Spring blooming trees and shrubs, native summer wildflowers, and towering fall prairie grasses are only some of the delights to be found in the Arboretum’s horticultural and native plant gardens during the growing season. The gardens also offer visitors countless opportunities for respite, sensory enjoyment, and learning.
Longenecker Horticultural Gardens is Wisconsin’s premiere collection of hardy ornamental woody plants, where you can see a wide range of shrubs and trees suitable for regional home landscaping. The Wisconsin Native Plant Garden represents native plant communities of southern Wisconsin and demonstrates how people can use prairie, savanna, woodland, and wetland plants in their own yards. These gardens display plant diversity, illustrate gardening practices, and inspire visitors throughout the seasons.
Our free garden tours delve into many aspects of the gardens. You can learn about new and different kinds of plants, appropriate plants for sun, shade, and varied soil conditions, how to support pollinators and wildlife, and practical plant uses outside of the garden. Led by Arboretum staff and area experts, tours are informative and practical so visitors can apply what they learn on their own property.
In spring, Wisconsin Native Plant Garden tours focus on early blooming native wildflowers that provide nectar resources for emerging pollinators and explore the woodland, savanna, and prairie gardens. Summer brings the diversity of blooming native plants, gardening practices for pollinators, and native grasses. With fall comes warm tones, seeds, late blooming plants, and autumn insects.
Spring Longenecker Horticultural Garden tours highlight the array of flowering trees and shrubs, including magnolias, crabapples, and lilacs. Later tours will focus on the medicinal uses of plants and on edible plants for landscaping. In fall tours, colorful deciduous trees and evergreen conifers get the spotlight.
See the full tour schedule for dates, topics, and experts. Tours are intended for adults. Tours are cancelled for severe weather—but keep in mind that a thundershower may have moved on by a tour’s start time.
More about the Gardens
The horticultural gardens have been part the Arboretum since its founding in the 1930s. The outdoor living display collection includes ornamental trees and shrubs from around the world that are hardy in Wisconsin’s climate. Notable plant groups include lilacs, crabapples, and conifers, along with a large selection of native trees and shrubs.
The native plant garden was designed by landscape architect Darrel Morrison and established in 2002. This garden is a place to learn about native plants, restoration, pollinator conservation, and ecological relationships and to participate in land care.
Come learn how plants in our collections might work in your home landscape, geek out about the uniqueness and diversity of plants, or just relax and enjoy.
Please, no climbing trees or collecting plant material at the Arboretum. Leave dogs and other pets home. Stay on lawns and designated paths. Thank you.