Our Gardens

Welcome to the MSU Horticulture Gardens

Our 14 acres of diverse gardens are a superb retreat and resource for gardeners, plant lovers and children of all ages! You can easily get a bit of exercise while walking the displays. You may get garden design ideas, or learn new annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees - or perhaps even a fruit or vegetable new to you. On the other hand, you may just want to relax in a beautiful and refreshing garden setting.

Mission Statement

The mission of The Horticulture Gardens is to promote an understanding of plants and the role they play in our environment and daily lives and provide a place for education, enrichment and delight of all ages.

We are 25 years old!

It's our 25th anniversary at our current location surrounding the Plant and Soil Sciences building on Bogue Street!  Horticultural and botanical gardens have long been a tradition here at Michigan State University. The Gardens surrounding the old Horticulture Building on north campus dated from the 1920s! Though that was a great garden location, in August 1986 the Horticulture Department moved from the old Horticulture Building into the new Plant and Soil Sciences Building (with new at the time, high-tech greenhouses). For the first several years, we maintained the gardens at the old building and planted a few beds of flowers at our new building right along Bogue Street between the side walk and the street. Dr. Will Carlson declared his vision that a “world-class garden” should surround our new building, but there were no university funds to help build it.  Not to be deterred, Dr. Carlson and others were successful in securing donations from the greenhouse and nursery industries and from numerous generous individuals.

MSU Horticulture Gardens 25th Anniversary Video

Watch: The MSU Horticulture Gardens 25th Anniversary Video

A short time later, Jane Taylor envisioned an incredibly unique Children’s Garden that would be located on the new site as well. Jane, with the help of several others including Deb Kinney and other talented designers, developed the components of this amazingly creative space and started a separate fund-raising campaign! As you well know, these efforts were all successful!

On a beautiful summer’s day in 1993, the new “world-class” MSU Demonstration Gardens and 4H-Children’s Garden were formally dedicated. What an achievement by all those involved! What started with dreams became a reality. The passion and commitment of a relatively small group of inspired people had come to fruition. We thank all those who helped plan, fund and build these educational and inspirational gardens. Of course, the effort did not end there! Twenty-five years later, there is a group effort to maintain and improve the gardens!  We have excellent volunteers and an incredible staff.

Our gardens are still largely self-funded.  Consider supporting us!  For more information, see our Garden Giving Page.

IMG_8298Trial Gardens

Left: The MSU Judith A. DeLapa Perennial Garden.  Right: The Amien Carter Annual Gardens.


Our Gardens

The Michigan 4H Children’s Garden

Archway into the 4h children's garden

With over 60 theme displays, an absolute must see in our gardens. There are mazes, pots of gold, an alphabet garden, Peter Rabbit, and so much more. Located adjacent to the Garden Parking lot, this is a convenient stop for parents with small children!


The Amien Carter Annual Gardens

A fountain with trial variety flowers in the foreground

A colorful display where we trial hundreds of the newest annuals for color and texture. Learn the rare and the unusual, the bright and the cheery. This is truly a learning laboratory since all of the new plants are labeled. The Carter Annual Gardens house the MSU Annual Trials - a research effort led by Dr Kristin Getter and Daedre McGrath to evaluate new plant introductions.

 The Judith A. DeLapa Perennial Garden

Flower beds on the right, grass to the left

The collections and displays are always evolving in the Judith DeLapa Perennial Gardens. With ten island beds and five border beds, the garden showcases a wide variety of native and hybrid perennials that perform well in our climate and soils. Displays feature both shade and sun gardens, demonstrate combinations for both the homeowner and landscape professional and offer a chance to see over 500 perennials in a garden situation. There is always something blooming in the DeLapa Perennial Garden!

The Clarence E. Lewis Landscape Arboretum

A bench amongst trees and landscape

Explore the 7-acre Landscape Arboretum and see Japanese Gardens, English Gardens, Fruits Displays, a small native plant prairie, and more! It is a peaceful delight to wander these wonderful gardens.


The VIP Garden (Vegetables and Insect Pollinators)

The bee hotel with flowers in the foreground

Our native bee hotel is located in the VIP Garden. This year, the VIP Garden will be dedicated to the "Weird and Wonderful" - a garden devoted to botanical oddities from around the world, including culinary curiosities for your kitchen garden, painful and poisonous plants for your wicked garden, and even X-rated varieties for your adults-only garden. These are plants that will truly make you say “Wow!”! Come check it out!

The Frank’s Nursery and Crafts Rose Garden

Pink roses next to a walking path

Take a fragrant walk through the roses. They are generally at their peak in June and July. We sometimes post rose update reports on our web site.

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