Plan Your Visit to These Public Gardens

By Cassie Hurwitz | Photos courtesy of Bookworm Gardens, Paine Art Center and Garden, and Green Bay Botanical Garden

Featuring more than 70 different gardens, each based on a popular children’s book, Sheboygan’s Bookworm Gardens is a space for families with children of all ages. Don’t miss the interactive Magic School Bus, featuring bells and whistles for kids to explore. Future archeologists and paleontologists can dig for dinosaur bones in the sand pit. The Magic Tree House series comes to life through a large gazebo, which is one of the spots for the garden’s various events, including story time, yoga and art. The best part? The gardens are free for all.

The Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh bring exotic plants and local treasures together through a series of 19 gardens surrounding the mansion. In the Evening Terrace, violet and amber perennials—including varieties difficult to grow in Wisconsin—create a foyer-
like space by surrounding the house’s original door. The Victorian-style, English garden- inspired Morning Terrace stays bright into the late evening and is nicknamed the “moon garden” because of how it catches the moonlight. Hostas, hydrangeas and ferns grow in the Shade Garden, which also incorporates sculptures for an art-meets-nature effect.

The 47-acre Green Bay Botanical Garden creates something new from the grounds’ previous life. The Larsen Orchard Remnant, a garden of tulips and other spring flowers is built around apple trees left from a former orchard there. The Les & Dar Stumpf Hobbit House is built into the side of a hill and features green facilities like water efficient toilets and sinks—plus a roof deck for garden creatures. Adirondack crabapple trees form a border around a spectacular fountain and rows of perennials in the Mabel Thome Fountain & Garden, which also serves as the backdrop for the Botanical Garden’s concert series.

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