Native Plants in Wisconsin

By Idelle, June 29, 2022

I recently had the privilege and pleasure to join the Garden Bloggers Fling in Madison, Wisconsin. It was one of the most amazing weekends of my life, touring gorgeous gardens with friendly & passionate garden writers! We saw both private gardens and public gardens, and each and every one was stunning and beautiful in it’s own way.

One of the things I noticed most in the Madison area was the abundance of native plants. They had natives growing in the medians, along the side of the road, in parks, around schools, and in gardens all around. From the bus, we passed so many patches of native plants, it was wonderful!

Even tiny medians like this one above had native plants tucked into it instead of grass like we see here in Denver. I want to work with the city of Denver to change our parkways and unused grass areas into native plant gardens to support pollinators, birds and other wildlife! Natives need less water, less maintenance, and they support way more life!

The University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum was amazing, they have a huge collection of trees (what one of our hotel guys called a “zoo for trees” – love that!) and they also have the world’s oldest restored prairie, Curtis Prairie that covers 73 acres. This predominantly tallgrass prairie shows off many native species, including big bluestem and Indian grasses. They also have about 16 acres of wetland vegetation including prairie, shrub carr, sedge meadow, and emergent communities. It was quite impressive!

I love that they have vases of freshly picked native flowers for easy identification and education in their visitor center. And they look so charming, too!
The Arboretum prairie also had “Pollinator Monitoring Research” stations where they can detect and identify pollinators amongst the flowers.
Pollinator Monitoring Research” camera in native Prairie
Kopke’s Greenhouse was a delight, and they had lots of natives still in stock!
Milkweed Beetle hanging out in the Prairie
Native plants were found everywhere around the Madison area, such as these milkweed and other plants growing along the bike paths in town.

I am so glad that the Garden Bloggers Fling was hosted in Madison this year, it was a treasure to tour all the glorious gardens, see native plants everywhere, and to enjoy them with so many wonderful gardeners & writers from around the world!

Thanks to all the sponsors and a huge thanks to Beth and Anneliese, our most welcoming and gracious hosts!