last week i headed to the cool northern climes of wisconsin for a little r&r while my husband attended a conference. it was a great trip. lots of walking, garden oogling, connection with friends new and old, and family time in the north woods. here are the image highlights:
monona terrace is a frank lloyd wright designed community and convention center, with a nice rooftop public space. it was designed and built before LEED certification was in vogue, and with minor adjustments, was awarded a silver rating, the first convention center with such recognition.
of course, i found some time to geocache:
prior to our trip, i befriended linda and mark of each little world. they sent me a list of not-to-miss madison sites, then generously offered to give me a personal tour of their garden and others around town. i certainly couldn’t turn that offer down, and we spent a wonderful day together – proof that garden bloggers can be kind, endearing souls…
linda and mark took me to see the first unitarian society meeting house, also designed by frank lloyd wright, and designated as a national historic landmark. in 2008, an historically-sensitive and sustainable addition was built (designed by the kubala washatko architects), complete with green roof and stormwater management system. it has a gold LEED rating. see the previous two links for more info and images.
the light was high and harsh when we were there, and i couldn’t get a good angle to capture the green roof, but you get the idea.
our next stop was the allen centennial gardens on the campus of uw-madison. i actually came here when i was looking for undergraduate schools way back when, but i didn’t recall it looking so good… must be all the efforts that ed lyon, the garden’s director, and his dedicated crew is doing there. keep up the good work, the world needs more horticulturalists!
i admired many plant combinations at allen, and might even be able to try similar ones here in texas.
from allen we headed to the uw-madison arboretum, home to curtis prairie, the world’s first and oldest restored prairie. since acquiring the land in the 30’s, the arboretum has conducted extensive research on planting methods and management techniques such as prescribed fires and storm water management. we only had a bit of time to spend there, but i picked up a book (prairie plants of the uw-madison arboretum by cochrane, elliot & lipke) at one of the local area bookstores, hoping to glean some of its information for a project in texas.
wednesday morning i happily found the madison area/dane county farmers’ market, just down from the capitol. lots of vendors on both sides of the street leading from the capitol to the monona convention center. i bought a locally roasted coffee, a super sugary bear claw, nibbled on some cheese samples (come on now, this is wisconsin), and bought not one, but two pints of organic raspberries that melted in my mouth – the second one i gave to the conference-bound husband.
and then i headed northwest to reconnect with a dear friend in minneapolis…
in the evening we reminisced over a bottle of wine (or two), and in the morning hit the vintage and craft stores, just like we did back in high school (minus the wine part, of course). isn’t it nice to know that some things never change? good times…
then headed back to madison, and from there we headed to the north country to visit my relatives and their farm in the woods of butternut:
we traipsed through tracks of poplar, balsam, birch and red pine.
we were happily put to work on a new garden for my aunt. she had a basic idea worked out, and then the boys and i got to reconfiguring it. we used brick brought from her parent’s hometown of bessemer, and sandstone culled from under the porch of a restaurant just down the road. we dug a good base and filled it with a gravely sand (also found on the property) before setting the brick. good thing someone had a tractor lying around to assist us…
unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to finish, but it’s off to a good start. i can’t wait to see how it turns out!
now my aunt will have even more room for her pretty plant combinations, like the perfectly matched phlox and meadow rue combo that i absolutely fell in love with:
a great trip all around… the greenery, the cool weather, reconnecting with friends and family… i am grateful, and refreshed.