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Paradise found


May 2, 2012

Gardens can be fascinating places for meandering, meditation or mental and physical healing. And, southeastern Wisconsin is home to some of the loveliest public gardens in the country, where you can explore the many gifts of nature.

Lynden Sculpture Garden, Milwaukee

The Lynden Sculpture Garden, formerly known as the Bradley Sculpture Garden, is a 40-acre outdoor sculpture park in Milwaukee, offering visitors the unique experience of art in a natural setting. The one-time estate of Harry Lynde Bradley and Peg Bradley, the Lynden features a collection of more than 50 monumental sculptures, including works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Mark di Suvero, Alexander Archipenko and others. The sculpture garden is open year-round, but the hours vary by the season. Membership fees and other details can be found at

Boerner Botanical Gardens, Hales Corners

An internationally celebrated public garden space found within a Milwaukee County Park, the Boerner Botanical Gardens offer plant lovers the opportunity to enjoy the colors and scents of a vast array of plants and flowers. The specialty gardens offer visitors a tapestry of color and texture, including the Daylily Walk, Herb Garden and Annual Garden to name a few. But it is probably best known for its formal rose garden with 350 varieties of roses. Students of horticulture will also enjoy the Education and Visitors Center and Horticulture Library. Open daily from 8 a.m. until sunset, April 25 through October. Entry fees range from $3 for children to $5 for adults. Information line, (414) 525-5600.





Frame Park Formal Garden, Waukesha

One of Frame Parkís best kept secrets is its formal garden, located on the east side of the park. "Even some people who live in Waukesha arenít aware of it," says gardener John Sorenson of the Waukesha Public Works Department, who maintains the garden, established in 1931. Sorenson notes that peak that was viewing time is mid-June to mid-July when the 140-plus varieties of roses bloom. Visitors will find a peaceful spot for contemplation or a lovely backdrop for photos under the pergola, amid the roses and thousands of colorful annuals. The garden is free and open to the public during all regular park hours, 365 days a year, but a permit is required for professional photographs.


Villa Terrace Renaissance Garden, Milwaukee

The Renaissance garden at Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum re-creates the classic elements of a 16th century Tuscan landscape overlooking beautiful Lake Michigan. Rose Standish Nichols designed the original villa gardens, which were restored in 1997, focusing on the classical elements of the original landscape. Of special interest are the wrought iron "Neptuneís Gate" entry and the "water stairway" as well as unusual trees and statuary. The garden is open year-round, 1-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, weather permitting, with an official opening celebration on the first Sunday in June.


Bookworm Gardens, Sheboygan

Someone once said, "My garden is my favorite teacher." This was never truer than at Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan. Specifically designed as a place for children ó of all ages ó to learn about nature and to learn to love books, it features specialty gardens based on childrenís literature. "The wonderful thing about Bookworm is that thereís something for every age ó the butterfly garden, woodland garden, a magic tree house. Itís such a fun place to get lost in your imagination," says Beth Carreno, the education coordinator. "We host a lot of school groups, and we have a full calendar of events from spring through fall. There is no entry fee, but as a nonprofit, we run on donations," she adds. See for more details.

Monches Farm, Colgate

Located on a Wisconsin rustic road in Colgate, Monches Farm is a nursery featuring more than 2,000 varieties of hardy field grown perennials. "We specialize in rare and unusual perennials and annuals, including native prairie plants and a collectorís selection of daylilies," says horticulturist Zannah Crowe. "Itís well worth the trip when the daylily garden blooms in July," she says. Visitors can also purchase locally grown pumpkins and heirloom squash in autumn, hand-made dried floral wreaths and arrangements, and one-of-a-kind garden art created by local artists. Free and open to the public March to December, the farm is closed Monday, but open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.



This story ran in the March 2012 issue of: