Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve
13988 Range Line Road, Niles, MI 49120 Website: www.fernwoodbotanical.org
This beautiful public garden is open May through October: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm, and Sunday, noon to 6 pm; November through April: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday, noon to 5 pm.
The garden is circular, surrounded by separate beds in concentric rings for herbs such as edible herbs for teas, salads, soups, and seasonings, Vermifuge herbs for insect repellents, strewing on medieval floors, etc., herbs for dying, and so on. Also contains raised sensory beds along the back of the garden for handicap accessibility.The centerpiece is a stone dovecote, modeled after one at Tryon Palace, a plantation in Virginia, surrounded by circular benches and tuteurs (trellises). The sensory garden along the back contains built in planting boxes that a wheelchair can fit under, framed with wattle fencing along the very back border. Dwarf boxwood parterre laid out in octagonal patterns resembling a “flower garden” quilt pattern, accented by one pink and one white dogwood on each side of the dovecote. Paths and steps are made with bluestone. READ MORE…
The herb garden was designed by former Fernwood director, Stan Beikmann, for whom the garden is named, during the winter of 1988-89, and rededicated in July 2012. The garden, located in Zone 5, possessing a sandy loam soil, was designed to accommodate and teach handicapped and people of all ages, allowing visitors to sit in the center, and pass around herbs for smelling and tasting. While the garden does not have a plant collections, it is used extensively for educational purposes and is the most popular location for weddings at Fernwood. Visitors sit in the herb garden to enjoy annual outdoor summer concerts.
The Michiana Unit of the HSA maintains the herb garden at Fernwood on the second Wednesday of the month when the weather cooperates. Our unit hosts an annual tea at Fernwood each Spring to raise money for plants and summer interns to help with the garden, and we occasionally host an “herb station” during the summer months serving herbal refreshments to garden visitors. Eight to ten members attend the workday; volunteering to work in their specialty areas, with assistance.