Last weekend, by chance, I found an amazing secret garden in Lansing, Michigan. The Scott Sunken garden is located at the corner of Washington and Main. This beautiful garden is nestled between I-496 and a huge General Motors plant, an unlikely place for such a beautiful garden.
The garden was created by Richard H. Scott in the 1930′s. Scott was a prominent Lansing businessman who eventually became General Manger of the REO Motor Car Company established by Ranson E. Olds.
The garden is small in size, measuring approximately 51 feet by 79 feet. The center lawn area is 28 feet by 45 feet and is surrounded by limestone walls and raised beds. The east side of the garden has a small water pond and grotto. The garden became a show place for a huge variety of plants including bulbs, perennials, and annuals. The limestone walls provided the perfect home for the large collection of Sedum that grew in its cracks and crevices.
The garden fell into a state of neglect after the death of Scott’s widow in 1969. Thankfully, the garden was restored by the Garden Club of Greater Lansing in 1985. They referenced photographs of the original garden to help with the restoration efforts.
The Garden Club of Greater Lansing maintains the garden today and keeps the garden in tip top shape.
This image is taken from outside the main limestone wall looking toward the central features of the garden, the grotto and water pond. When Scott purchased his 17-room Georgian colonial home, he also purchased the adjacent property including the former home of Edward Cahill. Scott razed the Cahill home and on its foundations, built this garden.
Scott could view part of the sunken garden from the terrace of his home. The Scott home no longer sits on the property. It was demolished in 1965.
As you approach the garden, it remains hidden from view. This image captures the view approaching the west entrance to the garden.
There is a sloping entrance into the garden along the south side as shown in this image.
The raised beds within the sunken garden are full of annuals, perennials, bulbs and shrubs. Several strategically placed yews provide structure to the garden and add color during the winter season.
The view across the garden from the north west corner outside the main wall.
There is a lovely hot colored section in one corner of the raised beds.
Here is another view of the hot colored border.
Here is the view from the south west corner. You can see the railing of the I-496 expressway in the background. That is how close this garden rests to a major highway.
This image is taken from the wall behind the grotto. You can see the south sloping entrance and part of the water pond filled with cat tails and water lilies.
Here is a view looking toward the water pond at the base of the grotto.
I took this photograph from the wall behind the grotto to capture the steps leading up to the pond from above.
Here is a view of the water lilies happily growing in the pond along with the cat tails.
Here we see a familiar design for the steps leading up to the grotto. The design of these rounded steps is a common design seen in gardens during the 1930s.
Here we can see the grotto and the main limestone wall. The stonework is beautiful.
The central plant container in the grotto filled with beautiful hot pink annuals.
View looking toward the south sloping entrance from inside the garden walls.
View looking at the south east corner of the garden from inside the garden walls.
The yews are used to great effect in this garden and serve as anchors of green.
A view from the south wall outside the garden allows a better appreciation of the yews and the structure they provide.
Another view of the south sloping entrance of the garden.
This plaque allows visitors to learn that the garden was restored thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Garden Club of Greater Lansing. They continue to maintain the garden today. The garden is open to the public, so stop by and see it in person.