A self-proclaimed “plant geek,” Cheryl received her Horticulture degree at Milwaukee Area Technical College. She spent many years working in the Otter Creek Landscape division and at John Michael Kohler Arts Center gardens. She’s now the office manager for The Wreath Factory and Otter Creek Landscape. Check out her blog for tips, travels and things that pop up in her garden.


New Home for Green Beans & Peas
by Cheryl Walsh - posted 08/31/14

2014-05-29 20.04.40

This spring, my husband decided to build a green bean trellis after looking on the internet for ideas on how to grow green beans more efficiently.  I am always looking for new ideas for the garden and will try just about anything once.  He started out with one and then decided  we could use another one.   We planted the pole green bean seeds by one trellis and sugar snap peas on the other trellis with Asian beans on the ends of both.  In  June,  the bean and pea seedlings were just the right size and tastiness for the rabbits in our neighborhood to enjoy.  I was in England when my husband told me about the rabbits invading the garden.  The gardens in England also had rabbit issues at the same time.  They claim that some of their rabbits were the size of small dogs.  My rabbits also enjoyed the kohlrabi, beets and carrots.  My husband then decided to add  a fence around the entire 24′ X 24′ vegetable garden to prevent those rabbits from enjoying our garden vegetables.  At that point, we decided those vegetables we were growing better be really good, in fact good enough to be worth about $70  as the fence cost that much.  We had to replant the seeds again and as of now, we have harvested the peas and are patiently waiting for the green beans to arrive.  There are many flowers on the bean bushes so I know they are coming soon!


We also had a morning glory growing up the trellis.  One of the seeds must have been in the compost I used in the garden.  Screws were used instead of nails so it can be partially taken apart for storage over the winter.




I can’t wait to be eating green beans soon!


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Lots Blooming Now
by Cheryl Walsh - posted 07/31/14

This is the time of year when I look forward to seeing lots of flowers in the gardens.  Some of my favorites are hydrangea, coneflower, liatris, agastache, yarrow and betony.


The orange flower is Echinacea purpurea "Hot Papya.'  I have to say this is my favorite coneflower with it's pompom center and drooping petals.  I have four of these perennials in my garden and will probably buy some more.  Behind it is Liatris spicata or gayfeather with it's spikes of purple blooms.  The light and airy white flower in the picture is Scabiosa Pincushion Flower.  This cottage garden was once a very neat and tidy garden before we had some issues and needed to dig up the septic pipe that runs through this flower bed.  There were some casualties as my husband call it whenever one of my plants disappears when we had repair work done.  So last year, I decided to let the garden be natural and whatever happens happens.  So wherever there was a bare spot, I transplanted some agastache, knautia or penstemon so now there is not any open areas.


This new garden is the home of three Hydrangea arborescens 'Invincibelle Spirit' with it's pink blooms.  This blooms early summer to frost and tends to droop so I have some short fencing holding them up so they don't hug the ground.



This is one of my 32 hydrangeas (15 different types) that I have and it is Hydrangea paniculata 'Great Star'.  It is somewhat new to my garden and I am hoping that this year it will give me lots of starry blooms.  Right now it is about 5' tall but can get 6-7'.



These hydrangeas can be seen from a far as it is Hydrangea arborescens 'Incrediball'.  The stems are sturdy and don't flop even with the extra large blooms.  The coneflowers are Echinacea purpurea 'Bravado' and are 4' tall.  The splash of yellow is from Helianthus or perennial sunflower.  I am not sure of the cultivar as it was one of those that I acquired in a plant swap.

Besides redoing an entire landscape bed in the front of my house (I'll show you pictures soon), it has been a year of lots of weeding, pruning and dealing with rabbits.  I am finding that I may have planted some shrubs too close together so I will have to decide if I need to move some this fall or heavily prune.  I guess shrubs really get as big as the plant tag says it will.  Well we all learn from our mistakes.  The rabbits also enjoyed the vegetables I planted for them while I was in England for two weeks.  My husband got frustrated and surprised me with a wire fence around our 24'  X 24' vegetable garden and then I within days of getting back I planted some more bean, pea, kohlrabi and beet seeds.  It may be a while before I can harvest any of those vegetables.

Happy gardening everyone!


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Bus Riding in England
by Cheryl Walsh - posted 06/20/14

This is day eight of my tour with the Wisconsin Hardy Plant Society of gardens in England.  Getting to see three gardens a day in this beautiful area of the world has been amazing.  Being on a bus with 28 other plant loving people and hearing them talk about their gardens and their thoughts on what we just saw has been refreshing.  First stop today was at Jacksons Wold and the hardest part of the journey was when the bus driving down the single lane road met up with a cement truck.  He had to back up and pull over when he came to a little bit wider part of the road so the truck could go past us and let's just say that there was just inches between the bus and truck and a lot of gasps from us passengers.


English gardens have the great advantage of having the best hardscape ever with their pathways, walls, patios, stone buildings and gates.  Every planting looks great with stones to compliment it.



Alchemilla mollis (Lady's Mantle) even grows in small cracks in between the patio stones.  The homeowner just knows where to place the watering can and container in between the Lady's Mantle so it makes a great picture.


Every where I turned in this garden there was another interesting collection of something.


This was the entrance to another part of the garden and you can see the salvia planted in masses through the gate.  That is probably one of the many ideas I will bring back to my gardens.  The herbaceous borders that I saw the past few days all had masses of the same plants repeated throughout which really had an impact.  Tomorrow is the last day of our nine day adventure and I have been taking a lot of pictures to share over the next few months.


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