Green Bay Botanical Garden — A sense of place…

Beds filled with impatiens, ornamental grass, and other showy selections welcome folks to the Visitor Center and gift shop at Green Bay Botanical Garden. Photo identification – All images by Diane Morey Sitton (except Hobbit House which is courtesy of Green Bay Botanical Garden).

This time of year, when you think Green Bay, football comes to mind. But despite the adrenaline rush that accompanies thoughts of Wisconsin’s storied Green Bay Packers, 13-time National Football League Champions, Lambeau Field is not the only place in Wisconsin’s oldest city where green and gold are memory makers.

Pumpkins and ornamental grass highlight the season along Schneider Terrace, outside the Visitor Center.
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At Green Bay Botanical Garden, a must-see destination for garden lovers, nature lovers, and families, fall arrives with Golden Fleece goldenrod, Lemon Queen sunflower, Orange Cosmic cosmos, and the sun-gold tones of French marigold, to name a few of the fall blooming beauties. As the days shorten and the temperature cools, trees, too, celebrate the season with colorful foliage.

Seasonal color adds vibrancy throughout Green Bay Botanical Garden.
This kaleidoscope works its magic using the colors of plants and flowers. Visitors can peer inside to see for themselves.

During my recent visit to the garden, I learned that more than 62,000 plants representing 3,800 species and cultivars that thrive in the Upper Midwest grow here in 33 specialty gardens. The 47-acre, award-winning garden opened in 1996. It occupies the site of an historic Green Bay apple orchard. In fact, one of the theme gardens, Larsen Orchard Remnant, features apple trees from the former orchard. Records show that during WWII, apples harvested here were used to make applesauce for soldiers. Today, bulbs, shade-tolerant perennials, and annuals provide a comely understory to the old trees.

The boxwood and barberry parterre is equally beautiful whether admired from ground level or viewed from the Wellhouse above. Herb beds edge the showy pattern.
Shades of silver and chartreuse are prominent in the Color and Foliage Garden, adjacent to the Wellhouse.

Folks can get their first glimpse of the historic trees from the Wellhouse, a camera-friendly structure that occupies Schneider Terrace, near the Visitor Center. The Wellhouse also overlooks a combination parterre/herb garden, and the Color and Foliage Garden where trees, shrubs, grasses, perennials, and vines provide an ongoing display of yellow, maroon, chartreuse, gray, and blue-green foliage.

The English Cottage Garden depicts how a groundskeeper on an English country estate would have lived and gardened.
One-of-a-kind watering cans add to the storybook quality of the English Cottage Garden.
“Picturesque” describes the English Cottage where old-fashioned flowers, herbs, and veggies fringe the cobbled-together walkway.

Nearby, old-fashioned self-seeding annuals, herbs, and veggies surround a quaint cottage in a mid-western interpretation of how groundskeepers would have lived and gardened on an English country estate. In true cottage garden tradition, the walkways are cobbled together from re-purposed stone, brick, and other “rummaged” materials.

As fall arrives, coneflower seedheads are nearly bird-ready.
“Whimsical” doesn’t come close to describing the Hobbit House, near the children’s area in Green Bay Botanical Garden. (image courtesy Green Bay Botanical Garden)

Activities and education are the focus at the Children’s Garden where a tree house, maze, slide, koi pond, butterfly garden, and sensory garden keep youngsters occupied. Kid pleasers include the “wetting zoo,” an area that invites kids to water animal-shaped topiaries, and the nearby Hobbit House, a rest station built to resemble a hobbit hideaway. Besides being fun to look at, the whimsical structure provides lessons in conservation. Not only is it built into the hillside which minimizes its heating and cooling needs, but the green roof lessens storm water runoff and provides habitat for garden critters.

In the Larsen Orchard Remnant, hosta, hydrangea, and other shade-loving plants grow under historic apple trees.

At the Shade Garden, Green Bay Botanical Garden returns to its roots. Here, in this tranquil oasis, thousands of hostas and other shade-tolerant perennials fringe a babbling spring that meanders toward ruins of a stone springhouse. Before the days of refrigeration, the springhouse would have been used to cool produce.

Butterfly art decorates the Pollinator Garden.

Other specialty gardens at Green Bay Botanical Garden include Magnolia Grove, Vietnam Veteran Garden, All America Selections Trial Garden, Hosta Display Garden, and Daylily Display Garden.

For more information about Green Bay Botanical Garden go to:

Posted by Diane Morey Sitton
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