By Marni McEntee | Photographed by Shanna Wolf

This front garden flanking busy East Gorham Street, which carries 18,000 cars a day, is a riot of color in summer, as thousands of blooms thrust forth in fragrant bunches.

And yet, says owner Bob Klebba, the yard is a work in progress.

“It’s all a process. There’s nothing finished about it,” says Klebba, who with partner David Waugh owns the Mendota Lake House Bed & Breakfast, whose front walk passes through sky-high tree lilies and a variety of other natives and exotics.

They purchased the abandoned historic 1911 home from the city in 2012, cleaned up the landscape’s disarray, and started planting annuals, supplied by their own Mount Horeb nursery, Morningwood Farm.

Now they’re integrating perennials, from tulips to fritillaries to daffodils and more. “Our goal is to have flowers from the end of March to Thanksgiving,” says Klebba.

On a recent July day, passersby were taking notice. A woman leading a man on a pair of rented B-Cycles turned her head as she whizzed down the road, yelling and pointing at the Mendota Lake House Bed & Breakfast garden: “Look at that!” Look at that, indeed.


Mendota Lake House Bed & Breakfast: 704 E. Gorham Street, Madison |

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