Olbrich Botanical Gardens: Favorite scenes


Architecture in the garden makes me happy, especially when I’m taking pictures. It can be used to frame a view, like this series of doorways.


Walls are nice too, and they don’t have to be made of stone.


The courtyard garden at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin, offered beautiful vignettes at every turn. This tiny bonsai tree placed on the stone floor captivated me. The sun lit it up so precisely it seemed as if spotlit on a stage.


A succulent dish—circles within a circle


Agave filamentosa, a feast for the eyes with those crazy white “hairs”


I don’t know what this pretty flower is. Anyone able to ID it? It’s blue beard (Caryopteris × clandonensis). Thanks for the ID, Les and Karen.


Just outside the courtyard, behind the wall of arborvitae, a cool and shady path led through a woodland garden.


Hydrangeas bloomed here and elsewhere in shades of pale blue and ivory…


…purplish blue…


…and copper.


The bees quite liked them too.


I can’t remember what kind of trees these were, but I loved their stark, white trunks.


A restful spot under a crabapple


A white-trunk allee of paper birches lined each side of a path along a creek.

I hope you haven’t gotten tired of Olbrich yet because I’ve got more to post. If, like me, you can’t get enough, see yesterday’s post about Olbrich’s ornamental grasses. Tune in tomorrow for tropical plantings and more at Olbrich.

All material © 2006-2010 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

10 Responses

  1. Les says:

    I believe your mystery plant is Caryopteris aka Blue Mist Shrub, Bluebeard of Blue Spiraea. I love the Agave strings.

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    It is such a beautiful place as presented through your lens. It looks like one of those places I would never tire of seeing. I really like that bonsai spotlighted. Stone is always inviting to me.

  3. Looks like a beautiful garden. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Karen Mangan says:

    Yes, definitely a Caryopteris. They deliver such beautiful late season color-a rarity to get intense blue this late in the season…nice series, Pam!

  5. Jenny says:

    There is nothing I love more than the view through a gateway. A sneak peak into another garden. Lovely. Hope I get there someday.

  6. Denise says:

    I’m so enjoying all these Olbrich posts. What a treasure of a public garden.

  7. Scott Weber says:

    I agree about architecture in a garden, especially stone…they make it feel more “solid” and “permanent”, like, “hey, this garden is here to stay!”.

  8. […] more from this jewel of a garden, see yesterday’s post about some of my favorite scenes at Olbrich. Tune in tomorrow for images of Olbrich’s stunning, authentic Thai sala and a tropical-style […]

  9. Lee says:

    Pam, You are making me wistful for my old home place. These are gorgeous posts and photos and I remember so many of these places so well. Olbrich was down the street from my house, and I’ve been there and biked by many many times. And the Farmer’s Markets there are like none other. Fabulous! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  10. Barbara H. says:

    Love your posts – the garden is magnificent. There is a variegated Caryopteris that is very lovely. It’s one of my favorite shrubs, partly because it blooms in the fall.

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