Hidden Lake Gardens was donated to Michigan State University (then Michigan State College) in 1945 by Harry A. Fee. had always dreamed of owning a lake, and, upon his retirement in 1926, he purchased Hidden Lake along with 200 acres of land surrounding it.
He began to grow nursery stock, which he planted on his land in an effort to create a "series of pictures," a philosophy that continues today. Mr. Fee described Hidden Lake Gardens as a "dream-as-you-go development." He built a road in from Hwy. 50 and landscaped it with a shrub and perennial border.
With his generous endowment the Gardens has continued to develop with land acquisitions and the original 200 acres have grown to 755 acres. This includes a 120 acre arboretum that was begun in 1962 and consists of plant groups such as crabapples, lilacs, maples, evergreens, and shrubs.
There are notable bonsai and hosta collections, dwarf and rare conifers, and a conservatory with a temperate house, a tropical dome, and an arid dome.
In addition to more than 6 miles of one-way paved drives, there are 12 miles of hiking trails.