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.


Gardens To See This Year
by Cheryl Walsh - posted 04/22/14

Every summer, my calendar fills up quickly with family and friends events and I also make sure to include visits to several gardens as well.   This year my must see gardens are:

Rotary Gardens in Janesville, WI – You must go there to see their gorgeous display of over 100,00 colorful annual flowers along with their eighteen unique themed gardens and several plant collections.  Sculptures, obelisks, engraved benches with garden quotations, trellises, paths and water features are sure to inspire you to borrow one of their ideas for your garden.

Green Bay Botanical Garden in Green Bay, WI – Masses of color, quaint buildings, plant collections and the playful Children’s Garden are a few of my favorite things about this botanical garden.  There is so much to see that you need to make sure to allow enough time to be able to view it all!

Green Bay Botanical Gardens 9-2-12 055 Green Bay Botanical Gardens 9-2-12 022

I fell in love with the butterfly garden art planted with sedum and after seeing the Senna didymobotrya (Popcorn Plant) and experiencing the buttery popcorn smell, I had to add several of those annuals to my garden.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI – Beautiful containers, roses, hostas, conifers, herbs, theme gardens, unusual cultivars and so much more.  The last time I was there, someone commented to my friend and I (as we were carefully looking at every plant and taking lots of pictures) that at the rate we were moving through the gardens we would never see it all before it was dark.

Green Bay Botanical Gardens 9-2-12 059 DSC06207



Beautiful landscape beds and breath taking containers are around every corner at Olbrich.

Chicago Botanic Gardens, Glencoe, IL – In July, I will be going there for the second time and am very anxious to see the 26 gardens.  There are more than 2.4 million plants with 9,084 different kinds…..need I say more?  I will definitely have to blog about it and take lots of pictures.

For several years, I have been considering going with the Wisconsin Hardy Plant Society Trip to England to visit gardens.  There have always been reasons not to go (money, too busy of a summer, etc.) but this year I ignored all those reasons and have signed up to go!  The plane tickets have been bought and the reservations have been made.  The itinerary includes nine days of visiting three public or private gardens per day along with several days of sight seeing.  I plan on blogging from England so you can “see”  a few of these gardens with me.  Stay tuned as the plane takes off in seven weeks.

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Books, Books and More Books
by Cheryl Walsh - posted 03/17/14

At what point, do you have too many books on gardening?  I can't seem to collect enough of them.  About ten years ago, I decided I wanted to learn as much as I could about gardening by getting an associate degree in Horticulture from MATC in Mequon, WI.  This required me to take 21 horticulture classes.  I already had my bachelor's degree so I didn't have to take the general studies classes .   I so much wish right now that I could remember everything I learned from taking all those classes.  You know the saying - if you don't use it, you lose it.  Well that is correct. We were required to learn hundreds of botanical names (and their spellings) and be able to I.D. them.  Also, while taking these classes, the teachers (they were all awesome by the way) recommended additional books  that we may be interested in to add to our collection besides the many books required for the classes leading me to purchase over 40 books in a couple of years.  Last month when I attended the Madison Garden Expo, I decided I just had to add a couple more books to my ever growing collection.

Always looking for new recipes for all those vegetables and herbs from my garden, I had to have these two books that I purchased from the Fairshare CSA Coalition.  I love how they describe each vegetable and then give many recipes.

From Asparagus to Zucchini - A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce

Farm-Fresh and Fast - Easy recipes and tips for making the most of fresh, seasonal foods


It's all about the pictures and the book below has lots to inspire you and wish you could have lots of water features in your backyard.  

Better Homes & Gardens Water Gardening


I am always looking for quick gift ideas for garden club or for my plant geek friends.  These are all great for that!

Garden Hearts by Felder Rushing

The Inspired Gardener What Makes Us Tick? 

Plants with Benefits by Helen Yoest

Good Mushroom Bad Mushroom by John Pliscke III





I also like borrow gardening books from the library and if I absolutely love it, I will purchase it.  Books are great to hold us over in these cold months until we can actually get outside and start gardening.  What are your favorite books that inspire you?

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Soaking Up The Sun In New Orleans
by Cheryl Walsh - posted 01/30/14

A few weeks ago, our family visited relatives in New Orleans and it happened to be during one of their unusual cold spells.  I was saddened to see all along their streets large dead tropical plants with some already in the dumpsters.  Considering New Orleans is usually lots warmer than us (at that time it was 45 degrees warmer than us) I was hoping to see lots of blooming and vibrant plants opposed to our snow covered dormant shrubs and trees.  As you probably know with every trip, I have to visit a garden center and a few gardens so for this trip one of our stops was at the New Orleans Botanical Garden.   


I was attracted to this statue as it was nestled in between some plants and looked like it was soaking up the sun which I was trying to do on this trip.


The water feature, stone benches, straight lines, muted colors and bamboo are nestled in this authentic Japanese Garden. 


Over the holidays, the gardens had an amazing light show as there were many pieces like this hummingbird that has its’ shape outlined in lights.  There were lady bugs, butterflies and spiders.  I wish I could have seen them at night.


Wishing I could have been there to see the azaleas, camellias and magnolias, I decided to check out the conservatory to see if there were any blooming plants in there.  The orchids were beautiful along with the delicate leaves of the ferns.   


I would recommend that if you have a chance to visit the New Orleans Botanical Garden (except try not to go in January). 

We found a quaint garden center that had a large collection of water features.  The employee that I talked to said he came from La Crosse to visit and has stayed in the area as he loved the warmer weather.  I bought a hummingbird wind chime to add to my garden art collection.

Where else would I stay in New Orleans but in the Garden District.  We took a walking tour and from the brick sidewalks, we could see into the carefully manicured gardens of the majestic homes from the 19th century.

Next I will be headed to the Madison Garden Expo for a few days where you can feel like it is spring while attending the seminars and checking out the exhibits.  See you there!  http://www.wigardenexpo.com/ 

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