Photographer's Hour: Sunday 9 am to 10 am, March 23
This is an annual orchid festival that has had fantastic orchids and drawn throngs of photographers long before the Shutterbug meetup group was created. This is a free event and is open to the general public.
My experience has been pretty good shooting during their "photographer's hour." Tripods are allowed for this hour, and most photographers are courteous-- everyone will eventually get their turn.
That said, I have also enjoyed shooting after the hour has ended and most photographers have cleared out. While tripods are not allowed after the "photographer's hour" has ended, shooting with a dSLR and flash is permitted.
Beyond this special festival, the general conservatory at Matthei is worth checking out. And the gardens and trails outside are always interesting to check out if you don't mind getting a little mud or dirt on your shoes (hopefully no more snow or ice in late March).
Parking is not free and is enforced seven days a week. For hourly and daily rate info. along with much more information about parking at Matthei, check out this website: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/mbg/plan/parking.asp
March 22 - 23, 2014: Ann Arbor Orchid Festival
From the online Matthaei Calendar
Matthaei Botanical Gardens
Ann Arbor Orchid Festival
Featuring orchid displays, orchids in bloom from orchid societies and commercial vendors, tropical and hardy orchids for sale, orchid growing supplies, and related items. Free informational talks and demonstrations on various aspects of orchid culture in Room 125. Sat.: 1, 2, and 3 pm; Sunday: noon, 1, and 2 pm. Visit aaosonline.org or email [masked] for detailed information on sales, photographers’ hours, and more. Presented by Ann Arbor Orchid Society. Free admission. Location: Matthaei Botanical Gardens Category: Adult Education Date: 3/22/2014 to 3/23/2014Time: 10 am to 4:30 pm. More info: click here