Windmill Island Gardens and MSU Extension team up to celebrate grand reopening of two popular attractions

Discover Windmill Island Gardens' new signature mocktail, the WIG-a-Rita, and snack on some healthy grilled vegetables during this celebration event on July 30, 2022.

Butterfly on a flower.
Photo by Rebecca Finneran, MSU Extension.

The summer season is already a reason to celebrate, but Windmill Island Gardens and Michigan State University Extension are ready to show off their newly refurbished Smart Pollinator Garden and Windmill Island Gardens’ own community garden right in the heart of Holland, Michigan.

The budding partnership between MSU Extension and Windmill Island Gardens (WIG) has culminated this summer by unveiling the newly redesigned Smart Pollinator Garden, complete with education signage about the importance of conserving our native pollinators. Windmill Island Gardens’ beloved community garden, known fondly as De Gezellige Tuin, has also been beautifully upgraded and re-sited with amenities such as fence to protect against deer browse. Local gardeners rent plots to access the rich, fertile soil, which yields a plethora of fresh, home-grown vegetables.

The grand reopening is scheduled from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, 2022, at Windmill Island Gardens, 1 Lincoln Ave, Holland, MI 49423.

Community connections – De Gezellige Tuin

The community garden represents more than healthy eating to its enthusiastic members. Ottawa County resident Sylvie Crawford expressed it this way, saying, “Gardening at De Gezellige Tuin has been an amazing experience for us as a family. It has given us so many opportunities for learning new skills, making friends and bringing yummy food to our table, and to our friends’ and neighbors’. Living in an apartment with no backyard, the community garden has been the perfect solution for our family to be able to grow food that we can share with others. Caring for our plot at the garden had also done wonders for our mental health, as it brings us so much joy!”

Another grateful resident, Beth Nordyke, noted, “I came from a high rise in downtown Chicago. I didn't think I had an ounce of a green thumb left. To my surprise, I have a pretty fruitful garden coming to life at De Gezellige Tuin! My dad is now in a wheelchair so he is not able to see my garden in person but I send my parents lots of pictures of the progress. It thrills them to know what an impact they had on me and we all share in the joy of what's to come once my vegetable crop is ready for picking.”

Buzzing with life

The warmth of summer has also seen the MSU Extension Smart Pollinator Garden picking up steam with newly planted specimens coming into bloom. The refurbishment process, led by MSU Extension’s Senior Horticulture Educator Rebecca Finneran, involved a new design, weed removal and installation of hundreds of new plants.

MSU Extension Master Gardeners working in the new garden have also had a huge impact. According to Sam Weaver, Windmill Island Gardens horticulture staff, “The partnership with MSU Extension has been really great. Our pollinator garden has never looked better and it has been wonderful working with a great group of dedicated Extension Master Gardener volunteers.”

You’re invited!

To celebrate this partnership, the two institutions will be showcasing their efforts on Saturday, July 30, for a grand reopening event at Windmill Island Gardens, 1 Lincoln Ave, Holland, MI 49423. The event starts at 10 a.m. but from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., guests can sample healthy, grilled vegetables in the community garden space where MSU Extension Smart Gardening volunteers will be helping people learn how to grow and enjoy vegetable gardens at home. The Smart Pollinator Garden space will also feature Windmill Island Gardens new signature mocktail known as the WIG-a-Rita, complete with a salted rim and lime.

Buzz on in to join the fun with MSU Extension’s Master Gardener team who will welcome you to the pollinator garden and provide you with information on how to get your own pollinator garden started at home!

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