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. ;-)

roses

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.

hollyhocks

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!

26 comments:

  1. Sounds like it was a lovely visit and time spent with your Dad. Nothing better than that.

    Beautiful Rugosa there, and the Hollyhock too. Here the Hollyhocks get all kinds of diseases that badly mar them.

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    1. Yes, it was great. :) I think I just don't have enough sun for the Hollyhocks, but I'll keep trying.

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  2. Oh, what a nice post, Beth. It sounds like a place that I would love visiting — I love plants with history and honoring the past.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. Yes, I think you would enjoy it. It's quite a large complex, so it takes some time to see it all. They do have a free tram, though, that's part of the admission price, so you can catch rides throughout the day.

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  3. What a pleasant day out with your Dad. Love hollyhocks. I have some that have self seeded around in the most unusual places, such as right under a tree are a couple of pink ones that are twisted due to trying to reach the sun. Funny plants.

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    1. Yes, the hollyhocks are interesting--that's a good way to put it. I think I had success with them in the past, but lately, they don't seem to want to grow very tall, and no flowers. I know they don't always flower the first year, but this is the second year and they just have large, low foliage. So, I'll keep trying...

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  4. Lovely post, and so special to spend that time with your dad. Those are gorgeous hollyhocks!

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    1. Thank you, Tina. We had a pleasant time. I loved the hollyhocks and I wish I had more sun for some in my garden. :)

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  5. What a great trip to take with your dad! I'm very impressed by those beautiful hollyhocks, plants that I try periodically in the hope that someday I'll avoid the scourge of rust they develop almost instantly here. The pretty, unidentified pink rose almost looks like a peony (not that I have much experience with those).

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    1. Yes, it was! Sorry for the late response. I'm falling behind on my blog lately. I need to step up! I've had mixed results with hollyhocks, too, probably because of my waxing and waning sun/shade situation. They are so beautiful!

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  6. I love those living history places, Beth, and this was a very special one, especially as you experienced it with your dad. Love the dark red hollyhocks. I seem to have only pink ones this year. Stay cool. P. x

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    1. I do, too, Pam. Thanks for stopping by. Strange summer; I need to dedicate a little more time to blogging in the weeks ahead. :)

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  7. Such a wonderful day. I think spending time with your Dad and discussing past memories can't be beat.

    I do wish you well growing Holly Hocks. There were some here when we bought this house. They were planted on each side of the front porch and I tried and tried but they were always consumed by rust. The leaves looked horrible but the blooms were lovely.

    I love living history museums because it feels like you can still feel the presence of the previous people.

    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

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    1. It was wonderful! My Hollyhock plants are doing OK, but no blooms after two years. So, because they're short-lived perennials and I have no blooms to re-seed, I don't expect to see them again next year. I have other plants starting in that spot, though, so hopefully they'll take over. I just don't quite have enough sun for them, I guess.

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  8. My aunt Sharon lives in Palmyra. ;-) My boys enjoyed exploring Old World each summer.
    I use to have hollyhock, but they died out during that really, really cold winter.

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    1. Nice. You and your family may have seen my parents at Old World, since they volunteered there for many years. :)

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  9. You know, we never went there when we lived in Wisconsin. Looks fun. Wish I had those hollyhocks.

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    1. I know: I love the Hollyhocks! Old World Wisconsin is a great place for kids (grandkids?). :)

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  10. Betting dollars to donuts the pink rugosa is Therese Bugnet...unless the roses planted there are only heirlooms. The flower, the leaf color, are perfect. Should have some red stems.

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    1. Oh, good to know. There are so many beautiful Rugosa Roses. Olbrich Botanical Gardens has an impressive collection.

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  11. That looks a wonderful place to visit and explore. Some bittersweet memories too?

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    1. It is a great place, and yes, many of the memories are bittersweet, since Mom is gone now. But many special memories, too.

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  12. Looks like a great place to visit .
    How nice to do this with your dad . . .
    Happy you were able to check on the roses.
    Loved the Hollyhocks!

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    1. It is fabulous--worth visiting with kids if you're ever in the area with family. And the gardens are impressive.

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  13. Beth that is one cool place. I'm excited we get to come visit y'all next year. Covid was a bear. I love stories about historic passalong plants too. ~~Dee

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    1. Yes, looking forward to the Fling, Dee. I hope we can make more real progress in wiping out this virus before next spring/summer!

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