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 Garden Smart 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. And that’s why 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, in Madison. What a place. The designs were the handiwork of Jeff Epperson, Director of Horticulture. I kept thinking this was one of the prettiest gardens I have ever seen.
One of the most outstanding features was their rose garden. Just as you might envision, most of the ‘rose gardens’ I’ve visited are simply masses of planted roses in open beds. They look spectacular while in bloom but when they’re not, it’s not much to look at.
That was Jeff’s sentiment too. So he interplanted the roses with perennials and shrubs and architectural elements that gave the garden interest year round and complemented the roses while in bloom. Sure, the roses are the stars while in bloom, but the garden remains beautiful year round.
On Tuesday, we featured University of Wisconsin’s Arboretum, also in Madison. It lays claim to the largest prairie reclamation in the world. In addition, Susan Carpenter, “native plant expert extraordinaire” treated us to a day of amazing information on indigenous plants that further reinforce the reasons why we should all be using more native plants in our own landscape. They are beautiful and conveniently low maintenance.
On Wednesday we traveled to Janesville. This quaint, clean little town just 30 minutes outside of Madison has a world-class garden. Thanks to the expertise of Director of Horticulture, Mark Dwyer, Rotary Botanical Gardens is a hidden gem. They have a number of internationally themed gardens and go 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 enjoy the town of Madison. If you are ever this way, be sure to visit all three gardens. They are well worth the time and bring your camera. By the way, the food here is fabulous!