Friday, July 5, 2013

Holding Our Attention: A Visit to Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Mindy and I had the great pleasure of visiting Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin in early June. Situated on 16 acres along the northeast shore of Lake Monona, the gardens were envisioned by Madison attorney Michael Olbrich in 1916, but not opened until after his death in 1952. Olbrich was instrumental in the development of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum as well.

The gardens were in a transition between spring and summer, but still offered plenty of beauty. From the textures of Hosta, Brunnera, and dogwood in the shade gardens, to the flowing meadow garden, to Allium, ninebark and roses in the more formal gardens, Olbrich held our attention at every corner.

Here are selection of photos from our late morning walk through Olbrich.

Near the end of our visit, we walked into a tropical escape otherwise known as Bolz Conservatory. I've always loved the scent inside tropical conservatories; the combination of moisture, plant material and earth is almost otherworldly to my city-dwelling olfactory system.  I especially enjoyed the birds -- canaries, waxbills and coturnix quail -- that make a home at Bolz.

A special thanks to our friend Ed Lyon (see my post about his home garden) who recommended we visit Olbrich during our weekend in Madison. It's definitely worth a few hours of your time if you're in the Madison area.

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