Posted on Oct 07, 2020
Our presenters on the 7th were Michele Hodges, President of the Belle Isle Conservancy and Richard Thomas, of the Garden Club of Michigan.
Belle Isle consists of 982 acres.  broken down into three zones: (1) Formal. which includes the fountain and Aguarium; (2) Natural, which is made up of forest, meadows, and wildlife; and (3) Active, which includes the playground and beach.  Its historic  pedigree includes being used by the underground railroad on the way to Canada, having a speakeasy in the Aquarium during Prohibition, and this year’s Covid picture memorial. 
The island has a $300 million capital need and faces constant challenges, including the pandemic, the 4 million visitors, and flooding.  Ms. Hodges tries to operate the Conservancy using the 4-Way Test.
Planting of the Oudolf Garden Detroit began four weeks (after delays due to flooding).  The designer, Peter Oudolf, is a world renowned landscape designer who took on the project after a “love letter” from the Garden Club. 
The 2.5 acre garden has a main area, a rain area, and wetlands.  It’s made up of 15 beds, consisting of 26,000 plants.  The idea is for the garden to be beautiful in every season and for it to invoke an emotional response.
To learn more about the garden, go to