The Native Plants and Natural Communities Garden emphasizes the richness and diversity of Michigan's natural flora. The Wakelin-McNeel Woodlot and a pond served as the foundation for the design and a pavilion was constructed, surrounded by a colorful garden of annuals and that serves as a gathering place for special events and garden activities.
This Native Plants and Natural Communities Garden was completed during the summer of 2012 and takes up about half of the botanical garden in size. It holds one of the largest collections of Michigan native species, including woody plants, forbs, grasses and aquatic plants. The Wakelin-McNeel Woodlot also serves as the home for spring ephemerals that were originally on the property.
"Signage has been placed to identify plants by their common name, scientific name, family and place of origin. It is a great educational tool for visitors to become familiar with plants that are native to Michigan. They will find the garden to be a beautiful outdoor place to study, relax or observe and enjoy nature," says Patti Travioli, curator of the botanical garden and biology greenhouse manager.