'Wisconsin Public Television is saddened by the death of Shelley Ryan, longtime host and producer of The Wisconsin Gardener.
...With her always-friendly demeanor, good humor and inquisitive nature, Shelley became a television mentor for so many people over the course of two decades on The Wisconsin Gardener – encouraging them to get their hands dirty and explore innovative new ideas in their gardens. She created the show after becoming a Master Gardener through the University of Wisconsin-Extension and realizing that Wisconsin’s gardeners could benefit from a program focused on the attributes of horticulture that are specific to our state.
'Through her work on television and in the community, Shelley Ryan became a friend to everyone with a green thumb and those of us who hoped we could develop one,” WPT Director of Television James Steinbach said. “With The Wisconsin Gardener, Shelley created and cultivated a program that taught us all something new in every segment and motivated gardeners new and old to become better stewards of all of our natural spaces. I learned so much by working closely with Shelley for the past two decades. All of us at Wisconsin Public Television, and all of her viewers, will miss her enthusiasm, passion, vast knowledge and – more than anything – friendship."
As Shelley traveled the state to explore Wisconsin’s most beautiful places, she made lasting connections with professional and amateur horticulturists, gardeners, landscapers and outdoor educators that she shared as important resources with her audiences.
Early in the television show’s run, providing in-person access to those resources would inspire the creation of Wisconsin Public Television’s Garden Expo – an event that now draws nearly 20,000 gardeners to Madison each February to uncover the latest in gardening techniques, tips and information.
Shelley retired from her role as host of The Wisconsin Gardener in 2013 after completing work on the show’s 21st season. At the time she shared news with her fans that her cancer had returned...
...Shelley’s work on The Wisconsin Gardener lives on in the hundreds of hours of television that she created, recipes she shared and informational resources she mined – much of which is available online as a lasting resource that is still used regularly by gardeners across the state.'