and Mike Schinzer’s colorful garden — a riot of tulips, roses and
peonies, to name just a few — is the talk of their East Side
one of the attractions," says Julie Schinzer, about their
decision to uproot from an Oconomowoc Lake home four years ago to this
rambling 1915 house on an urban corner lot. "Mike intended to
garden it himself but quickly became overwhelmed." When neighbors
began inquiring, with great concern, "Are you keeping the
gardens?" the Schinzers knew they had a responsibility to the
community to keep this focal point alive.
Anderson, who cared for the garden under its previous owners, took
over the taming with a goal to loosen its formal structure and add a
contemporary, almost funky, feel. "The view of Lake Michigan is
just stunning: I smile the whole time I’m there. They feel like they’re
carrying on this banner," says Anderson about the couple’s
inherited garden. "People make a point of jogging past there and
walking their dogs past there, too."
also consulted Julie’s brother, who is a horticulturist, about
changes they ought to make. Mike Schinzer’s love for gardening
allows him to pitch in, too. Fencing was added, including a
wrought-iron gate (handmade by a blacksmith), and an invisible fence
(to keep "Spud," the Schinzers’ yellow labrador retriever
safe). There is also now a sprinkler system and a limestone patio for
outdoor entertaining. A matronly statue, whom they’ve dubbed Rose
and who presided over the garden even before they bought the house, is
seamlessly woven into the landscape. Throughout, there’s an
intentional effort to attract birds and butterflies.
five favorite features in this particular garden are tree peonies,
monkshood, yellow magnolias, weeping spruce tree and Home Run roses.
"Some of the roses smell like lemons, almost
citrus-scented," she says.
truly like Christmas or the Fourth of July," Julie Schinzer says
about the sheer variety of plants, trees and flowers within the
garden, and all of its seasonal transformations. It’s the talk of
the block come spring. Once, Mike Schinzer invited a bridal party
taking photos across the street — with Lake Michigan in the backdrop
— to snap shots in his garden too. The garden, which wraps around
the house, is also frequently used for plein-air parties, from Air
Show viewing fetes to fundraisers.