The Arboretum offers free informational tours in Longenecker Horticultural Gardens and the Wisconsin Native Plant Garden. Spring and summer tours are Wednesdays at 7 p.m., and fall tours are on Saturday afternoons. 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 staff—including Susan Carpenter, the native plant gardener, and David Stevens, the Longenecker Horticultural Gardens curator—as well as other local experts. Tours are cancelled for severe weather.
2016 Garden Tours
Spring and summer tours: Wednesday evenings, 7 p.m.
April 27 — 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.
May 4 — Longenecker Horticultural Gardens Tour: Magnificent Magnolias
Tour the gardens’ extensive magnolia collection, and other spring flowering plants encountered along the way, with Michael Jesiolowski, Chicago Botanic Garden senior horticulturist.
May 11 — Longenecker Horticultural Gardens Tour: Luscious Lilacs
David Stevens will focus on the gardens’ large and renowned lilac collection—its history, fragrance, and form.
May 18 — Longenecker Horticultural Gardens Tour: Colorful Crabapples
Join David Stevens to learn about the gardens’ crabapple collection, the most up-to-date collection in the world.
May 25 —Longenecker Horticultural Gardens Tour: Spring Highlights
Dr. Laura Jull, associate professor of Woody Ornamental Horticulture at UW–Madison, will feature noteworthy spring woody plants within the collection.
June 1 — Longenecker Horticultural Gardens Tour: Shade Trees
Laura Wyatt, program manager at the UW–Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve, will take you through the Gardens’ extensive collection of shade trees while discussing strategies for growing healthy trees in urban/suburban conditions.
June 8 — Longenecker Horticultural Gardens Tour: Permaculture
Join Kate Heiber-Cobb, founder of the Madison Area Permaculture Guild, and Marian Farrior, Arboretum restoration work party manager, as they explore urban permaculture design and highlight permaculture functions of woody plants in the collection.
June 15 — Longenecker Horticultural Gardens Tour: Urban Trees, Local Issues
Jeremy Kane, associate director of the Urban Tree Alliance, will discuss issues facing Madison trees and highlight tree species diversity within our collection.
June 22 — Native Plant Garden Tour: Woodland, Savanna, and Prairie Gardens
Celebrate early summer by visiting our woodland, savanna and prairie gardens. This tour, led by Susan Carpenter, provides an overview of the Wisconsin Native Plant Garden.
June 29 — Native Plant Garden Tour: What’s Blooming?
Join Susan Carpenter to find, compare, and learn about flowers on native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
July 6 — Longenecker Horticultural Gardens Tour: Hydrangeas in Bloom
David Stevens will share the gardens’ extensive and varied hydrangea collection and highlight other summer-flowering woody plants.
July 20 — Native Plant Garden Tour: Plants for Pollinators
Learn more 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.
August 10 — Native Plant Garden Tour: Native Grasses
Susan Carpenter will focus on color, size, and features of native grasses, from tiny mustache grass to big bluestem.
Fall tours: Saturday afternoons, 1–3 p.m.
September 24 — 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 around the Visitor Center. Susan Carpenter will lead this tour.
Oct. 1 — Longenecker Horticultural Gardens Tour: Edible Landscaping
Join Judy Kingsbury and Marian Farrior, permaculture designers and Arboretum outreach specialists, as they explore the collection’s edible richness and highlight some of their favorite trees and shrubs.
October 8 — Longenecker Horticultural Garden Tour: Fall Favorites
Enjoy the colorful show of trees and shrubs before their winter hibernation. Michael Jesiolowski, senior horticulturist at Chicago Botanic Garden, will highlight the best fall foliage and fruit displays from Acer to Zelkova.