For a tour of a few Michigan gardens we had Katie's midwife, Susan, as a guide and coordinator.
We started at her own dairy farm where her rambling yard revealed the blooms of a Midwestern summer.
The flowers that were at the peak of bloom were these tall, beautiful garden phlox. We saw them in a number of colors this day including bright pink. I feel inspired to add some to my own gardens.
Touring gardens is an especially fun activity when there are little surprises and hidden places to discover. Sue's vegetable garden was behind a charming gate and was accented with art made with found objects.
Susan's garden was distinctly farm style and well-established.
But the whimsical touches made this garden unique.
Our next stop was at the home of another of Susan's birthing moms. This young mom had a well-fed two month old baby as well as two other small children but still had time to grow a lush vegetable garden. The property was formerly a hog farm and the ground was so fertile it produced the tallest asparagus I have ever seen.
A third garden was at the home and studio salon of a massage therapist. We entered her gardens through this massive and lushly grown grape arbor.
It provided a quiet shady spot for a hot July day.
The sprawling garden had an interesting style and layout. It seemed very unplanned and random in its plantings and yet held its own charm.
There were hundreds of varieties of plants growing in small plots. There were no long farm rows in this garden.
The Michigan rains produced some tall amaranth!
This garden had vegetables, perennials, culinary and medicinal herbs, as well as annual flowers and vines planted shoulder to shoulder.
Adding more charm were the flocks of free range chickens roaming with their broods of chicks.
Katya, the gardener, was experimenting with this planting of cucumbers and lettuces.
The cucumber vines grew on the wire shading the lettuces from the hot mid-summer sun and the wire made the cucumbers easier to find and pick as they hung down from the vines. Another inspirational idea!
These inspirational Michigan gardens were very different from any Oregon gardens I have toured. Wandering through them was a great way to spend a hot summer day.