If I were a plant, I’d want to spend my summers living in a garden in Madison, Wisconsin! I’ve just finished taping the third of three shows this week for GardenSmart, and all the gardens were in or around Madison.
Imagine the perfect climate; low humidity, cool breezes and a daily high temperature around 65 degrees. Sound nice? Now imagine you’re a plant. You’d look pretty good too if you could live in that kind of environment. That’s one reason this week has been so nice.
Great looking gardens and temperatures that make working outside all day not only bearable but energizing! On Monday, we visited Olbrich Gardens, designed by Jeff Epperson, Director of Horticulture. It’s one of the prettiest gardens I’ve ever seen.
The Olbrich rose garden is a real standout. Just as you might envision, most of the ‘rose gardens’ I’ve visited have comprised of masses of rose plants in open beds. The roses look spectacular while in bloom but, otherwise, aren’t much to look at.
Jeff interplanted roses with perennials and shrubs and architectural elements to provide garden interest year round and complement the roses while in bloom. Sure, the roses are the stars during bloom time, but the garden remains beautiful year-round.
On Tuesday, we featured University of Wisconsin’s Arboretum (also in Madison). It lays claim to the world’s largest prairie reclamation. In addition, native plant expert extraordinaire, Susan Carpenter, treated us to a day of amazing information on indigenous plants that further reinforce the reasons we should all be using more native plants in our own landscape. They’re beautiful and conveniently low maintenance.
On Wednesday, we traveled to Janesville. This quaint, clean little town is just 30 minutes outside of Madison and is home to a world-class garden. Thanks to the expertise of Director of Horticulture, Mark Dwyer, the Rotary Botanical Gardens is a hidden gem. There are a number of internationally-themed gardens, and the staff goes to great measures to create a sense of authenticity from one garden room to the next.
With such a successful and productive three days of taping, today was a day to catch up on paperwork and emails, complete this blog and just enjoy Madison. If you’re ever in this area, be sure to visit all three gardens and bring your camera. They’re well worth the time, and the food here is fabulous!