Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Olbrich Botanical Gardens is located in Madison, Wisconsin. Named for its founder, Michael Olbrich, the gardens are owned and operated jointly by the City of Madison Parks and the non-profit Olbrich Botanical Society. The gardens were established in 1952. Noteworthy additions to the gardens were the Bolz Conservatory in 1991, and a Thai pavilion or sala, a gift to the University of Wisconsin–Madison from the Thai Chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association and the government of Thailand through its king, Bhumibol Adulyadej. Opened in 2002, it is one of only four sala outside of Thailand and one of two in the United States (the other is located in Hawaii). Contents 1 Gardens and grounds 2 Bolz Conservatory 3 Gallery 4 See also 5 External links Gardens and grounds The only Thai pavilion in the contiguous United States The gardens are made up of several separate areas. The Sunken Garden is in the form of a traditional English garden. Surrounded by limestone terraces and hedges, it contains an 80-foot (24 m) long reflecting pool – designed to connect the garden thematically with nearby Lake Monona. The Thai Garden contains the sala, which is joined to the gardens by a 155-foot (47 m) arched footbridge crossing Starkweather Creek. This garden has a shallow reflecting pool near the pavilion and is filled with small examples of Thai sculpture. The plants in this garden were carefully selected to give a tropical appearance to the garden in the summer, while choosing plants capable of surviving Wisconsin winters. A Rock Garden is constructed of a rocky hill, designed to simulate a mountain slope. Plants here are mostly conifers or alpine and two streams flow through it, forming a waterfall and small pond. Here again, a wooden footbridge crosses the stream. A Meadow Garden combines perennial grasses, wildflowers, and plants grown from bulbs. The grass in the meadow garden is mowed only once or twice a year. The small Wildflower Garden contains wildflowers, ferns, berries, and native trees and shrubs. An Herb Garden is a collection of smaller gardens of herbs separated by use; they include medicinal, dye, and kitchen (spice) herbs, as well as ‘touch’ and ‘smell’ gardens. A perennial garden displays perennials and three ponds, with a waterfall. Aquatic plants are displayed in the ponds. The Rose Garden is an ongoing project featuring more than 700 varieties and 125 rose cultivars, including hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras, and hardy shrub roses. The Starkweather Creek and Atrium Shade Gardens features a semicircular atrium and plants such as astilbes, hostas, lungwort, bishops’ caps, and ferns. The Eunice Fisher Hosta Garden features hostas hybridized by Wisconsin-native, Eunice Fisher. Bolz Conservatory The Bolz Conservatory The Bolz Conservatory is a greenhouse housing over 750 plants representing over 70 families and over 550 different species and cultivars. The plants are native to tropical and sub-tropical regions. The structure itself is a glass pyramid measuring 100 by 100 ft (30 by 30 m) and rising to 50 ft (12 m) at the apex. The temperature is maintained between 65 and 80 degrees fahrenheit (between 18 and 26 °C), although the sun may warm it to 95 °F (35 °C) in the summer. The relative humidity is maintained at 60% or above. In addition to the tropical plants, the conservatory is home to species of birds including canaries, waxbills, and coturnix. There is also a koi pond, featuring koi and goldfish. Frogs, toads, and geckos are also present. While admission to Olbrich Botanical Gardens is free, a small fee is charged for entry into the conservatory. Gallery A view of a path in the Rose Garden from the tower Rock Garden waterfall The Sunken Garden with the top of the Rose Tower visible in the distance Inside the Bolz Conservatory In the Meadow Garden The Thai pavilion with a bronze elephant sculpture Close-up of the bronze elephant See also List of botanical gardens in the United States External links Olbrich Botanical Gardens Website Portal Wisconsin Entry Coordinates: 43°5′33″N 89°20′6″W / 43.09250°N 89.33500°W / 43.09250; -89.33500 Wikimedia Commons has media related to Olbrich Botanical Gardens.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Primarily for those who need assistance to view the Gardens, Olbrich’s tram travels in a circular route around the Gardens, with riders getting on and off at a number of stops to enjoy Olbrich’s many gardens. As they ride, the driver shares an interpretive message about Olbrich’s history, gardens, and sustainable gardening practices. Donations are welcome to keep the tram accessible for all garden visitors. A donation box is located on the tram.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Olbrich Botanical Gardens’ outdoor gardens and Bolz Conservatory are wheelchair and stroller accessible. House wheelchairs and electric scooters are available in Olbrich’s lobby. Pets are not allowed, however, service animals are welcome in the Botanical Center, Outdoor Gardens and Conservatory.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens, winner of the national Garden of Excellence Award, features 16 acres of outdoor specialty gardens, including a sunken garden with an eighty-foot reflecting pool and a perennial garden with a meandering stream. A two-acre rose garden with a two-story, stone rose tower highlights Midwest-hardy shrub roses. The exotic Thai Pavilion and Garden is the only one in the continental U.S. An accessible tram travels the gardens weekends spring and fall, and daily during summer, for people who need assistance getting around the gardens. The year-round tropical Bolz Conservatory, a sunny 50-foot-high glass pyramid, houses ferns, palms, and flowering plants along with a waterfall, birds, and fish. Visit the gift shop and horticultural library. Attend year-round events, concerts,and classes for children and adults. Guided 60 minute narrated tours for 10-50 people at $3/person, Mon-Fri 10am-3pm. Advance registration required for tours.
One of my favorite spots in Madison! The gardens are beautifully kept and I feel like I see something new every time I go. My absolute favorite spot in the gardens is the Thai Pavilion – so peaceful and the gold often looks like it's glowing. The outdoor gardens are free and you can head into the indoor rainforest area for $3. The rainforest is, as you would expect, quite hot and steamy, so if you visit in the winter prepare to doff your winter coat before entering. While I've enjoyed walking the gardens with others, I find it most satisfying on my own. You can walk, think, and enjoy your solitude at your own pace. There are tons of benches and chairs in nice shaded areas for sitting and reading or drawing, and for the most part people are quiet. Every now and again you'll get a chatterbox or two, but they tend to move on quickly. In the summer bees can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, but with so many flowers they tend to leave you alone, though they will buzz by your head with regularity. Bring your kids, bring your grandma, bring yourself; there's something for everyone to enjoy at Olbrich.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens unveils GLEAM, a cutting edge exhibition featuring site-specific art and light installations in the outdoor gardens. Local artists and professional lighting designers will collaborate to create sculptural art, featuring light as a major component in each installation.
Let's start off with some transparency, I'm a paid member of Olbrich Botanical Gardens – I like it that much. But even if you're passing through town or live in Madison and just want to check out a jungle in USDA Zone 5, the glassed in conservatory is a great getaway. ESPECIALLY IN THE WINTER. Even if you're a winter snow sport fan, what are the worst parts of winter? Ice to slip on, snow to dig, and air that makes your face hurt. For the $3 admission, get away from it all and wander through a warm, humid, lush, tropical rain forest. The paths are well designed and give the feeling of it being much larger than the actual footprint. Benches allow for lingering, and signs tell the story of many of the plants. I often go there to read – there is no rush. I highly recommend stopping once or, especially in the winter, making it a regular part of your (local) snowbird getaway.
Let's start off with some transparency, I'm a paid member of Olbrich Botanical Gardens – I like it that much. But even if you're passing through town or live in Madison and just want to check out a jungle in USDA Zone 5, the glassed in conservatory is a great getaway. ESPECIALLY IN THE WINTER. Even if you're a winter snow sport fan, what are the worst parts of winter? Ice to slip on, snow to dig, and air that makes your face hurt. For the $3 admission, get away from it all and wander through a warm, humid, lush, tropical rain forest. The paths are well designed and give the feeling of it being much larger than the actual footprint. Benches allow for lingering, and signs tell the story of many of the plants.I often go there to read – there is no rush. I highly recommend stopping once or, especially in the winter, making it a regular part of your (local) snowbird getaway.
Notice: Walter St. is expected to remain closed through the end of August due to construction. As a result, some bus routes serving Olbrich Gardens will be subject to temporary detours during this time, as well as closed stops.