Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Hidden Jewel

Bougainvillea 'Orange Ice'
I know my husband loves me. Our Valentine's Day was a trip to Hidden Lake Gardens in Tipton, Michigan. He is a plant person, but definitely enjoys outdoor plants more. He doesn't understand why we go to see houseplants when we are surrounded at home. Whatever..... It was cold but we did see some plants outside, as well. We had the conservatory all to ourselves, and it was so nice and peaceful.
Hidden Lake Gardens was donated to Michigan State University, then college, by Harry A. Fee in 1945. At that time it was only 200 acres, but has grown to encompass 755 acres. The conservatory was added in 1968. Of course, this is my favorite part. The garden also includes a fabulous conifer, hosta, and bonsai collection. We go there a few times a year and there is always something different to see. 
There are 3 different areas of the conservatory; the Arid Dome, the Temperate House, and the Tropical Dome. 

The Arid Dome

My 6'5" husband by the Agave salmiana.

Bowiea volubilis or climbing onion
The Arid Dome was just recently renovated with help from the owners of the Root System Nursery, a specialty cactus and succulent nursery in nearby Jonesville. When they refurbished the Arid house they kept some of the larger plants, which were irreplaceable. The picture of the agave and opuntia above with my husband, shows how large the plants are-he is 6'5" tall. All the plants have labels with the botanical name and the common one if available.

Euphorbia millii hybrid or Crown of Thorns

Close-up of Echeveria 'Blue Waves'

Echeveria 'Bluewaves'
Crassula ovata or Jade plant in full bloom.

The Temperate House

2011 Spring display

The next area is the Temperate house and it contains begonias, orchids, camellias, bromeliads, and more. It is also the house where they host seasonal displays. It is cooler than the Tropical dome and less humid. There are a large amount of plants in bloom here and the cooler temperature helps the flowers last longer.

Streptosolen jamesonii or Marmalade Bush

The begonias were in full bloom last week. The flowers are just a bonus to the fabulous foliage of begonias.

Begonia flowers

Begonia masoniana or Iron Cross Begonia

Pelargonium 'Mrs. Cox'

There were flowers on these geraniums, but who needs flowers when a plant has foliage like this!

Pelargonium 'Vancouver Centennial'



 Kohlerias are gesneriads, cousins to African violets.



As I have described in a previous post, there is a difference between the Thanksgiving and  Christmas cactus. This is a huge, old Christmas cactus blooming, with many more blooms to come. They bloom later than the Thanksgiving cactus, obviously even into February and from the amount of buds, even into March.  


The Tropical Dome

The view looking up to the top of the dome.

Philodendron leaf  

The Tropical dome is very warm and humid. It has plants like cocoa, citrus, papaya, coffee, and vanilla.

Trevesia sundaica blossoms

Anthurium spathe and flower.

Papaya plant

We had a great day at Hidden Lake Find a conservatory near you, and take a day to visit. There is nothing like a warm, blossom filled conservatory to warm you up, and soothe the soul in the dead of winter.


  1. Nice pictures! I love visiting tropical gardens in the winter, it makes me feel so good. I wish my house could look like that! :-)


  2. Thanks Amy! I love visiting conservatories, also. My house does look a little like this..Lol

  3. I haven't been to hidden lake gardens in years - glad you gave us a glimpse of the conservatory

  4. I've been there a couple of times and LOVE it. I happened upon a red Kohleria in bloom alongside the road near Mindo, Ecuador in January. You should have seen how excited I got. I can't believe I saw it, because the vegetation was so thick. Such a pretty flower. Your photo in this blog post is scrumptious!

    1. Thanks Kylee! I love Hidden Lake and we went there again yesterday. I posted about it today. I can't imagine seeing plants in their native habitat-how awesome!

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  6. We just visited yesterday and LOVED it! Your pictures are great!