Saturday, November 16, 2013

Green Bay Botanical Garden

Green Bay Botanical Garden "stimulates an appreciation for and an understanding of the world of horticulture and the enduring relationships between plants and people. Through our volunteers and staff, we serve people of all ages by providing year-round educational and recreational experiences within an environment that enriches, inspires and refreshes."

Green Bay Botanical Garden opened on the site of the old Larsen orchard in 1996 with 47 acres of display gardens and natural areas. The apple orchard was originally part of a vast acreage owned by the William Larsen family of Green Bay, which lay within the Town of Hobart, on what was once Oneida Indian Reservation Land. William Larsen founded a wholesale fruit and vegetable business in 1882, marketing produce in the Green Bay area. Larsen expanded the business into a canning operation founding Larsen Foods which was eventually acquired by Dean Foods and later by Agrilink Foods.  (Our family moved to the Green Bay when my husband was hired by the Dean Foods Vegetable Co. to head up marketing for the newly acquired Birds Eye frozen vegetable business.)  In 1969, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College bought a 198-acre property, including the Larsen orchard on which the school was built. The Garden leases land on a long-term basis from NWTC.  NWTC’s landscape horticulture program operates from a classroom building and greenhouse on the Garden grounds. Students utilize the Garden as a living laboratory, growing plants that are transplanted tg the Garden and helping with landscaping projects.

When we first moved to the Green Bay area in 1994, the garden was still only a vision yet to be realized.    As of today, 25 acres have been acres developed. GBBG continues to  In the last several years the Botanical Garden has completed construction of a 12,000 square foot addition to the education center and renovation of the visitor center.   The newest additions to the garden include the Frederick Bauer Perennial Garden, the Arendt Conifer Garden, and the Simurdiak Patio next to the Jan Wos (past owner of Mayflower Greenhouse) Garden containers and plantings.

This butterfly garden at Green Bay Botanical Garden
maintained by NEWHSA.  The butterflies featured in past years
included the swallowtail, painted lady, variegated fritillary,
karner blue, monarch and hummingbird moth
Perennials in the butterfly bed include sedum, liatris, Joe Pye weed,
lavender and allium.  We add annuals the color of the butterfly
we are featuring that year to the bed each spring.  The inside of the
buttterfly is filled with hens and chicks amidst shiny glass gems.
Another herb group maintains this bed with a fairy garden
that has it's own herb garden beds in a formal design
 similar to that of the larger garden it is a part of.
I believe this pie-shaped raised bed
represents a "pizza garden" with tomatoes,
peppers, basil, parsley and some marigolds
thrown in to add some color.
When one wanders beyond the herb gardens there are wonderful garden vignettes to discover.   

The bronze sculpture Serenade, found in the Kress Oval,
depicts George Kress playing his violin as wife,
Marguerite, listens with a rose on her lap.
A bench extends so that garden visitors can  join
Marguerite in appreciating the beauty of the roses.
A concrete leaf fountain raised off the ground on an
overturned clay pot.
The Belvedere is an example of an early Grecian Gazebo. 
The stars, clouds and moon cut into its roof capture the
poetry of the view as much as the quote from
 Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Ellen Kort "Circle the light...
talk to stars...bless the seasons...
let peace bloom like a the small sure lift of wings." 

Whimsical features delight in the Childrens Garden.

A giant sundial
A flower on the outside unfolds to reveal
a monarch butterfly 
Mr Mcgregor's garden
Child-size chairs of logs invite children to
hide under these weeping branches.
Dragonflies abound
King Shade Garden

Two photovoltaic (solar panel) arrays have been installed near the Landscape/Horticulture Learning Center at the Green Bay Botanical Gardens.  The arrays were designed to look like sunflowers to aesthetically fit inot the gardens' landscape.  Electricity produced by this system will be tied directly into the electric utility grid, with any additional/excess electricity produced being sold back to the utility company. This system will help train future NWTC students in the design, installation, operation and maintenance of solar energy systems.  

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