Native wildflowers and grasses bloom in Wisconsin Native Plant Garden

Native wildflowers and grasses bloom in Wisconsin Native Plant Garden

The Arboretum offers free informational tours in Longenecker Horticultural Gardens (LHG) and the Wisconsin Native Plant Garden (WNPG). Tours take place on selected dates from April through October, Wednesday evenings from 7 p.m. to dusk, or Saturday afternoons from 1 to 3 p.m. Tours are open to the public and begin at the Arboretum Visitor Center. They are intended for adults.

With more than 2,500 types of plants on display, Longenecker Horticultural Gardens feature an internationally recognized collection of trees, shrubs, and vines. It is a resource for the study of landscape plants by educators, the public, and the nursery trade. The gardens hold major displays of lilacs, flowering crabapples, viburnums, conifers, and many other plant groups.

The 4-acre Wisconsin Native Plant Garden surrounds the Visitor Center with several hundred species native to Wisconsin. The garden serves as an introduction to ecological restoration and the restored and managed plant communities in the Arboretum. It also demonstrates how to incorporate native plants into home landscapes.

Tours are led by Arboretum garden staff—including Susan Carpenter, the WNPG gardener, and David Stevens, the LHG curator—and other regional experts. Tours are cancelled for severe weather.

2018 Garden Tours

Saturday, April 21, 1–3 p.m. Longenecker Horticultural Gardens Tour: Magnolias

Magnolia tree in bloom, Longenecker Horticultural Gardens
Magnolia tree in bloom, Longenecker Horticultural Gardens

Tour the gardens’ extensive magnolia collection, and other spring flowering plants encountered along the way, with Michael Jesiolowski, Chicago Botanic Garden senior horticulturist.

Saturday, April 28, 1–3 p.m. Native Plant Garden Tour: Early Signs of Spring

As trees begin to leaf out, Dutchman’s breeches, twin-leaf, and rue-anemones might be blooming in the woodland gardens, and pasqueflower and prairie-smoke in the prairie gardens. Susan Carpenter will lead this tour.

Saturday, May 5, 1–3 p.m. Longenecker Horticultural Gardens Tour: Lilacs and Crabapples

Enjoy spring blooms and scents in the lilac and crabapple collections with David Stevens, who will highlight some of his favorite selections.

Saturday, May 19, 1–3 p.m. Longenecker Horticultural Gardens Tour: Medicinal Plants

Explore the historical and contemporary medicinal uses of woody plants with Jane Hawley Stevens of Four Elements Herbals.

Wednesday, June 13, 7 p.m. Native Plant Garden Tour: Woodland, Savanna, and Prairie Gardens

Celebrate late spring by visiting our woodland, savanna, and prairie gardens. This tour, led by Susan Carpenter, provides an overview of the Wisconsin Native Plant Garden.

Wednesday, June 20, 7 p.m. Native Plant Garden Tour: What’s Blooming?

Join Susan Carpenter to find, compare, and learn about flowers on native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.

Wednesday, July 18, 7 p.m. Garden Tour: Plants for Pollinators

Learn about summer-blooming native and ornamental species in Arboretum gardens. Susan Carpenter will highlight plants and gardening practices that support essential pollinators in urban/suburban landscapes.

Wednesday, August 8, 7 p.m. Native Plant Garden Tour: Native Grasses

Indian grass

Susan Carpenter will focus on color, size, and features of native Wisconsin grasses, from tiny mustache grass to big bluestem.

Saturday, September 15, 1–3 p.m. Longenecker Horticultural Gardens Tour: Edible Landscaping

Join Judy Kingsbury and Marian Farrior, Arboretum outreach specialists, as they explore the collection’s edible richness and highlight some of their favorite trees and shrubs.

Saturday, September 22, 1–3 p.m. Native Plant Garden Tour: Fall in the Native Plant Garden

Color, fruits, seeds, late blooming plants, late-season insects—we will find these and more in the diverse native plant gardens. Susan Carpenter will lead this tour.

Saturday, October 6, 1–3 p.m. Longenecker Horticultural Gardens Tour: Conifers

David Stevens will explore the pinetum, the largest and most diverse conifer collection in the state. Located on a glacial drumlin, the collection presents a diverse array of conifers from around the world.

Saturday, October 13, 1–3 p.m. Longenecker Horticultural Gardens Tour: Fall Favorites

Enjoy the colorful show of trees and shrubs before winter dormancy. Michael Jesiolowski, senior horticulturist at Chicago Botanic Garden, will highlight the best fall foliage, form, and fruit displays from Acer to Zelkova.