Garden Walkabouts

Wild Ones River City Chapter is seeking hosts for “Walkabouts”—informal tours of home gardens and landscapes managed by members. We’d like to visit gardens of ALL sizes, small to large!
  • Walkabouts last about two hours, with guests coming and going like an open house.
  • Hosts select the day and time.
  • Walkabouts will be held rain or shine.
  • Walkabout dates will be announced via our regular email communications.

NOTE: This is not a garden “inspection.” We all deal with weeds! If you choose to offer refreshments (not required or expected) keep it very simple.

If you would like to host a Walkabout, contact Marti MacArthur at [email protected].



August 1 • 6–7:30 Open Garden/ Fundraiser

Wild Ones River City Native Plant Education Garden
920 Cherry St. SE • Grand Rapids, MI

August 1 • 6–7:30 pm

Come visit our Native Plant Education Garden (NPEG) at 920 Cherry Street SE, Grand Rapids, followed by a fundraiser opportunity. See a native garden in an urban setting with over 80 species of native plants. Wild Ones members will be on hand to talk about the evolution of the garden and answer questions. Native plant educational hand-outs will be available.

Then enjoy a bite to eat and a beer at Brewery Vivant, which is across the street from the Native Plant Education Garden (925 Cherry St. SE). Brewery Vivant will donate A portion of their proceeds on August 1st to Wild Ones River City Chapter. Thank you Brewery Vivant!



Three Walkabouts were scheduled in 2021 • July 28, August 4, and September 18

Two WORC members that are neighbors:

Barbara Zvirzdinis’ home Comstock Park, MI
Barbara Zvirzdinis lives on the Grand River and her garden beds are mostly wetland plants and shrubs. She is fairly new to native gardening and her beds range from 3 years–3 month’s old. Barbara’s gardens are a work in process as she continues to remove non-natives and replace them with native alternatives.  

Rebecca Ling’s home – Comstock Park, MI
Rebecca Ling, one of the original founders of River City Wild Ones, has learned her flood plain gardening techniques the hard way—through repeated flooding, on-site research, and experimentation over the past 28 years. Her gardens are beautiful native/non-native, but flood zone hardy.


Thank you to WORC members and neighbors, Barbara Zvirzdinis and Rebecca Ling for hosting the July 28 Walkabout at their homes on the Grand River in Comstock Park.

In Barbara’s garden, visitors were delighted to see Royal Catchfly, Monkey Flower, Swamp Milkweed, Phlox and Tall Coreopsis among other natives, along with her self-made, imaginative mosaic sculptures. One of Barbara’s sculptures was in progress—a large cement arch that she will adorn with stones and other materials. A huge stand of Cup Plant stood proudly near the road.

Rebecca’s interesting garden contains plants well suited for a floodplain—Iron Weed, White Turtlehead, Swamp Rose Mallow, Michigan Lily and Cardinal Flower, among others. Several native Catalpa trees were bearing their long green bean-like pods and a robin’s nest was seen in its branches. Rebecca and her husband Bruce raise honey bees that were actively working.

It is challenging to have a garden on river property, but these two hardy Wild Ones take the floods in stride and their gardens persevere! We are grateful to Barbara and Rebecca for their willingness to share what they’ve learned with fellow Wild Ones members!

Pictured left to right: Barbara Z., Marty MacCleery, and Sheri Boogaart

Barbara’s beautiful mosaic garden window








Rebecca Ling and husband Bruce in front of their Catalpa tree

Michigan Lily











AUGUST 4, 2021
Calvin Ecosystem Preserve and Native Gardens

1750 E Beltline Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Created in 2018 to showcase the beauty and diversity of native plants, this botanical garden is a living field guide containing more than 200 species of plants found in Michigan. Over 20 mini gardens feature a variety of planting styles. They draw inspiration from both natural landscapes as well as familiar gardening styles such as cottage, pollinator, and shade gardens.

RECAP: It was a perfect evening on August 4 for walking through the beautiful native plant gardens at the Venema Plaza at Calvin University. The renovation of the entire area and the redesigning of the gardens, which were completed before the pandemic, were not only lovely to wander through, but also a great way to become inspired about having native plants in our own gardens.

Jeanette Henderson, (pictured at center below) Program Manager at Calvin Ecosystem Preserve and Native Gardens at Calvin University Bunker Interpretive Center, was our gracious host for the evening. Wild Ones has a very close relationship with Jeanette and this inspiring space since we have met for our chapter meetings at the Bunker Interpretive Center for many years.

Wild Ones would like to thank Jeanette for her willingness to have a walkabout at Venema Plaza and share with all of us her vast knowledge of native plants, answer our many questions and let us purchase plants from the greenhouse that evening. It was so nice to be able to reconnect after such a long time of not being able to meet.

Page banner photo by Jeanette Henderson

SEPTEMBER 18, 2021

Keith Edwards’ Comstock Park Urban Prairie
601 Clark NW, Comstock Park, MI 49321

Read a recap of Keith Edwards’ Walkabout here.













August 2019 Walkabout at the Palmer residence in Belmont










July 2018 Walkabout at the Lange residence in Grand Rapids


Walkabout at Clear Bottom Lake


August 2017 Walkabout at the Dandridge residence in Rockford



July 2017 Walkabout at the Oldenburg residence in Belmont




River City Wild Ones is seeking hosts for ?Walkabouts? ? informal tours of gardens and landscapes managed by members. 

  • Two or three Walkabouts will be offered each month, depending on interest.
  • Walkabouts lasts about two hours, with guests coming and going.
  • Hosts select the day and time.
  • Walkabouts will be held rain or shine.
  • Walkabouts will begin July 2017 and continue through 2018.
  • Walkabout dates will be announced via regular RCWO?s communications.

NOTE: This is not a garden ?inspection.? (We all deal with weeds!) If you choose to offer refreshments (not required or expected) keep it very simple. Be creative! How about a January winter hike, or a March visit to your greenhouse. River City Wild Ones is seeking hosts for ?Walkabouts? ? informal tours of gardens and landscapes managed by members.

If you are interested in hosting a Walkabout, Download the form here. and return the form to any Steering Committee member at a general meeting, or mail to Marty Arnold, 2319 Lake Michigan Dr. NW 49504. If you have questions, please contact Marty, [email protected] or call 616.791.4534.

Download the form to host a Walkabout here.

Ruth & Mark Oldenburg
are hosting our first Walkabout.

Wednesday, July 26 
6:00 ? 8:00 p.m.
7485 Cloudberry Ln NE 
Belmont 49306

The Oldenburg property includes a 1/2 acre mature prairie, rain garden, and a swale. Please park along the street. No RSVP necessary.
Download a map to the Oldenburg’s house