August 20, 2015

Summertime at Olbrich

red admiral
Red Admiral and other pollinators on 'Summer Beauty' Alliums surrounded by Echinacea spp.

Recently, I posted about the "Roses of Olbrich Botanical Gardens." And while roses are definitely a summer highlight of the Madison, Wis., gardens, the roses are just the beginning.

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Decorative bench inviting visitors to sit awhile and enjoy the view.

Whether resting on a bench or walking through the pathways, Olbrich in the summertime is a feast for all the senses. Pollinators, plants, and creative combinations are around every corner.

Here are just a few of the highlights visitors might see in mid- to late summer:

monarch
Monarch resting/nectaring on Zinnia elegans.

celosia
Another Monarch posing on  chartreuse Celosia plumosa. This looks like 'Sylphid.'

hives
Honeybee hives tucked along the back border of the park.

a. cernuum
Bumblebee enjoying ornamental onion (Allium cernuum?).

a. tanguticum
More pollinators on 'Summer Beauty' Alliums (A. tanguticum).

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Ripe raspberries: yum!

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Curving view of the Olbrich's iconic "donors arbor," filled with Wisteria blooms in springtime.

clematis
Also climbing along the arbor posts: Clematis verticella 'Betty Corning.'

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Earthy pots filled with mixed annuals and Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum).

pond
Small ornamental pond purposely coated with algae and planted with ornamental grasses.

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Ornamental pepper 'Black Pearl' planted with 'Candy Stripe' Petunias and Sweet Alyssum.

mixed cordyline
Mixed planting: Red Grass Palm (Cordyline australis) in back and Rugosa Roses in the foreground.

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Mixed planting: Brazilian Fireworks 'Maracas' (Porphyrocoma pholiana), Coleus 'Under the Sea Yellow Fin Tuna' (Solenostemon scutellarioides), Persian Shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus), and Scarlet Sage (Salvia splendens).

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Oblique sun angle back-lighting mixed Echinaceas, Monardas, and Calaminthas.

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Lesser Calamint (Calamintha nepeta ssp. nepeta).

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Honeybee nectaring on Lesser Calamint.

pentas
Pink Pentas (Pentas lanceolata).

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Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) 'Amber Jubilee.'

sedges
Swales of Pennsylvania Sedge (Carex pensylvanica) along a shaded walkway.

hydrangea
Panicle Hydrangea (H. paniculata 'Dharuma').

gaura
Gaura (G. lindheimeri).

goldenraintree
Panicled Goldenraintree (Koelreuteria paniculata).

echinacea
Honeybee on Coneflower hybrid (Echinacea spp.).

amsonia
Drifts of Bluestar Amsonia (A. hubrichtii).

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More 'Summer Beauty' Alliums and Lesser Calamint along the walkway.

'Summer Beauty' Alliums are a signature plant of the gardens, and after my recent visit, I decided to order some for my own garden.

Late afternoon is a great time to visit the gravel garden, as the oblique light casts a surreal glow to the Coneflowers, Sedges, Alliums, and many other pollinator favorites:

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Gravel garden backlit with oblique light and chock full of pollinators.

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I hope you enjoyed your virtual visit!

55 comments:

  1. Beth- bowled over by the tour. The light in the gravel garden and the pendulous 'Betty Corning.'. Pentas are unknown to me and Ninebark is too premature for August hues! So many lovely aspects of Olbrich you captured and have given a link to this post for others to enjoy

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. In some ways it's difficult for me to post about Olbrich because it feels like home. It's very close to me here, distance-wise, plus I've been going there for garden therapy for about three decades. I didn't cover everything in this post--there's just so much to see. I've written several posts that included Olbrich, but I'm thinking I'll plan to post about the other seasons within the next few months, too.

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  2. I am just becoming aware of the late blooming alliums. Someone else just posted about 'Millnieum'. I must get some of these beauties. Don't you appreciate the cool down? It is much more fun to get outside now.

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    1. Yes, me too, Lisa--regarding the Alliums. I have big plans for adding them to next year's garden. ;-) Regarding the cool-down, the past few days were too cool for August (my preference, anyway), but today is perfect--a high of 80F, a very light breeze, partly cloudy--it's just gorgeous! Now this would be a good day for a garden tour! :)

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  3. I'm convinced--this is the perfect place for next year's Midwest Garden meet-up! I'm with Lisa--I'm going to have to add some of those alliums to my garden; all of mine are early bloomers. But I especially love all the shots of the coneflowers. You don't see the native pale purple coneflowers that often in public plantings--so lovely! Today would have been the perfect cool day to visit some gardens:)

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    1. I have several locations in mind for next year, including Olbrich. :) The problem in Madison is narrowing down the list to a workable few for a day-long tour. I included a small sample of what Olbrich has to offer. But I must admit: that gravel garden is my favorite spot. It's pretty sunny, but the perfect place to sit and observe pollinators on a sunny, early October day. And it's strikingly beautiful during the summer and fall. Yes, today is perfect--not too hot and not too cold!

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  4. What amazing photos, Beth! I am looking forward to walking through that garden --I agree it would be a great place for a meet-up. And Madison is often cooler than Rockford!

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    1. Thanks, Cassi. The light was incredible that day--I wish you could have seen it. It really took my breath away. I'm already looking forward to next year's gathering. I think the lakes help to cool Madison a little bit, although we have some pretty hot days, too, and the humidity from the lakes can make it feel hotter. But we'll hope for a day like today--80F, low humidity, light breeze, partly cloudy...

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  5. Beautiful photos, enjoyed this flowery tour very much. My eye caught especially that little pond with grasses, nice idea.

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    1. Thank you. That little pond surprise me--I don't remember seeing it before, but maybe I just walked by it in the past. I agree: It's a creative idea!

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  6. Great photos! Such a great place to get ideas.

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    1. Thank you. Yes, it's definitely an inspiring, stunning, comfortable place to be. One of my very favorite destinations in Madison. :)

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  7. A thoroughly enjoyable virtual visit. Superb planting and some great shots of the pollinators Beth. I just love the Echinachea with the long droopy petals. It's an eyecatcher!

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    1. Thanks, Angie. The Pale Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea pallida) really catch the oblique light in stunning ways. It really was a breathtaking day--especially in that gravel garden.

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  8. What beautiful gardens. Whenever I see one of those long arbours covering a walkway, I always think how wonderful it would be to have one in my own garden. It will never happen, but no harm in dreaming, right? Maybe I can get a miniature version happening someday.

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    1. Tee hee. Yes, wouldn't that be great! Even a miniature version. Actually, that would be better because the maintenance wouldn't be as time-consuming.

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  9. How beautiful! I love the vines and arbor walkway. So great that it is so pollinator friendly, too! I love those Echinacea pallida, as well. I wintersowed seeds of those a year and a half ago, but the plants still have yet to bloom!

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    1. Yes, it's definitely pollinator-friendly! Especially in that gravel garden. Well, all around the gardens, actually. Echinacea pallida is a fun plant--fun to photograph, too.

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  10. What wonderful flowers, such a nice place..
    Amanda xx

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    1. Yes, it's a fun place to visit. The flowers were especially lovely in July this summer.

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  11. ooh I look forward to seeing your Alliums.

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    1. Wish me luck! I hope they'll help to keep the rabbits away from some of the plants I'm trying to establish in my garden. Argh.

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  12. I did indeed enjoy my visit, it was peaceful, and had such a sense of serenity...I especially loved the weathered chairs with the white eckies surrounding them...makes me want to plant something like that in my garden.

    Jen

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Jen. Yes, the gravel garden is my favorite spot. I think many people don't appreciate it enough because it's sunny and full of bees. But those are the reasons I enjoy it. :)

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  13. I love that white Echinacea. Interestingly, I was at a plant sale this spring. I bought plant labeled "Dwarf Agapanthus." Turns out it was mislabeled. It's Allium tanguticum or similar allium. I really like them. Great post!

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    1. Thanks, Grace. How funny about the mislabeled plant. Good thing the true plant is one that you like! I know I've seen A. tanguticum in the past, but this summer it really hit me--I need to plant this in my garden!

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  14. What a great place to visit! I see we have the red admiral butterfly in common, though sadly no Monarchs here in the UK. I like the look of that Amsonia AND I know my local nursery has it, so I'm having a ponder on where it might go in my garden.

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    1. Yes, Red Admirals are very common here, too. I don't have Amsonia in my garden, either, but I want it. I fear I don't have enough sun, however. But I must make a place for it! ;-)

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  15. It looks like a lovely place Beth. You are lucky to have it in your area.

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    1. Yes, we're lucky here in the Madison area. Olbrich is just one of many amazing public gardens nearby. And the state parks around here are wonderful, too.

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  16. Oh, I sooo enjoyed my virtual visit! It's a beautiful place, full of peace and serenity. I loved the bench most of all.

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    1. Great--thanks, Susie. :) Yes, if you're ever in Madison, make sure you visit Olbrich. I can give you many more ideas, too. I love the benches in gardens.

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  17. It looks like a wonderful place, Beth. I like the Amsonia image, such great, refreshing color. Just getting back from PA, the public gardens were filled with butterflies. What a great year for them. Looks like you saw the same.

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    1. It's a great place to visit, Donna. I was fascinated by the difference in shades of color for the two patches of Amsonia. I think one was getting more sun than the other. But they look great in swaths like that.I'm glad you had a great trip! Yes, the butterflies have been plentiful this summer, after a slow start ... but then since then, it seems to be a good year for them. Yay!

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  18. Oh my . . . how lovely . . . beautiful virtual journey . . .
    and back in my homeland made it even more enjoyable!
    Thank you Beth . . .

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    1. You'll have to come back and visit. ;-) I'm glad you enjoyed the virtual tour. Michigan is just as lovely as Wisconsin. Cheers!

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  19. Beautiful virtual tour -- I haven't been able to get over there yet this summer. The curving pergola and grape arbor are two of my favorite features.

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    1. Thanks, Heather. I put it off too long because of some big projects, and then one day I realized the summer was slipping away and I needed (really needed) some garden therapy away from my own garden. It was a beautiful day. (We've had so many beautiful days this summer, haven't we?)

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  20. I feel as though I am learning a new language with gardening.... But I am soaking it all in... Michelle

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    1. We all learn from each other, that's for sure, Michelle. :)

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  21. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I need to go back! My 'Summer Beauty' alliums finished blooming weeks ago. Glad to see the pic of 'Betty Corning' - I'm planting some this fall.

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    1. Thanks, Jason. Yes, if you remember Olbrich from years ago, it's just gotten better! The most recent design is quite impressive. Lucky you, to have 'Summer Beauties'! The photos in this post were taken about a month ago, but I'm just getting around to posting about the main part of the visit now. ;)

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  22. What a treat! Such a gorgeous photographical tour you took us on. Thank you! It's on my bucket list now for sure!

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    1. Thank you, Linda! It's a great place for gardeners and nature-lovers to visit. Next time you're in town, you'll have to check it out. :)

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  23. Thank you! The gravel garden filled with pollinators has to be a special treat in late afternoon, which is always my favorite time of the day here.

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    1. Hi Deb: Yes, the gravel garden is amazing. There are a couple of them at Olbrich, but this particular one with the chairs, and the Alliums, and the Coneflowers is my favorite one. Just gorgeous.

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  24. My garden is now full of that calamint and Summer Beauty alliums after seeing them at Olbrich a couple of years ago. That place is so inspiring.

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    1. Yes, I agree it's definitely inspiring! I'm thinking I might plant Calamint and Alliums among all my native plants that I'm trying to establish. I've had some major rabbit damage this year, and maybe those two plants would help keep them away. I'm not sure Lesser Calamint will grow well in partial shade, but I think I'll try it.

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  25. Fantastic!!! You know my love for botanical gardens, so I enjoyed very much this post, and I have to say that I agree with you about the late afternoon shots, they are amazing!!! Really congrats and thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi Lula: I'm glad you enjoyed the virtual visit! Thank you for your kind comments. That late afternoon oblique light is so inspiring!

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  26. Thank you for a lovely tour. I particularly like the gravel garden. Wonderful photos as usual.

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    1. Hi Chloris: Yes, the gravel garden is amazing. I could sit there for hours--especially on a cool fall day when it's so comfortable to sit in a sunny garden. Thank you for your kind words.

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  27. Oh Beth this is just gorgeous...I had to go slowly as there was so much I wanted to take in....and that arbor area is perfection. And I also love the gravel garden...I could meditate there for hours.

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    1. Yes, it's an amazing botanical garden. I feel so fortunate that I live so close and can visit any time.

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  28. What a beautiful, beautiful place! I'd love to sit in those chairs & just soak it all in. Just caught up on some of your posts. Garden parallels & life are something I contemplate a lot. I hope this new phase of your life is good. It has to be quite an adjustment. Thanks for sharing your experience with the Monarch caterpillars you found. I found four. They are still in the garden tonight but I keep thinking I should bring them in... Hopefully they'll still be there in the morning. Thank you so much for all your kind comments. I appreciate them all.

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