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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Dow Gardens- Naturalistic Landscapes

One of the things that amazed me most at Dow Gardens is the emphasis on trees. Designing with trees means being able to see at least 50 years into the future and imagine what those shapes and textures and tones are going to look like. I suppose there is software now that would allow you to do this. But when Dow Gardens was created, the designer had to see it in his mind. Maybe he would sketch his vision.

Today, I want to show you some naturalistic landscapes. I'm not calling them natural because they are all planted and manipulated. I'm not even sure the waterways are natural. Certainly the smaller ones on the property were created artificially.

landscape at Dow Gardens

Some, like the one above include manicured lawns. Others, like the one below just beckon you to come find a trail through the woods.

landscape at Dow Gardens

Hard to believe this is all designed and created for the effect, isn't it?

landscape at Dow Gardens

Here's another that looks completely "wild."

landscape at Dow Gardens

The textures alone make this one yummy!

landscape at Dow Gardens

I'm working hard and having a blast at the writer workshop. Tomorrow is the last day.

See Dow Gardens- Branches
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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Dow Gardens - Architecture

There are still a couple of days of my seminar, and time for blogging is limited. I'll give you another quick look at Dow Gardens today. Herbert Dow is the man who founded Dow Chemical Company. His home is in the center of the Gardens. It's basically a Craftsman bungalow style, but huge. Tours are possible, but not the day I was there.

Herbert Dow house

One of his sons, Alden, grew up and became an architect. He also liked to experiment with creating new materials. Apparently he invented the tiles that form the siding for his house, near one of the edges of the Garden. Yes, the water is right up there practically level with the patio. Or do you call it a dock in this case? At any rate, the lines of the roof are interesting.

Alden Dow house

Here's another view of Alden's home.

Alden Dow house

Now I have to scoot and do my writing assignment for tomorrow.

See Dow Gardens
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Monday, June 18, 2018

Hikers Haven

Sunday, I spent the day with trail friends Connie and Jerry. Jerry has hiked the Appalachian Trail. They are both long-time volunteers for the North Country Trail, and Jerry helped build the Midland to Mackinac Trail. They both also do trail maintenance on some of those miles.

hikers haven

I was welcomed and well-fed. We went to church together. After a hot afternoon, we decided to forego dinner in favor of ice cream. Perfect choice! I think the three flavors we ended up with were raspberry cheesecake, Scout mint chocolate, and turtle cheesecake.

eating ice cream

My next hiking plan may be starting to simmer. We'll see.

Then I was off to my next destination, Interlochen, where I am now.

In other news: I don't have my assignment for tomorrow finished... have to get back to work.

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Dow Gardens- Branches

One of the interesting aspects of Dow Gardens that sets it apart from some others is that it was planned with heavy emphasis on trees. This leads to a couple of unusual features. The one I'm sharing today is interesting branches.

There's not much rhyme or reason to my choice of pictures. They are simply views I liked where the picture turned out reasonably well.

interesting branches at Dow Gardens

There were lots and lots of these trees that grow in a widely spreading clump/cluster. I never did find a label for what they are (lots of exotic species in here), and I suspect they may have been pruned when young to emphasize the growth pattern. But they create peek-a-boo views from one section to another that are appealing. You can't quite tell in the photo what is beyond, but it is a waterfall.

interesting branches at Dow Gardens

Next up is a bronze beech. These have all the loveliness of a regular beech, but the leaves stay dark purple-bronze all summer.

bronze beech at Dow Gardens

I liked this hint of the rocks at pond edge and the bridge through the abstract shape formed by the branches in this one.

interesting branches at Dow Gardens

And this branch hanging over a grassy space seems impossibly long

interesting branches at Dow Gardens

Finally, although you could argue that this picture is more about the rocks, I like the contract between the roundness of those rocks and the lines of the branches.

interesting branches at Dow Gardens

In other news: I'm spending the day with some trail friends and will be heading to Interlochen Fine Arts Camp tomorrow. Stay tuned.

See Dow Gardens- Just Getting Started
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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Dow Gardens- Just Getting Started

Long day, all good. Need to get to bed, so I'll just give you a quick opener of the Dow Gardens in Midland, Michigan. Not even any explanation tonight. Sorry. Gotta catch some zzzs.

These are just three of the most formal sections of walkway/bridges sprinkled around the 110 acres.

red bridge at Dow Gardens

This one has its picture taken more often, I think.

half circle bridge at Dow Gardens
This is a short walkway section with a formal appearance. However, a great deal of the landscaping was done purposefully to make it look informal and natural. More on that another day.

walkway lined with flowers Dow Gardens

This was the activity I chose for the day at the Michigan Outdoor Writers Association Conference. Wonderful place. More on the writing later too.

See Matthaei Botanical Garden
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