The UW Arboretum has three distinct garden collections that provide sensory delights, educational opportunities, and practitioner resources. They include Wisconsin’s premier collection of hardy trees, shrubs and vines, as well as a unique native plant garden representing native plant communities of southern Wisconsin.
The gardens are designed and maintained to display plant diversity, illustrate gardening practices and inspire visitors throughout the seasons. Students, homeowners, green industry professionals, families, teachers, community members, and international guests visit our gardens for learning and enjoyment.
Garden tours are offered in spring, summer, and fall.
Longenecker Horticultural Gardens
Recognized internationally, this 35-acre area near the Visitor Center is the premier collection of trees, shrubs, and vines in Wisconsin and includes 6,000 specimens suitable for Madison’s climate. More than 2,500 kinds of plants, including more than 100 species of Wisconsin’s native woody plants, are displayed.
Longenecker Horticultural Gardens hold one of the largest displays of lilacs in North America; initial lilac plantings from 1935 can still be seen today. New selections are added to the garden every year, keeping the collection current. You can also visit the most up-to-date collection of flowering crabapples, as well as shrubs, conifers, and other plant groups. Specimens in the gardens are labeled with a tag attached to a south-facing branch or a nearby post. This major resource for the study of landscape plants is available to educators, the public, and the nursery trade.
Located east of the Nakoma Road and Manitou Way intersection, this 3-acre garden features more than 80 species and varieties of Viburnum and 110 species and varieties of arborvitae.
Wisconsin Native Plant Garden
The Wisconsin Native Plant Garden, designed by landscape architect Darrel Morrison, is a place where people of all ages participate in land care and learn about native plants, restoration, pollinator conservation, and ecological relationships.
Located on 4 acres surrounding the Visitor Center, the WNPG includes 15 gardens and hundreds of native Wisconsin species. The Garden introduces visitors to ecological restoration and diverse communities in the Arboretum and the region. It is a key teaching resource that demonstrates landscaping with native plants. We promote sustainable gardening practices: limited water use, minimal pesticide use, diversity in plantings, rain gardening, and pollinator conservation.