Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Autumn At Olbrich

Autumn At Olbrich

When the wind starts to pick up and the leaves start to turn, it is time for another trip to my favorite escape in Madison, Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

This managably-sized garden is free to the public and wheelchair accessible and conveniently less than 10 miles from my house (I know, because I’ve run there and back.)

To me, Chicago Botanic is where you go to see some truly awesome things, but Olbrich is much more realistic— its borders look like something you really could do at home (given unlimited time and money).  Also, given its urban setting, it uses space well, without a lot of research area that other, larger gardens use… basically it is a series of well-planned herbaceous borders of every stripe.

Some of my favorite gardens include–

Hot colored tropical border

Hot colored tropical border

Rose Garden Entrance- livened up for the autumn

Rose Garden Entrance- livened up for the autumn

View from the tower

View from the tower

And then there is its magnificent setting, on the shores of Lake Monona.

View toward the lake

View toward the lake

And there is the unforgettable Thai Pavillion, which is somewhat anachronistic, but has excellent tropical displays- many of which are actually hardy plants that have a tropical flavor.

Thai Pavillion

Thai Pavillion

Reflecting Pool at the Thai Pavillion

Reflecting Pool at the Thai Pavillion

The Herb Garden

The Herb Garden

 After visiting the Thai pavillion, make time for a visit to my favorite of the garden areas- the productive/herb garden is especially nice and includes a rotating display of herbs and flowers.

Last but not least, make sure to stop by the formal border with its gorgeous reflecting pool and lake view.

Formal borders

Formal borders

If you are doing a midwestern garden tour, or are looking for a place to visit while you are in Madison (or even if you live here and haven’t been to visit in a decade) make some time to go visit the extraordinary gardens– it’s a perfect trip.

One final note, thank you www.blotanical.com for nominating this blog as one of the five Best Wisconsin Blogs, it really is an honor to be nominated.

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7 Responses to Olbrich Botanical Gardens

  1. It is nice when a botanical garden has ideas that you could take home and put in a average size garden.
    I would like a water feature in my garden and am torn between which one I like better, the reflecting pool or the rill!

  2. Sunita says:

    Isn’t it wonderful when you find a Botanical Garden that you can identify with? It may be on a grander scale but everything is so do-able. And I love all that colour. Very tropical indeed!

  3. Sunita says:

    Ooops! I forgot to add what I came here for.
    Best of luck, Gwendolyn. You have a wonderful blog which I have been thoroughly enjoying reading. I’m sure you’ll win.

  4. Sunita says:

    Ooops! I forgot to add what I came here for.
    Best of luck, Gwendolyn. You have a wonderful blog which I have been thoroughly enjoying reading. I’m sure you’ll win.
    Oops…forgot to say great post! Looking forward to your next one.

  5. gwendolyngarden says:

    Thanks guys– it really was an honor to be nominated, even if I didn’t win.

    As for Olbrich- What I’d like most is the Thai Pavillion and Reflecting pool, but I don’t think that will fit on my 1/7 of an acre.

  6. Rolf Sharpee says:

    When is your compose leaf sale? Thank you !

  7. gwendolyngarden says:

    Olbrich’s leaf mulch sale information is available here: http://www.olbrich.org/events/leafmulch.cfm

    Happy Gardening!

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