Spring Blooms around Detroit
Story by Sara Srinivasan
Detroit is a beautiful city year-round – but truly shines in spring with the city bursting into color as flowers start to bloom. Much like the rest of the Midwest, Detroit experiences four distinct seasons, including cold winters and mild summers.
While the winters can be harsh, the arrival of spring brings new life to the city, with a wide range of flowers blooming across parks, gardens, and other outdoor spaces – and an equal number of people excited to get out of hibernation to see them.
If you’re planning a trip to Detroit or are a resident looking for some beautiful sights to enjoy, keep an eye out for spring blooms starting in late March to early April, usually lasting through May. For nature lovers, spring is a great time to view wildflowers across Southeast Michigan’s diverse natural landscapes (its rich natural history is one of the area’s best-kept secrets); there are also plenty of parks & other built environments to appreciate more cultivated blooms.
Some of the most popular flowers to look for include tulips & daffodils, redbud blossoms, and magnolia blooms, although there are many other varieties to discover as well. Below, we’ll explore some of the best places to see spring flowers in and around Detroit, as well as some tips for enjoying the beauty of this season to the fullest.
Take a Wildflower Walk on Belle Isle
Detroit’s own “Central Park” in the heart of the Detroit River, Belle Isle has always been a popular place to search for delicate forest wildflowers starting in mid-April. One popular place to start your walk is by the Belle Isle Trailhead near the Athletic Center. The trail, traveling along the waterway which runs through the Isle, includes patches of Trout Lilies, Spring Beauty, Mayapples, Bloodroot, Trillium, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, and more. It is also a great spot to look for migrating warblers and other birds returning from their winter homes.
… Tiptoe Through the Tulips, Too!
Enjoy rows upon rows of tulips and daffodils on colorful display around the Belle Isle Aquarium & Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory. On the South end of the island, beautiful blossoming Cherry trees surround the James Scott Memorial Fountain & Scott Lagoon on the south end of Belle Isle, usually in mid-April. This is perfect for scenic pictures or even a picnic with the Detroit Skyline in the backdrop. Get there during golden hour in the morning or evening for truly stunning views.
You can also enjoy beautiful tulips planted in the heart of downtown at Campus Martius.
Visit Palmer Park to Discover Detroit’s History, Beauty, and Community
Palmer Park is a 296-acre park located on the northwest side of Detroit. The park features hiking trails, a disc golf course, a swimming pool, and several historic buildings, including the Palmer Park Log Cabin. It is also the home to a beautiful community-developed butterfly garden featuring several native Michigan species of wildflower including ironweed, several varieties of aster, wild columbine, swamp milkweed, marsh blazing star, and more.
Stroll through the Stately Henry Ford Estate in Dearborn, Michigan
The grounds of the historic Henry Ford Estate were designed by world-renowned landscape architect Jens Jensen who artfully combined woodlands, meadows, and wetlands into natural designs. The landscape features English-style gardens and diverse natural areas surrounding the historic Ford house built on the Rouge River. The natural areas feature a number of native wildflowers including Trout Lilies, Spring Beauty, Virginia Bluebells, vibrant Redbud tree blossoms, and more. In the summer months, find wild-growing native waterlilies at the secluded Rose Garden Pond. The estate & grounds are integrated into the University of Michigan – Dearborn, which offers free seasonal nature walks (including spring wildflower walks) on trails running through 180 acres of beautiful natural space. Check out the UMD Environmental Interpretive Center website for more information on upcoming programs.
Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe
The Henry Ford Estate in Grosse Pointe, also masterfully designed by Jens Jensen, is another great place to see beautifully landscaped gardens full of blooms in spring. Featuring paved walkways running along the backdrop of the St. Clair River and Bird Island, it is perfect for walking, birdwatching, picnicking, educational program participation, and more. The Edsel & Elenor Ford House recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation and offers a calendar of activities year-round, including wildflower walks in the spring. In 2016, Ford House was honored as a National Historic Landmark, in recognition of the design work of landscape architect Jensen in collaboration with the Fords’ unique vision and architect Albert Kahn.
Flower Dayat Detroit’s Eastern Market
Flower Day, the much-anticipated annual event which usually occurs around Mother’s Day every May, features Metro Detroit Flower Growers Association vendors from all over the Midwest and is a spectacular display of potted & cut blooms for all ages. The date this year is May 21, 2023. It’s a feast for the eyes and definitely worth a stroll, even if you don’t plan on buying anything.
Flower Tuesdays at Detroit’s Eastern Market
“Flower Tuesdays” at Detroit’s Eastern Market is a weekly event that takes place on Tuesdays from May through September (May 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30) from 9 AM to 3 PM. During this event, vendors from all over Michigan and Ohio come to the Eastern Market to sell a wide variety of fresh-cut flowers, potted plants, and other garden-related items.
The Tuesday Markets will have flower selections from Eastern Market growers, smaller crowds, and easier parking. Flower vendors can be found in Shed 6 every day from Mother’s Day until Father’s Day from sunrise to sunset.
Cranbrook House & Gardens in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
The Cranbrook campus is a breathtaking historic estate that welcomes visitors to explore its grounds free of charge. The estate boasts some of the most impressive built architecture and stately landscaping in the region, including iconic statuary, grand stone staircases, and enchanting English-style gardens. However, Cranbrook also offers visitors the opportunity to wander along beautifully planned natural trails that border the estate and connect to other parts of the property, which includes the art museum, science institute, and educational community.
The gardens at Cranbrook are a highlight of the estate, featuring a variety of distinct garden spaces including a sunken garden, a bog garden, a wildflower garden, a Japanese garden, and a formal garden with a reflecting pool. The gardens are carefully maintained to preserve their historic character and are open to the public for tours and events.
While many established Detroit natives are familiar with this iconic location, it may be lesser known to the younger generation and newcomers to the city. It’s a hidden gem that offers a stunning blend of history, art, and nature. It’s worth noting that professional photographers must obtain a permit before shooting on the premises.
800 Woodward Ave. Detroit, Michigan 48226 (313) 962-0101 Website
99 Pleasure Drive Detroit, Michigan 48207 (313) 821-9844 Website
Russell Street between Mack Avenue and Gratiot Avenue, 2934 Russell St. Detroit, Michigan 48207 (313) 833-9300 Website
380 Lone Pine Road Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48304 (248) 645-3147 Website Find A Room