You may have been wondering where I was today. Instead of signing in, I brewed a pot of coffee, took a quick bath, then headed over to Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids. Younger son and his wife bought me a membership for Christmas. I chose today to go for a few reasons. One is I’M GOING STIR CRAZY and had to get out of the house, outside, and into light and fresh air. Another is an exhibit I’ve been wanting to see is ending on March 1 (which will be highlighted in part 2.) Lastly, the BIG EVENT for the gardens every year is the big butterfly hatch, and that will be starting real soon and I don’t want to get caught in that mess.
I pulled out the non-phone camera and picked up batteries on the way out of town, with the hopes that I remembered how to use it! I use it mostly with auto settings, but one setting I needed to remember was macro for the closeups and how to turn the flash on and off — the exhibit prohibited any flash photos.
There was hardly anybody besides volunteers there today. I had the place pretty much to myself which is a rare treat. There is a huge construction of a visitors and convention center going on right now, so it was a long walk to get into the building. One windblown looking lady was leaving as I approached, and I said, “It’s a little windy and chilly today, eh?” She responded, “Once you start walking you’ll be fine.” And she was right. Not sure whether the density of the trees or because much of where I walked was in a lowland or at least sheltered on the sides by hills, but I never got cold at all during the walk.
There are a LOT of sculptures in the sculpture park at Meijer Gardens. If you ever get a chance to visit Grand Rapids, I heartily recommend you come and see it for the sculptures, which range from a foot or two to towering in size.
The name of this one is “Neuron,” by Roxy Paine. It looks just like a giant neuron. Made of stainless steel, the dimensions are 492 x 528 x 624 inches. You can see “Scarlotti” in the mid-background.
“Iron Tree,” by Ai Weiwei is my favorite in the park. I really wanted to see how the iron color has changed since last time and to see how it looks up against a winter landscape. I wasn’t disappointed. Made of iron and stainless steel (the bolts holding the pieces together), its dimensions are 264 x 264 x 264 inches.
Here is a close-up of the bottom of the trunk.
Another favorite of mine is the waterfall (there is another bigger one in the Japanese Garden but I didn’t get to that part of it on my walk today.) The water is still flowing but a lot is frozen. It is beautiful!
This is another beautiful sculpture, but don’t ask me what it is. “Scarlotti” is the creation of Mark di Suvero. It is made of steel, and its dimensions are 304 x 720 x 360 inches. Behind the sculpture you can see the main building of the inside gardens in the distance.
“The American Horse,” by Nina Akamu, is styled on drawings done by Leonardo DaVinci that were incomplete (I think the horse was minus its mane and tail in the drawings.) Nina finished it on paper, constructed a table-sized model, then a bigger model, and then this beauty, which is 24 feet tall. Two horses were made. One is here and one is in Milan, Italy. The horse also has the nickname, “DaVinci’s Horse.”
The sun was trying its best to shine today, but the cloud cover was thick.
Fred and Lena Meijer, the founders of the park, enjoy their gifts to the community 24/7, 365. By Joseph Kinkel, they are made of bronze, with dimensions of 48 x 90 x 35 inches.
This is the entrance to The Japanese Garden, which recently turned 5 years old. It was my first visit to it in winter. I plan on coming back when the cherry grove blossoms.
Another shot of the lovely winter creek.
Here it is again, in greyscale. Which one do you like better, color or greyscale?
This is a wall, outside of the bonsai garden. Unfortunately, the bonsai have been taken in for winter and the area is closed off. DANGIT!
Another one I tried in greyscale.
This has to be some kind of birch tree or maybe ninebark? Whatever it is, it has a lot of character!
The zen garden usually has its gravel raked smooth — but not in the winter! I used the opportunity to get a close-up look at one of the gorgeous boulders usually too far to see well. Isn’t she a beauty!
Here is a close-up of her skin.
Taken at the top of a spiraling walkway, it’s a good spot to take in the garden. In better weather there are paths around the pond and out to “the island” to the right.
Another shot of the gardens. It shows the beautiful bridge leading out to the island.
A real tea house, right here on the edge of the pond. When the gardens opened 5 years ago, I was blessed enough to be able to go inside and see the fine workmanship. Now it is by appointment only and costs $$.
I actually kind of like the picture better in greyscale. What do you think?