Lansing, Michigan USA
Cooley Gardens belongs to the City of Lansing and is located just south of Lansing's central business district at Capitol Ave and Main St. Cooley Gardens is an eclectic garden, typical of formal estate gardens in the early part of the 20th century. It is composed of garden rooms enclosed by shrubbery, each with a different theme of planting. Within a formal structure the plantings have the informal exhuberance of an English cottage garden: roses tumbling together with perennials spilling out of their beds and stately hedges providing a sense of order. Expansive open spaces where concerts and weddings are held contrast with small intimate areas where the visitor intimately experiences the plantings.
Weddings are a favorite activity in the Gardens and summer dates often fill up fast. Guidelines for weddings and who to contact for making reservations can be found at the Department of Parks and Recreation website.
Phone #: 517-483-4277
In 1984, a group of area residents recognized that Cooley Gardens was something special and decided to form Friends of Cooley Gardens. The future of the Gardens had been threatened by changing planning policies and patterns of land use. The neighborhood of once- grand residences surrounding the park had deterioated and the recreational facilities of the Scott House to the south of the Gardens had been sold to General Motors. The Gardens were neglected but not forgotten. The group dedicated itself to improving the Gardens and restoring them to their original beauty. With the support of the City of Lansing, the Gardens are once again a destination for residents and out-of-town-visitors.
David Tarrant, host of the TV show "The Canadian Gardner", called Cooley Gardens "up there in the realm of great gardens in America."
The Gardens are a modest-sized park of just over an acre but within its boundaries lies a wealth of horticultural deversity featuring many rare and unique plants. There is an extensive peony collection and the rose garden features David Austin English roses and classic ol roses interplanted with a lavish mixture of perennials in the style old-fashined cottage gardens. Irises, hostas, hydrangeas, and columbines are but a few of the many interesting plant collections. Innovative annual plantings and unusual conifers are also featured. Visitors to the Gardens can always find inspiration for their own landscapes.
Cooley Gardens was established in 1938 with the gift of the land to the City of Lansing to be used solely as a city park from Eugene F. Cooley, a well-known Lansing industrialist. The initial design for the gardens was created by Edward H. Laird of Birmingham, Michigan, noted landscape architect. Construction of the gardens was started in 1940. By 1942, the major work was completed and the gardens were dedicated to "the horticultural education and pleasure of garden lovers."
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