Saturday, April 2, 2022

Sunday's Private Gardens: Colorful, Charming, and Creative

[Note: Dates have been changed for the 2022 Fling. Gardens may vary slightly.]

We’ve previewed the Madison gardens we’ll visit on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, June 26, we’ll head east and southeast to visit a garden on Madison’s isthmus, a garden in the suburb of Monona, and two gardens in the small city of Stoughton.

Jane and Duane Miller have an urban garden within Madison’s isthmus that showcases very creative use of a small lot. During the growing season, they repurpose their driveway as a pathway and patio into the garden. Plants in rolling pots—along with garden furniture, portable fences, planters, and umbrellas—come out to form a wonderful dining and entertaining space. “Since many things are on wheels,” says Jane, “we can rearrange spaces or create a parking spot if needed. A wood pergola on one side and a secret garden nestled between two garages in back form the other garden rooms in our space.” The couple’s colorful bowling ball collection lines the front garden. Arbors and fencing divide the property into gardening “rooms” filled with colorful annuals, dramatic foliage plants, and decorative surprises around every corner.

Ann Munson has planted more than 220 trees and shrubs, and untold numbers of perennials and annuals, since 1980, in her ¾-acre suburban property. Free of traditional grass lawns, the gardens of sun and shade are connected with rock, stone, and wood chip paths. Two ponds and a connecting stream provide water for wildlife and stimulation of the senses. “I recycle as much from the land as possible, and recycle interesting items as I find them,” says Ann. “My gardens allow me to participate in the ongoing cycle of life—seeking beauty, health, and creativity. I want there to be mystery, excitement, interaction, and health in the garden. I want color, design, natural critters, and the flow of the seasons made real. I want to look out my window at a natural world, and step out my door and do a forest bath.”

Jim Ottney and Jay Hatheway have gardened at their Stoughton home since the mid-1990s. When they bought the house, the “yard” was an untended field of weeds, an oil change sand pit, piles of old tires, clotheslines, volunteer trees at random locations, and various invasive plants. They turned over the entire lot by hand, and beginning with several small beds along the fringes and foundation yews, they transformed the lot. The entire garden is laced with pathways and seating areas, incorporating a newer central pergola over the original patio, a metal gazebo in the back, a deck overlooking the entire garden, garden art distributed throughout, and a flagstone open space in one section. “Gardens can be whatever you imagine,” notes Jim. “We wanted a private escape and a space where we could entertain small groups of friends. We worked within the limits we were given and discovered ways to use foliage variety to create interest.”

Janet Aaberg’s property had just one tree in the back and one in the front when she moved to her home in 1992. “I added a few shrubs and flowers, but it wasn’t until 2000 after a life-changing event that I really started digging,” she says. “Each year, I either enlarged an existing bed or dug up a new one, and I now tend to 18 large perennial beds.” Janet has a diverse selection of perennials including 32 varieties of Clematis, most of which should be blooming when we visit. “You’ll also see garden art mixed into each garden,” she adds. “I have a very sunny, hot location, and with years of planning, I have something blooming from April through November. My slice of paradise is not only good food for the soul, but also for the critters, pollinators, and insects.”

Our private gardeners are looking forward to your visit! Stay tuned for more planned highlights of the 2022 Fling. (Note: This schedule may change; we will keep you updated here and on the Fling Facebook page.)