June 29, 2021

Checking Out Grandpa's Roses
At Old World Wisconsin

teaching garden 2

Dad and I made a trek over to Old World Wisconsin, in Eagle, a couple of weeks ago. The drought was still bad at that time, so while the tended plants looked fine, much of the area was quite parched.

Old World Wisconsin is a living-history destination that showcases actual stories of early settlers to the state, from the 1840s to the 1910s. It includes historic spaces, gardens and trails, and costumed staff to help tell the stories and answer visitor questions.

My mom and dad worked and volunteered at Old World for many years. Mom's illness and COVID-19 kept them away recently, so Dad was happy to check back on one of his favorite places.

raspberry school

Part of the purpose of our visit was to check out my great-grandfather's roses, a set of which were donated to Old World a decade ago. You can read about that donation here, and more about the story behind the mid-19th Century grafting of the 'Sweet Mary' rose here.

Two patches of 'Sweet Mary' are planted on either side of the entrance to the Raspberry School, one of the locations where my dad worked as an historical interpreter. It's in the Norwegian section of the park, and though Dad isn't Norwegian, I think he figured his Danish and English heritage were close enough. ;-)


Because of the drought and because we missed the peak of bloom, the flowers were fading, but we were glad to see that Great-Grandpa's roses still look very healthy.

teaching garden

Before we left, I wandered a bit in the teaching garden near the entrance to the park. This area of Old World is regularly tended and watered, so the plants looked very happy and healthy.

teaching garden 4

Raised beds and planters, and climbing plants offer great examples of time-honored gardening techniques.

teaching garden 3

The teaching garden is planted mainly with ornamentals, with blooms included for the entire growing season.

SS skipper

There's a story behind this silver-spotted skipper butterfly, but let's just say she was a welcomed sight on the Salvia. :)

rugosa rose

Since dad was waiting elsewhere for me, I didn't get the exact names of the hybrids and the cultivars, but I certainly noticed this beautiful double Rugosa Rose. Next time I visit, I'll have to make note of it for future reference.


The Hollyhocks certainly were healthy, too! I'm trying to start some in my own garden, and they're taking their time, so I really appreciate tall, full examples of this lovely plant.

It was a great visit and a wonderful place to explore. Old World Wisconsin is nearer Milwaukee, but roughly an hour's drive from the Eastern outskirts of Madison. It's definitely worth a visit if you're in the area!

June 15, 2021

Bloom Day on the Cusp of Summer


I'm sneaking in on the end of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. We're experiencing a moderate drought, with warmer than normal temperatures.

While the smaller gardens are watered, many of the native plants have deep roots and can take the tough conditions. The cutting garden is starting to bloom, and there are continuous flowers (like Snapdragons) for me to display in vases, here and there.

Sometimes, I'm more excited by the buds just about to bloom than the fully flowering plants.

Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

And one of the best things about June is the roses. Two favorites are blooming now.

double pink
Oso Easy Double Pink (Rosa spp.

at last
'At Last' Rose (Rosa spp.)

Several others are approaching, or in full bloom.

poke milkweed
Poke Milkweed (Asclepias exaltata)

Russian Stonecrop (Sedum kamtschaticum)

'Seniorita Rosalita' Spider Flower (Cleome spp.)

state fair mix
'State Fair Mix' Zinnias (Z. elegans)

Still others are waning, but still lovely.

'Ambassador' Alliums

The Alliums are a little further along than this photo from a week ago.

'May Night' Sage (Salvia nemerosa)

The Salvias need deadheading so they'll bloom again.

Overall, it's been a weird start to the growing season...perhaps something to reflect on in a future post. But there's always so much to be thankful for.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.

June 06, 2021

Highlights From Our Early June Hikes


I generally walk/hike at least a couple of miles each day, no matter the weather. My best friend usually joins me; but sometimes I'm on my own. He's a great trooper, and now that he's a little more mature (2 1/2 years), he's very patient when Mom stops to take photos. We take breaks in the shade on very hot days, like we've had for the past week.

No matter what stage of the growing season, there are always interesting plants. But I'm always quite curious about the blooming and developing plants during the transitions between seasons.

As we move from spring to summer, some native plants are winding down, though still beautiful.

Geranium maculatum

false solomon's seal
Maianthemum racemosum

shooting star
Dodecatheon meadia

The Geraniums and Shooting Stars have been particularly stunning this year. Other common natives are just hitting their stride.

Baptisia alba

baptisia field
Prairie filled with B. alba

bf iris
Iris versicolor

Anemone canadensis

Zizia aurea
(Interesting beetles!)

Asclepias syriaca
(Do you see the monarch egg?)

Arnica spp.

Yarrow millefolium

Potentilla simplex

Viburnum dentatum

The insects are fun; I love all the flies, caterpillars, and bees.

In a couple of weeks, the fruity snacks along our paths will be ripe.

Rubus occidentalis

Rubus allegheniensis?

I'm looking forward to that refreshment!

I also usually notice plenty of nonnative, invasive plants.

Hieracium aurantiacum

dames rocket
Hesperis matronalis

Heracleum sphondylium?

While problematic, it's hard to deny the beauty of many invasive plants; if only they wouldn't take over.

We also frequently encounter wildlife during our hikes. Fortunately, the pup wasn't with me when a family of geese walked right up to me.

geese 1

geese 2

geese 3

The papa hissed at me, but when he backed off and re-entered the pond, I snapped a few photos of the goslings.

Every encounter with wildlife is special, but we try to give them space (the telephoto lens helps).

red-bellied woodpecker
Red-bellied woodpecker

rs purple
Red-spotted purple


Every hike is fascinating, fun, and a new, unique adventure!