Olbrich Botanical Gardens – Madison Wisconsin

G A R D E N S, Garden Tours, Gravel, Landscape Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Back in August, we made a family road trip out of attending the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) conference in Minneapolis, MN. On the drive up to the conference we made a stopover in Chicago at the Lurie Garden (See post HERE), and on the way home we stopped at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, WI and the Chicago Botanical Garden (I am lucky that the kids still enjoy visiting gardens as a vacation).

Olbrich Botanical Gardens, gravel garden - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Olbrich was a planned stop on the way home, however after hearing Jeff Epping, the Director of Horticulture at Olbrich, speak at the PPA conference, we left Minneapolis early to ensure we got ample time in the gardens. Our time was a little more compressed than planned with a Midwest storm approaching, but hands down one of the best botanical gardens I have visited.  The 16 acres features amazing rooms that transition you from different spaces almost disorientating your direction and allowing you be in awe of each different experience.

Jeff’s talk at the PPA conference was about the gravel gardens they have installed at Olbrich. The method involves planting hardy plants in a base of 3-5 inches of gravel to fend of weeds and provide a low-water lifelong solution. The plants will grow into soil below the gravel for water and nutrients, and the inches of gravel will prohibit weeds from growing. Overtime the plants will grow to cover the gravel for a dense planting. The requirements of the planting method require attentive watering while the roots mature to the soil level and vigilant removal of plant debris at cutback and while establishing. My first few photos here are of one of the four gravel gardens at Olbrich.

I have known of Olbrich for a few years and it was always on my list of place to visit and I am so happy my travels to me there.  Olbrich is a garden destination that needs to be high on your list.  For a plant nerd, design nerd, or just looking for a stroll in a beautful garden- it will not disappoint.  I hope you enojoy my photo journal!

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Inspiration Disney

Agave, Gardens, Gravel, Uncategorized

I have been absent from the blog for a bit because our family took a trip to Walt Disney World. We spent a few days visiting all the parks, meeting characters and riding rides. Our favorite park was Epcot and traveling around the world, but James loved Magic Kingdom.

Disney does a wonderful job transporting you to each destination with the use the landscape and plants. Below are some snap shot

Agave americana and Aloe

Bamboo fence and Liriope

Huge Agave!

Vignette of planters at the Italian pavilion at Epot

Hundreds of ornamental Kale planted under olive trees

Dry creek bed lined with Liriope

Variegated Yucca

I am not sure what this is but I am working on it..can anyone help?

Tons of tropical texture

Ah...takes me back to Versailles

Massive 5'+ Agave americana! So beautiful...

Steal this Look – Rustic Italian

Agave, Boston Ivy, Gravel, Italian, Rhododendron, Steal this Look, Wisteria

While searching some older magazines I came across this image of a Italian courtyard.The garden is located outside Milan Italy and does not look like a typical Italian (Tuscan) garden. I am an advocate for covering garden walls/homes with ivy and climbers to provide additional interest to your garden. Here are some details if you like this look and would like to recreate with the same plants (plus a few tips).
Happy Planting!

Seen in Veranda September 2009