Sunset Point is a popular gathering spot on Detroit’s Belle Isle, especially for weddings, picnics and other activities. Located on the western tip of the island, it highlights a terrific view of the Detroit skyline.
Since 2016, the Garden Club of Michigan has worked in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the current steward of the island, to take on the civic beautification of this popular destination as well as the removal of invasive plants and the introduction of native plants.
The planting and design work has been undertaken solely by members and volunteers of the GCM. To date there have been two phases of the project:
Invasive and non-native plants were removed and were replaced with native plants the first year. In following years, a combination of native and non-native plants has been used to provide season long beauty to the bed. This colorful area is a favorite location for wedding photos and is heavily visited during the season.
We were faced with quite a challenge in these planting beds, as invasive species Houttuynia cordata ‘Variegata’ (Chameleon Houttuynia) and Hibuscus syriacus (Flowering Hibiscus Trees) in these two beds proved impossible to eradicate. Commissioning six very large Corten Steel planters became the solution for GCM. Custom fabricated for GCM, these 4’x 4’ x 3’ planters were placed on compacted gravel, remediating the substrate in the invasive beds. Irrigation was also installed for these planters in cooperation with the DNR. These planters were first placed and planted in 2017. The plant material is renewed each year by volunteers.