Exotic Garden Trip Notes

presented by Don Brill, WIMGA member, February 16, 2017

Barbados Trip Notes

Orchid World: A unique sun garden

Andromeda Botanic Garden: The oldest botanical garden

Sunbury Plantation: A bit overrated with green monkeys! Worth stopping if it’s on route.

Flower Forest: Great Scottish Highlands garden

Petrea Gardens: an older private garden.  Current construction plans to add sunny gardens and more water.

George Washington’s House & Garden

Hunte’s Garden: I rate this #1.  Built in a sink hole below reused buildings

Welshman’s Hall Gully: more green monkeys

St Nicholas Abby: A must see first class plantation

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Miami Garden Trip Notes

Fairchild Tropical Garden:  A Large Tropical US Botanical garden with zone 10 & 11 plants.  Limited photos allowed

Viscaya: An historic Italianate House and garden restoration.  Very impressive hardscaping. No photos allowed from the house.

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“First Thursday” at Wild Center

Due to scheduling issues the First Thursday at the Wild Center was held on the First Tuesday in September. We had some hot and steamy weather September 1, but nonetheless some hardy souls showed up to cut off bull thistle and Canada thistle seed heads before they cast their seed in the prairie. Being that this prairie was only seeded 5 years ago it looks really good with a lot of native diversity. There are still ongoing challenges with unwanted plants like Queen Ann’s lace, sow thistle, wild parsnip, etc., but it is coming along nicely. There was even some lovely bottle gentian and great blue lobelia in bloom this evening. Awesome.

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I was also fortunate on this Wild Center volunteer night to capture some photos of an adult monarch butterfly gathering nectar on a stiff goldenrod and also a monarch caterpillar feeding on the host plant Asclepias incarnate (aka red milkweed or swamp milkweed).   This plant and its sister plant asclepias tuberosa (aka butterfly weed) are more colorful and ornamental than the common milkweed (asclepias syriaca); yet the monarchs love to lay their butterfly eggs on them.   If you like butterflies like I do, red milkweed and butterfly weed would be an excellent addition to have in your flowerbed.

Written by Rich Fischer

Posted by Vicki

72 Acres With A Mission

Riverview Gardens is a non-profit social enterprise in Appleton WI, focused on job training for people in need, operating with the core concept that all people have value and can contribute to the community where they live.  Riverview Gardens has five social enterprises, including a 15-acre certified organic urban farm with an apiary, microgreens operations, hydroponics greenhouse being constructed, a bakery and a soon to be launched retail operation.  A prairie is planned for installation on the urban farm in 2016.

Vegetable Garden

Vegetable Garden

The seed for Riverview Gardens grew out of Executive Director Cindy Sahotsky’s participation in the inaugural class of the executive Social Innovation Leadership Experience (SILE) sponsored by Marquette University, the J. J. Keller Foundation and the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs.  Poverty and homelessness have many causes and cannot be resolved through shelter alone.  Some source of income is required to be eligible for transitional housing, and it is often impossible to secure employment without a current address and recent work history.   The enterprises provide unlimited job-training opportunities for the people served and a source of revenue.  Riverview Gardens sells produce, microgreens and bakery items through a community supported agriculture (CSA) program, at a farmers market and to restaurants, grocers, hospitals and corporate cafeterias.

Founded in 1898, Riverview Country Club and golf course was Wisconsin’s oldest private country club and an Appleton institution until its closing in 2011.  Riverview Gardens’ founders saw the beautiful, prominent property as an opportunity to address critical community needs in a completely new way, at the same time preserving and protecting the land for agricultural use. Riverview Gardens is the collaborative transformation of a 72-acre golf course and related country club.  This transformation addresses serious regional challenges, including rising unemployment, homelessness, poverty, and lack of access to nutritious, fresh food, all with a financially self-sustaining model.

While Riverview Gardens isn’t training people to be farmers, job-training participants grow from the lessons of farm life and gain critical transferable job skills that helps them move forward to self-sufficiency for themselves and their families.  ServiceWorks, the job-training program, has successfully provided job-training to over 500 of our community members in need.

You can get involved in this transformative project by joining volunteering your time or donating much-needed garden tools.  You can also enjoy walking, running and biking on Riverview Gardens’ 72 acres daily from dawn to dusk.  For more information, visit  Riverview Gardens is transforming land, lives and the non-profit idea.

Written by Kelly Nutty

Posted by Bev

Just a Neighbor

JohnI have a neighbor that has a spectacular garden and it gets better every year.  Dan Doersch is a retired 7th grade Science teacher who, with his wife Kitty, spend all summer tending “His Majesty’s Gardens”, as the sign out front on the lawn announces.

Besides starting all his annual seeds in a lean-to greenhouse, he is also very involved with dwarf conifers and evergreens.  As a member of the American Conifer Society, their yard was one of three locations in the Green Bay area featured on the ACS Convention garden walk.

I happened to have mentioned earlier this summer that some day I’d love to bring a few friends to see his place.  I contacted him the other day just before he was to leave on a fishing trip to set it up.  One morning Mary, Sue, and Jill met me and Susan at Sissy’s Treats and Treasures for coffee in Seymour before our visit.  We shared lots of laughs and new friends were

Dan and Kitty Doersch share their love for horticulture and over the years have molded the 40 acres into a work of art.  (I might add that my father-in law sold Dan’s father that 40 acres back in 1970.)  Dan hybridizes hemerocallis and Kitty has her own black velvet petunias. I almost wish we had visited my yard first and then gone to the Doersch’s. Mine seemed rather ho-hum after walking on the paths and around the pond to the back of the house to see Dan’s new bigger and better greenhouse going up.  When I saw the seedlings for this year’s new 7th grade students, a small Mimosa called Sensitive Plant, it reminded me of the plants my two boys brought home for Mother’s Day when they were in Mr Doersch’s 7th grade Science Class.wagon

Written by Bridget
Posted by Kim

The SKIRTS do Saturday

Most women have a group of girls with whom they do things that their spouse or significant other have little or no interest in. One warm Saturday was one of those outings for the SKIRTS. Solaris Farms in Reedsville to view and buy daylilies was the destination. Talk about eye candy!

The farm is a family homestead. Nate enjoys experimenting to make a hardy daylily that can withstand Wisconsin’s winters. The family is hands-on in this business. We saw Nate out sharpening shovels and digging up plants when a customer wanted to take some home. The two children are now in college but have helped when times are busy. Kim also can be seen advising customers.

We walked through the gardens that were for display and growing hybrids for future sale. I loved the bench perched atop a hill overlooking a field of daylilies. Some of the old farm buildings are used in the business and serve as a great rustic backdrop to the gardens.Winey bird

When we made it to the shopping area, we took our clipboards in hand and perused the rows. It was daylily heaven. There were ruffled ones, sparkly ones, tiny ones and long spidery ones. big oleSix petalWe laughed at the names; Pearls before Swine, Beyond Thunder Dome and House of Misrepresentatives just to name a few. The highest priced flower had a three digit figure. We smiled and kept walking.

I was standing firm that I had enough plants. I refused a clipboard that not only carried a sheet for making a list but descriptions in detail of each plant. By the time I got to the second half of the gardens, I had to return for a clipboard. Then our plants were plucked from the earth, labeled and gently bagged for their journey home.

On the drive home we came upon a plant sale at a farm house. These were home grown at that property and very healthy. As we were looking around, the owner said everything was half-price making the most expensive item $2.50. Now I lost it! Sixteen dollars later, I totally broke resolve. Just when I thought I could sit back and enjoy the garden, I have more digging and rearranging.

Written by Kim