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.


No Worries from England
by Cheryl Walsh - posted 06/15/14

I am blogging from England on my garden tour of 28 gardens in 9 days with the Wisconsin Hardy Plant Society.  All I can say is this is amazing!  We are seeing about three gardens a day with some public and some private gardens.  Some private gardens are noted as NGS which is the National Garden Scheme.  Those designated gardens are open for a brief period of time and all the monies go to charities.  There are strict requirements to be registered as an NGS garden where you must have at least 45 minutes of interest.


These lupines and delphiniums were at the Elvaston Castle Country Park near Derby.  The enthusiastic head gardener gave us a tour of the James Wyatt designed gardens from the early 1800′s which included many topiaries and many long lived, large trees.  I found the stone castles & homes with lots of stone walkways and walls to be perfect back drops for hedges, climbing roses and flowering perennials.



This NGS garden court yard was from the home of an artist that served us tea and biscuits.  There was so many vignettes and garden art pieces that captured our eyes here that I probably took over 100 pictures.


This hidden herbaceous garden had surprises in every corner.  There were also poppies, astrantias, lady’s mantles, alliums, barberries, elderberries and many plants that I didn’t know the names of and was disappointed to learn that it is too cold in our area to plant them.


Another NGC garden tour with a very passionate host who also served us tea and pastries.  Behind the perennial border was a field of sheep which peaked my interest.  When riding in our coach bus, we saw miles and miles of dry stacked stone walls dividing the fields where many contained sheep.  It was comforting to know that there are also plant collectors in England as she had many unplanted perennials that she was excited to show us.  Usually she gives cuttings or divided plants to her tour guests but since we couldn’t take those home with us, she gave each of us (all 29 of us) an English gardening magazine.  We quickly each took one and have been trading them on our bus for the past few days.


This view is called a Ha Ha where you have an unobstructed view for miles and miles.  It was breath taking!  At several other gardens, other Ha Ha’s were pointed out to us.  I don’t think I will grow tired of the rolling hills, green fields, stone fences and amazing gardens ever.

This is so much fun and I already have many ideas for redesigning my gardens at home.  Depending on the availability of Wi Fi and free time allowed, I plan to show you more in the next few days.

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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!

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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.

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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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Road Trip to La Crosse, WI
by Cheryl Walsh - posted 08/19/12

A few weeks ago, we were visiting friends in La Crosse and we had the opportunity to see some beautiful gardens.  Before leaving on our vacation, I consulted my book called Wisconsin Gardens & Landscapes by Mary Lou Santovec and Rick Santovec for “gardens” to visit in that area.  This book has enabled me to visit many gardens in Wisconsin that I may not even know existed.  By luck our hotel room was quite close to the gardens and we were able to walk to the Riverside International Friendship Gardens which is close to the Mississippi River for a leisurely visit. 

The gardens represent each of La Crosse’s foreign sister cities with landscape influences of China, France, Germany, Ireland, Russia and Norway.  Check out their website for more information:  www.riversidegardens.org.



There were many interesting conifers.  Here is Pinus strobus – Weeping White Pine and Picea orientalis ‘Skylamp’ – Oriental Spruce.


The French Gardens had several knot gardens.  This is a colorful geometric pattern.


The Norwegian gardens had some whimsical wooden creatures.

 This area looked to be the newest part of the 1.2 acre garden.  It was early in the morning and we saw volunteers watering and tending to the gardens.  Even though it has been a dry summer, the gardens looked wonderful. 

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