The University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum
41°F | Faircontact us
Arb Parking Tip
Free street parking spaces are sometimes available on Oswego St. near the Arb's Geddes Street entrance.
Click here for a map.
Few places on Earth are as beautiful as Michigan on a fine fall day. Stroll through the trails & gardens during the early morning or later afternoon at this special time of year.
Check out the bloom calendar.
study spots
Looking for a location to hold a group meeting? We have some of the University's best study spots.

art at nichols areboretum


Thanks to DTE, the Amphitheater is now electrified.

Visual and performing arts are important creative activities that help visitors perceive, question, and understand an artist's message. As a unit of a major university, the Gardens is a place where student and faculty artists may present their voice and work for public comment - some of the works are specially commissioned for precise locations. The Gardens profoundly supports this artistic creativity. All works on display have been vetted through faculty review, a select few are on permanent display.

  • Ash Log Sculptures

Two sculptures made from the stumps of ash trees are in the heart of the Nichols Arboretum. Landscape architecture student Jana Vanderhaar and Jeff Plakke were inspired by animal sculptures in children's gardens in the Netherlands and realized the death of the ash trees from the emerald ash borer presented a unique opportunity. Jana and Jeff were the chainsaw artists - as the work progressed the two figures emerged as squirrels. Accompanying the sculptures is a plaque that discusses the emerald ash borer and its consequences.

The Amphitheater, located near the Alex Dow Field in the Arb, is open for picnicking and gathering between scheduled uses...

  • Shakespeare in the Arb

For several weekends in June, the Arb is home to a Shakespeare play directed by Kate Mendeloff, lecturer in the U-M's Residential College. The players and audience move throughout the Arb, where scenes are acted in settings that best display them.

  • Landscape Architecture Student Sculptures

Five grad students in Landscape Architecture, given a class assignment to create an intervention with the landscape in order to better understand it, created this display. They placed burrow ridden slabs taken from trees killed by the emerald ash borer against the trunks of trees that were still alive, but showing signs of infestation. Then they posed this question - "Imagine how the landscape will change when all the ash trees are dead?"

Click here to see past art exhibits


Michigan Web Design by Boxcar Studio