Among MSU’s extensive plantings are the Horticulture Gardens (B-110 Plant and Soil Sciences Building, 517/353-3770, www.hrt.msu.edu/our-gardens, dawn–dusk daily, free). The gardens are responsible for transforming a bleak-looking, post-1960 section of campus into a dramatic environment. Once as flat and bare as the newest subdivision, the 14-acre area is now full of pergolas, gazebos, arbors, and topiary. The entrance is off Bogue Street, south of Wilson Road, not far from the Wharton Center. Before venturing into the gardens, pick up a map at the Plant and Soil Sciences Building.
South of the Horticulture Gardens is the year-round Clarence E. Lewis Landscape Arboretum (517/355-5191, www.hrt.msu.edu/clarence-e-lewis-landscape-arboretum, dawn–dusk daily, free), dedicated in 1984 as an instructional arboretum for students interested in landscape development. The ever-growing collection of demonstration gardens experiment with vegetables, fruit, herbs, conifers, and native plants. You’ll also be able to walk through a water garden, a sculpture garden, a Japanese garden, and a topiary garden, among other displays.
Another campus area worth a special stop is the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden (www.cpa.msu.edu/beal), founded in 1873 and believed to be the oldest continuously operated garden of its type in the country. Situated between Red Cedar River and West Circle Drive, this outdoor museum of living plants includes more than 2,000 species arranged by family and economic use, as well as exotic flowering landscape specimens and an enlightening section on endangered plants.
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel