Meet Ryan Dale
Just as local nonprofit Ex Fabula aims to encourage dialogue and foster a sense of connectivity within the community through performance-based storytelling events, Ryan Dale and his wife, Anna Aragon, are working to share the stories of farming, gardening and community-based groups through educational and promotional videos.

Bloomin' Easy
Whether you have a green thumb or you struggle to tell an orchid from an azalea, these plants are staples for Wisconsin gardeners as the ground starts to thaw and spring comes into bloom.
Garden Story
A DIY garden and landscaping project that took 10 years to perfect — and another five to maintain — is still a vividly positive memory, even several months after moving.
Khushrow Madon and Corinne Choisy-Madon of Delafield recently explained their project, sharing challenges and triumphs.
Window Dressing
If you live in a condo or have a small yard, you can exercise your green thumb with a window box — and note that these containers are trickier than your average ones. “A window box, because of its small size and narrow proportions, is more subject to drying out,” says Kurt Bartel, the vice president of the landscape management department at David J. Frank Landscape Contracting Inc. “The soil, water and nutrients are the three keys to keeping whatever plants you use happy.”
Flower Power
Kurt Bartel of David J. Frank Landscape Contracting Inc. recommends seven types of blooms to decorate your landscape with color, whether you prefer pastels or vivid shades.
Maximizing minimal space
From suburban backyards to condo balconies, landscaping for a small area poses its own challenges. The first challenge, our experts say, is understanding the scope of work. Most people are surprised to find that designing a small space takes more time.
From The Ground Up
On a hot Saturday in June, our tour group exits the yellow school bus, crosses Ring Street and steps past the threshold of a corner-lot community garden. It’s the home of Andre Lee Ellis’ We Got This, a program that teaches 12- to 16-year-old boys in the community about growing food, and here they are: watering plants and digging dirt to fill new raised beds.
Colorful Survivors
As you prepare for winter’s icy presence, consider what snow, sleet and freezing rains might do to your plantings. Yet don’t panic. There is hope.
Nature's own beverage
Simply stated, saving rainwater saves money. Plus, for Milwaukee area homeowners, there are other important justifications in using nature’s own "beverage" for lawn and garden irrigation.
A native pallet
Jed Terc at Stano Landscaping knows more than a thing or two about planting native garden species rather than planting exotics. After all, he is the company’s landscape design/sales project manager.
A better blend
It’s all in the soil, says John Lewandowski, retail manager at Bluemel’s Garden and Landscape Center. "Far too often, I’ve seen customers spend hundreds of dollars on high-quality plants only to take them home and plant them in a cheap 99 cent bag of ‘dirt’ without giving it a second thought," he laments.
The idea of an herb garden can excite many home cooks — snipping chives for a summer salad, picking a bunch of basil for pasta fresca, or grabbing some mint to muddle mojitos.
Think outside the pot
At Shorewood-based garden store MOD GEN, terrariums are favored. Assistant manager Jamie Bruchman offers grounding tips when creating your terrarium, stating, "Most terrarium plants prefer shade or indirect light and will cook under glass if given too much sun."
The pub shed
Set in the backyard of a Milwaukee area home, this "pub shed" is not only an adult entertainment space, but one that caters to the interests of children, too.
Luminous living
What originated as simply a garden area filled with white flowers has evolved into a full-fledged outdoor living trend — that of moon gardens. In its most traditional sense, a moon garden is a cluster of luminescent plants and blooms, many of which are cast in white hues, that reflect off the moon’s pale light, creating a dimly lit glow.
Prepping for spring
Homeowners should not let any grass grow under their feet when it comes to fall prep for next spring’s landscape wonders. There are many tasks necessary this autumn to secure a good-looking lawn and garden by the time robins are at their hop-hop-hopping best. To help, landscape experts have plenty of seasonal suggestions.
Midcentury makeover
Houses, like paintings, need a frame that complements and completes the work. So it is for the reconfigured midcentury-style Bayside home of Bob and Chrissy Gruendyke.
Try xeriscaping your yard
According to many landscape professionals, a typical homeowner can use 40 to 60 gallons a day on average to water lawns and gardens. About half of that is wasted. Those who know say the water loss is the result of evaporation, lousy watering systems and, yes, even overwatering.
Create your own forest
Living in southeastern Wisconsin means enjoying a plethora of trees dotting our landscape. We marvel at their size, grace, flowers, fruit, aroma and the entire package that creates a pleasing ambience. So what to do when we want to add that mighty foliage to our own space? 
Resilient Milwaukee
It’s no secret that fresh fruits and vegetables are the staple of any healthy diet. But in urban areas like Milwaukee, fresh quality produce can be hard to come by. Supermarket chains tend to avoid central city neighborhoods where crime is high and incomes are low, resulting in "food deserts."
Global giving
Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power, is on a mission to change the world’s food systems — one country at a time. "Over the 22 years we’ve been in business, we’ve moved along the continuum to be able to work with people throughout the world," says Allen.
Organic Viticulturist
Dan Rinke doesn’t get home to Brew Town too often. The West Allis Central High School grad is busy making wine in Oregon.

Future Farming
Chestnut and hazelnut trees just may save us all, insists third-generation farmer Michael Gutschenritter, co-owner of Three Brothers Farm in the town of Oconomowoc, and he’s out to prove it.
American Beauty
Fall is often deemed our state’s most picturesque season, but there’s something to be said about the rich greenery and aromatic flowers that fill our yards and landscapes in the summertime. 
Natural habitat
Just outside of Pewaukee on a street lined with split-level homes and perfectly manicured lawns, Bill Reichenbach has transformed the grounds of a 1940s-era cottage into a natural landscaper’s dream.
Yard smarts
Want to live a more environmentally friendly life? Start in your own backyard. The harsh weather, water shortages and pervasiveness of pests make it a good idea to think "green" when it comes to landscaping our gardens and yards.
Nantucket calling
It’s hard to believe Daniel and Erica Galligan’s backyard paradise began with frozen mounds of dirt. The Galligans were moving to a newly built house in Cedarburg from Fox Point and the property had zero landscaping. They knew they wanted a pool for their three young boys, but that was it.

Veggie Fest
How does your garden grow? If you live in Wisconsin, the answer is most likely very well. "We can grow just about anything here, except of course tropical fruit," says Mike Timm, head horticulturist for Ebert’s Greenhouse in Ixonia.

Get the dirt
The Blitz is on its way, and it’s going to get down and dirty. That’s just fine with volunteers and staff members at the Milwaukee-based Victory Garden Initiative, who plan to create about 500 vegetable gardens across the city May 10 to 24.

2014's Garden Stars
2014 is the year of the petunia — and echinacea and cucumber. That’s according to the National Garden Bureau, which highlights one annual, one perennial and one edible each year. The national gardening nonprofit chooses the plants based on their popularity, variety, ease of growth, adaptability and versatility.

Bloomin' great
This arrangement, with its paaopping orange hues, is a welcome rush of color this spring. Yellow and gray and pink and mint are also hot color combinations for the season, according to Katie Zignego, floral department manager at Sendik’s in Mequon.

Macro vision
Dressed head-to-toe in khaki including his signature boonie hat; Tony Farrell looks ready to dig in the dirt. But the dirt this Milwaukee resident digs in isn’t in his backyard — it’s in compost bins stacked floor-to-ceiling in his kitchen.

A new path
Inge Winters’ background in interior decorating is evident in the designer’s eye she bring to the landscape of her Cedarburg yard. The design of the nearly 2-acre property on Hidden Valley Lake is loosely modeled after palace gardens in Europe she and her husband, Frank, have visited in their travels.

Mosaic Masterpiece
Jim Liebert can tell you every detail of his 2.5-acre property on Beaver Lake. For more than 30 years he and his wife, Cathy, have diligently nurtured the land, transforming it into a plethora of beautiful gardens containing an even blend of perennials and annuals growing in the ground and in 100 containers sprinkled across the property.

Link side oasis
There’s a hidden oasis next to the ninth hole of the Broadlands Golf Course in North Prairie. Golfers have nicknamed it the Blueberry House in reference to the exterior color, but the real attractions are the large water feature and beautiful flowerbeds on the property.

Lakeside Gem
Julie 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 neighborhood.

Drought hangover
The drought of 2012 may have left your lawn looking more brown and crunchy than green and lush. Now that another winter has passed and spring is upon us, what can we expect from our lawns and gardens?

Natural State
As the caretaker of Judy Peck and Stephen Kaniewski’s yard for the last decade, Stewart Dempsey appreciates the ephemeral beauty of the landscape. "It’s not static. When it comes up you have to enjoy it because it’s never going to be the same again," Dempsey says.

Rosy outlook
If there is such a thing as a "mad gardener," William Radler, inventor of the wildly popular Knock Out Rose, might qualify. Radler, who was director of the Boerner Botanical Gardens in Hales Corners from 1981 to his retirement in 1994, is known as "Mr. Knock Out" in the gardening community.

Light up the night
Warmer days inspire us to spend more time outdoors entertaining, gardening or just meditating amid the sounds of nature. But enjoying the outdoors doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down. The use of appropriately placed lighting can help you make the maximum use of outdoor spaces.

Outdoor hideaway
A pagoda-style three-seasons room is the centerpiece of the backyard renovation by Northouse Landscape Co. for the Gerondale family of Mequon.

Painterly palette
A dramatic natural setting provides the stage for Peter Kudlata’s artful design of Mark and Laurie Tebon’s Mequon yard. "I went with more aggressive perennials that I could plant in large sweeping beds to create large pools of drama," says Kudlata, owner of Flagstone Landscape Design and Contracting, Cedarburg.

Garden get
Whether you’re seeking a tranquil retreat or a fuss-free environment, the following garden styles are sure to result in an impressive outdoor living space.

Best bets
Choosing the right plants for your landscape can be overwhelming. Along with maintenance and expense, you need to consider how plants will fare in Wisconsin’s unpredictable weather conditions.
The edge of design
The Edge condos in Milwaukee is the setting for the 2011 M Magazine Designer’s Challenge. We paired three of Milwaukee’s top landscaping firms with a few of our favorite furniture places to create an urban lounge on the balcony of the sixth-floor penthouse at The Edge. Their inspired designs up the cool factor on city living and might just motivate you to create your own outdoor paradise, whether you’re living in a high rise or in the ’burbs.

Urban landscaper
Jenny Espenscheid enjoys looking out at the city skyline from the roof of the Walker’s Point building in which she lives, but spends most of her outdoor time looking inward at the lush garden, playground, work and gathering space she has created in its 4,000 square feet.
Genealogical gardening
Generations ago, immigrants were limited in what they could bring to America. Only a finite number of things could be packed into a trunk. Often those trunks were packed with family treasures and heirlooms, many of which ultimately were buried in the ground once they reached their new homes.

Where inspiration blooms
Any excuse for a party. If there’s a celebration or a reason to get together, Tizza and Glenn Meyer love to host. For the past 16 years, Stone Fences Farm, their 160-acre compound outside of Dousman has seen just about everything. Local charity luncheons, family get-togethers by the lake, a garden wedding and even dinner parties in the field or an afternoon glass of tea with a friend. Next up? A birthday party for a tree.

Good enough to eat
Nothing says summer like fruits and vegetables freshly picked from the garden. Whether your yard is big or small, anyone can grow a kitchen garden, and it’s easier than you think.

Fresh from the garden
For fresh bouquets all summer long, plant a cutting garden and reap the rewards well into the fall. Gilbert Yerke of Yerke’s Frog Alley Greenhouse, Mukwonago, says a wide variety of blooms perfect for flower arranging are easy to grow in Wisconsin’s climate. "Zinnias are a great cut flower," Yerke says, "and most of the time, they can be started from seed right in the garden."
Sweet oasis
A small piece of paradise is perched in the middle of Elm Grove on Marjorie Clark Takton’s property. The 5-acre parcel has been in her family for decades and is the location of her childhood home. Takton tore down the original house and built a new home for her extended family to enjoy.

Going up
Vertical gardening is getting a lot of buzz as the "next big thing," but Lisa Neske, horticultural consultant at Bayside Garden Center, says the technique is really as old as the hills. "People have done it forever, but it’s getting trendy now because of limited space," Neske says.

Serenity now
A partial ravine in the backyard of Maureen and Chris Greene has been transformed from eyesore to eco-friendly eye candy, thanks to a rain garden grant from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District, Maureen’s diligence and the expertise of her landscaping team.

What's your garden personality?
Our personalities define us, shaping our wardrobes, our homes and even our landscapes. A home can tell a visitor a great deal about its owner, but so too can what is found outside of its doors, making a garden a creative way to express yourself.

Toxic outdoors
A garden is filled with enticing sights and smells, but it can be a potentially dangerous place for people and pets. Young children are especially vulnerable.

Season your garden
There is nothing like stepping out your back door in the summer and picking fresh herbs for dinner. Growing herbs is easy and certainly has its perks of adding fragrance to your yard and taste to your food.

An artist's palette
When Peggy Ann looked at her property in the town of Mukwonago, she envisioned paths wandering through her woods and how the mowed landscape would abut and blend with the natural grass in the meadows.

Functional art
Pergolas have been around for centuries, yet people still don’t understand the purpose of having a roof with holes in it. This is especially true in the Midwest, where the weather can turn on a dime and, frankly, we’re just a tad more practical when it comes to our structures.

Coming up roses
"You can’t plant roses and forget about them, because they’ll pop up and say, ‘Here I am, look how beautiful I am," jokes Chuck Steele, long-time garden enthusiast and rose expert.

Find your path
The best way to enjoy a well-landscaped yard is to get outside and savor it. Homeowners can make it an even more unique experience by custom designing a pathway with stepping stones.

Eco stylings
As a little girl growing up in Shanghai, Anna Tsai never dreamed of having her own garden. "I was always crazy about flowers and stopped by a nursery every day on my way home from school," the Bayside resident says.

A private enclave
Renovating the exterior of a 1953 contemporary house opened up a multitude of landscape and gardening possibilities for Joe Kresl and his wife, Jennifer.

Urban oasis
Only the occasional traffic noises from nearby Silver Spring Drive remind Patty Tagliapietra that she is in the city. The Glendale interior designer has transformed the backyard of her city-sized lot into a lush urban retreat.

Symphony of color
Garden tours provide plant lovers with inexpensive inspiration. Wondering what to do with that sunny area of your yard? Take a look at what gardeners featured on this year’s Waukesha Symphony Orchestra League Garden Tour have done in a similar space.

Fragrant beauty
With over 200 species of irises, how does the amateur gardener know which ones are the best to grow? Durability and easy maintenance make the tall bearded irises some of the easiest to grow.

Plant man personified
Ed Hasselkus willingly admits that the seed for his life’s work was planted while growing up on a farm two miles south of Dousman.

A taste of India comes to Elm Grove
In many ways, Vinod and Anjani Shidham are just like any other gardeners in the area. They grow flowers, fruits and vegetables as well as perennials and annuals in their Elm Grove garden.

Leveraged space
Peter Van Ommeren’s backyard proves the point that small can be beautiful. Not letting size reduce his vision, over the past 15 years, this Wauwatosa homeowner has planted 18 trees in his postage-stamp size space while leaving room for both a significant selection of perennials and a bit of grassy lawn. 

Outdoor rehab
As people spend more time at home, they naturally want to make their surroundings more livable — and that includes the outdoors. In fact, landscaping is now one of the top discretionary projects for today’s homeowners.

Spring training
With plenty of varieties of daffodils to choose from, even veteran gardeners have a hard time picking which ones to put in their yard. Next spring, take your garden to the next level with the advice of UW master gardener Ann Weid and Tom Kulich of Prairie Gardens in Cedarburg. All six varieties will grow in Wisconsin.

Lush symbolism
East has definitely met West in the gardens of Wauwatosa residents Tom and Patti Krause. An Asian influence is reflected through plant selections, hardscapes and design that was inspired by visits to major botanical gardens.

Environmental factors
The key to enjoying the great outdoors just outside one’s back door is creating the right environment. Just ask John D’Agostino and John Borchardt, who last year worked with local landscape design firms to carve out the perfect niche for their respective suburban and urban lifestyles.

In moderation
Homeowners know maintaining a healthy landscape often takes a lot of work, from proper design and planting to maintenance. Those lush gardens and velvet lawns require a lot of sweat equity.

Terrace transformed
Lush gardens are no longer possible only on solid ground. Balconies and terraces are being transformed into a new kind of backyard for millions of apartment, condominium and townhouse dwellers across the country, and the Milwaukee area is no exception.

Go organic
When you’re green you’re growing … when you’re ripe, you rot." This saying covers a lot of ground — even the rotting part — when it comes to organic gardening, the philosophy of using natural matter to enrich soil and make it useful.

Nature's best
Mary Braunreiter hopes her wildlife-friendly Wauwatosa yard will inspire others to discover the delights of inviting birds, bees, butterflies and all manner of critters to share their properties.

Greener pastures
"Greener gardens" is not a redundancy. Planting your little corner of the world in grass or flowers or vegetables is great, but there are better or worse ways to benefit the air, the soil and your own health. For a more ecologically healthy garden, consider the following...

More gardening tips ...

On Gardening: Florida Sunshine, golden in cool-season mixed containers 01-20-2020

On Gardening: Peacocks showing up in landscapes dazzling with color and texture 01-13-2020

On Gardening: Christmas over, time for a tulip planting party 01-06-2020

On Gardening: Pantone Color of the Year Classic Blue an inspiration for gardeners 12-30-2019

On Gardening: ‘This was the most beautiful Christmas ever’ 12-23-2019

On Gardening: ColorMax violas offer months of dazzling cool season color 12-16-2019

On Gardening: Cool-season euphorbias offer color, texture and a crescendo of blooms 12-09-2019

On Gardening: Peanut butter for the holidays, a most rewarding gift 12-02-2019

On Gardening: Lacebark elm offers fall and winter magic 11-25-2019

On Gardening: Fatsia tropical foliage and flowers for pollinator feasting 11-18-2019

On Gardening: Hydrangea varieties add long-lasting color to the garden 11-11-2019

On Gardening: Make the woodland garden picturesque with anise 11-04-2019

On Gardening: October Magic camellias put you in a gardening frame of mind for fall 10-28-2019

On Gardening: Winterberry hollies create a hillside of gold 10-21-2019

On Gardening: Monsoon Mixer and Hawaiian Big Kahuna provided a summer full of enjoyment 10-14-2019

On Gardening: Basil amazing for the culinary artist and incredible for the pollinator nation 10-07-2019


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