  Doesn’t matter – I love flowers.

I spent an hour or so last week with Cathy in the gardens below the Grand Hotel.  We strolled around the pool area, then visited the Rose Walk and shade garden.  The flowers and greenery were so vibrant that we felt as though we had found Dorothy’s Yellow Brick Road and entered the Wizard of Oz movie during the scene where everything changes from black and white to glorious Technicolor.

You know by now that I don’t know flower names, and even though Cathy is going to try and help me out here, I’m sure we will be naming something incorrectly (where IS that Mary when I need her!).  Anyway, here we go . . .

Cathy was hoping the peonies would still be blooming profusely at the Grand, but they had just passed their peak. Nevertheless, we found a few blossoms that would still win prizes in a peony flower show.

It seems the theme was "shades of pink, purple, and white" in the beds along the white fence that enclosed the pool area.

Happy little zinnias were smiling everywhere.

I believe this is Victoria Blue Salvia.

I remember this type of Lantana growing in my grandmother's garden in Georgia. My Lantana in Georgia is yellow, but this pink and yellow variety has always been my favorite.

I don't know the name of this delicate pink blossom, but I sure thought it was lovely. Perhaps it's simply a peony that had reached middle age.

The poolhouse of the Grand Hotel is nestled into a grove of trees and surrounded by gardens.

The Rose Walk stretches from the pool area up to the steps that carry you to the portico where guests disembark from taxis and carriages.

John Cabot Climbing Roses entwine the rustic lamp posts along the walk. Note to self: Slip down the hill one evening and photograph the glowing lamps after night has fallen.

I believe this is a Care-Free Beauty Rose.

I never thought it could be possible, but the shade garden is even more lush this summer than it was when I photographed it last August. The Hostas are unbelievable!

Again, clueless. I bet my reader Jeff knows what every one of these plants are.

Cathy - admiring the gardens.

One stray Day Lily among the green and purple.

"Cathy," I said. "The leaves on this plant look like Geranium leaves." Cathy gave me a look that said, "Will you get a grip!" But she didn't know what it was either.

Profuse foliage and flowers overlooking white benches.

The Grand pool, where the vintage film "This Time for Keeps" was filmed (Esther Williams) is just over this white fence.

A peek into the pool house.

A beautiful shaded path back to Cadotte Avenue.

As we walked down the trail, Cathy remarked, "Isn't it amazing that just yards from one of the most elegant hotels in the world, you almost feel as though you're walking through a primeval forest."

The Grand Lady on the Hill.

Cathy and Charlie are leaving Monday morning, and I’ll be writing this week about the rest of their visit with us.  You’ll be getting more than photos this week, so come on back Tuesday for lots more stories.  Please keep these two in your prayers as they travel back to New Orleans.  They sure have enjoyed the wonderful cool weather we’ve had – although the last two days have been pretty warm.  It’s all relative though – 80 is a lot cooler than 102!  We always so enjoy their visits, and we look forward to them coming back next summer!

See you tomorrow!

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23 thoughts on “Mother Nature at Her Best (with a lot of help from the best gardeners in the world)! 7/18/2011

  1. I am always fasicanated by all of the flowers and the beautiful gardens on the Island. Every year I take some pictures because I want to duplicate them at home but I don’t even know where to begin! The gardens are just breathtaking! And prayers are sent for your friends safe travel!

  2. I only have one word “WOW”! I love the Grand’s flower gardens especially the rose walk. Love the little sitting areas in between the plants and love the pool house. Spent a little time in the hot tub by the pool which required going through the pool house.

    Cathie and Charlie, have a safe trip home!

  3. Oh, they are in for some nasty hot weather down South! Hope their trip is uneventful and quick.

    I try my hand at gardening, so I know how much work all that beauty requires. I am in awe of the gardeners who work on all the beautiful gardens on the island – large and small, private and public. They do amazing things with plants and flowers!

    *(Yes, that pink one is a peony – just a different type. They come in different shapes as well as colors. And the ones you think look like low growing geraniums, well, they might be. We have a perennial geranium that is a low growing spreader. You might be learning more than you thought about flowers!)

  4. Oh boy, I guess I have some IDing to do!!

    Second pic, that is tall verbena mixed with some petunias. And that is definitely Victoria Blue Salvia.

    Those are peonies. A lot of peonies that are common are double peonies (Karl Rosenfeld are doubles, like on French Lane, Sarah Bernhardt is another common double.) That is just a peony that is not a double (and has been open for a little while, good eye there!).

    In the picture you mentioned me that looks like just another kind of salvia that is purple and behind are just basic allium (ornamental onions) which are fading.

    Across from Cathy tall in blue is delphinium (larkspur).

    And what you thought looked like geraniums…well there are geraniums in that photo! The blue flowers on the right are perennial geraniums (cranesbills) along with astilbe buds at the bottom, and the yellow flowers with the “geranium” leaves are actually a type of ligularia…I THINK.

  5. Love the beauty of Mackinac Island! We (my wife and 2 kids) will be coming up in August for 5 days. We look forward to it so much every year, and now our kids (ages 8, 10) look forward to it as much as us. We’ve been to the island every year for the last 16 years. It’s our time to let the stress of every day life melt away!!!!

  6. Beautiful tour of the GRAND flowers (and yes, WHERE was Mary?).
    Charlie and Cathy have a safe trip. I will look forward to reading more of your posts on the blog. What a morning to be leaving. You can’t see a thing in this soup of fog and I’m sure there are LOTS of sailboats out there coming in from Chicago for Yacht Races.

  7. I’m with you, Brenda! i love ALL the flowers, whether they are weeds or not. I have some beautiful blooms in my garden and my friend (the “gardner”) says they are weeds! Oh well……….they’re still blooming!

  8. Can a non Grand Hotel guest visit the hotel gardens? I have thought about going down to look at the gardens but didn’t know if I was allowed. When I was on the island in May I paid the fee to go inside the Grand but there wasn’t too many plants flowering yet in the gardens. Thanks for the info!

  9. Brenda,

    I found 45 synonyms for gorgeous and every one of them apply to your blog today. Thank you so much for something so beautiful to look at.

    I wish a safe trip for Charlie & Cathy, but I’m sorry they have to return to the cauldron of heat and humidity. I wish they could have stayed on the Island until at least September.

  10. Hi Bree The one that looks like geranium leaves I believe is Lady’s Mantel, it make a great filler for floral arrangments and lasts a long time when cut. Marge

  11. Bree, maybe you could take outside photo of where you live(yourcondo). I would love to see it! I know it must be lovely! Loved the garden pictures of the Grand Hotel
    Pool area. Stayed there and never had time to check it out! Crazy. Next visit!

  12. Beautiful flowers at the Grand. I love wandering around and checking them out too. Thanks for all the picture.

    Safe travels for Cathy & Charlie.

  13. The flowers are baeutiful!!!!I am enjoying the time up here on mackinac Island… I got to extend my visit this time as my mom needed help with stuff around the house. Going downtown tomorrow to go to dinner and play BIngo!!!!! won 100 last week, lets see if I am lucky again

  14. Thanks for all the well wishes for happy travels….seems to have worked well. Staying overnight in Indianapolis with no delays and moderate traffic. As usual beautiful pictures of all the flowers and I’ve learned a lot of names from all of you. Usually I just call them damnphidiums. We miss the island (and certain occupants) already and are not looking forward to the heat of home.

  15. I wish I could feel those Island breezes. 100 here in Kansas City with heat index of 110. I have a few flowers that are braving the heat to still show off their blooms but lots of things give up by now. It’s a joy to see your photos.
    Did you hear anymore about the Fudge Festival? I heard that Kathy Lee was doing a segment on it on her morning show.

  16. Sorry I’ve been out of touch….craziness at work! Just wanted to let you know that the leaf that “looks like a geranium” in the Wedding Garden is indeed Lady’s Mantle. Marge has a good eye to correctly identify that! Hope to see you around town sometime soon.

  17. I was on Mackinac Island last week when our college girlfriend gathering was held in Cheboygan. It just happened that I stood in the Grand’s cupola looking over the grounds and pool where my hubby and I swam on our honeymoon 42 years ago that very day. It is so beautiful there, and I took pictures of flowers over and over. I just love it there. Thank you for your beautiful blog.

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