Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Christopher Farm & Gardens

One of the highlights of the 2010 Wisconsin Master Gardener conference in Sheboygan was a tour of Christopher Farm & Gardens, located along the western shores of Lake Michigan in the scenic Pigeon River Valley of Mosel Township, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. The mission of the privately owned 400 acre farm and gardens is to share and preserve a living museum dedicated to promoting the enjoyment, understanding and conservation of native plants, trees, animals, and the Lake Michigan shoreline found in the habitat of Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  While 300 acres are devoted to leased crop production by local crop and dairy farmers, there are 20 acres of native woodland and natural prairies, as well as extensive flower gardens, vegetable gardens, fruit orchards, walking paths and stocked fishing ponds. A horse farm has been transformed to a 40 acre groomed garden drained by a complex swale system that creates an ideal environment for plants, trees, and shrubs to flourish.  The gardens  include an Asian garden featuring a Japanese teahouse, a koi pond with over 150 fish, a gazebo, a tennis court, a single par two golf hole, three sets of beehives with two in each, a "Bear Walk" in a woodlot populated with life-size animals made from various materials, a grape arbor and a railroad (16-inch gauge width) complete with a passenger boarding platform station and a walkway crossing.  One uniquefeature of the gardens is a blue-colored stone depiction of the Great Lakes with other shades of stones outlining the states bordering the lakes.

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