Friday, December 20, 2019

Epic Systems Campus: Whimsical, Anomalous, and Beautiful

One of the more unique destinations on our itinerary for the Madison Fling is a visit to the Epic Systems campus, near the suburb of Verona, on Friday, June 24.

Epic is one of the healthcare industry’s leading information technology companies, serving many of the world’s largest hospitals and healthcare systems. One in two Americans is covered by a hospital that uses Epic Systems to run its software, and Epic is the second-largest employer in the Madison metro area.

But aside from being a big company with a big campus, it's also a whimsical place—inside and out. We won't be going inside during our visit, but we're thrilled to be able to tour the incredible outdoor gardens, led by Jeff Epping, one of the property's lead landscape designers.

Jeff is a proponent of gravel gardens, and his influence is on display at the Epic grounds, along with unique sculptures and succulent and drought-tolerant plants.

That's just the start of it, though.

The buildings on the campus range from a castle to a tree house to a large barn. Signage directs you to the fanciful destinations.

While varied and playful in many areas of the property, the gardens are actually quite beautiful, too—there's something for every gardener here. It's like a playground of garden types and styles.

Last but not least are the are the amazing prairie/savanna views of the surrounding countryside. You won't want to miss it; truly a one-of-a-kind destination.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

John & Bob's Smart Soil Solutions: Supporting Sponsor of the Madison Fling

Our hearty thanks goes to John & Bob's as a 2020 Fling Bloom-Level Sponsor!

The secret to lush gardens, lawns, productive flowers, fruits, and vegetables lies in the health of the soil. Nature's most powerful organic ingredients infuse your soil with life.

John & Bob's four-product system of Optimize, Nourish-Biosol, Maximize, and Penetrate is the easy, effective, and organic way to make your soil healthy.

John & Bob's system feeds beneficial soil organisms with its unique blend of organic compounds, minerals, and microbes. John & Bob's formulations use the same strategy that benefits self-sustaining plant communities all over the world.

Find them online:

*** The Garden Bloggers Fling is a non-profit organization; we’d be nowhere without our generous sponsors! Please let them know how much they mean to us—big "thank-yous" to each and every one! ***

Friday, December 13, 2019

UW-Madison Arboretum:
Renowned for Research, Restoration, and Natural Beauty

One of the most beloved natural areas in the Madison area is the UW-Madison Arboretum. Located only about a mile south of the city center and the UW-Madison campus, the Arboretum comprises 1,200 acres of preserved natural spaces.

The Arboretum property encompasses several unique features, including:

• The world’s oldest restored prairie;
• An extensive collection of other restored ecosystems;
• The Longenecker Horticultural Gardens; and
• A native plant garden surrounding the visitor center.

We’ll be visiting the Arboretum on Friday, June 24, as part of the 2022 Garden Bloggers Fling. Among others, three ecological thought-leaders are dedicated to the Arboretum's work and gardens: Karen Oberhauser, director, who’s also a monarch butterfly expert; Susan Carpenter, native plant gardener, and an expert on the endangered rusty-patched bumblebee; and David Stevens, the Longenecker Gardens curator.

Native plants likely to be blooming/peaking during mid-June at the ArboretumTradescantia ohiensis, Geranium maculatumAnemone canadensis, Aquilegia canadensis, Baptisia alba, and Rosa spp., among many others. We’ll miss the peak of the horticultural garden's crabapples, lilacs, and magnolias, but there may be a few late-blooming lilacs and magnolias.

In addition to its natural beauty and recreational opportunities, the Arboretum is also a place of learning and research. UW alumnus Aldo Leopold, known to many as the father of wildlife ecology, said the aim for the Arboretum was to re-establish the “original Wisconsin” landscape and plant communities that had been lost due to European settlement.

Leopold, who was research director at the time of the Arboretum dedication, along with the Arboretum Committee introduced the new concept of ecological restoration.

The Arboretum is an oasis of nature surrounded by urban and suburban areas. Its stated vision: acting as a “global source of knowledge of and a model for restoring ecologically sustainable relationships between people and the land through integrative, innovative, and collaborative approaches in science, stewardship, education, and public engagement.”

Join us as we explore the UW-Madison Arboretum at the 2022 Fling.