Field of Science

Botanical Geek Tour 2010

Every now and then the Phactor, Mrs. Phactor, the Dean of Green and his lovely wife take a few days to tour botanical gardens, a passtime inspired by a book called 1001 gardens you must see before you die. This is one of those gifts that will cost me hundreds of times more than the original purchase price. Thus far we are only 4% through the list. The grand plan was to cross about 5 gardens off the list with a visit to Barcelona, unfortunately none of those lottery tickets was a winner, so our scaled back plans took us north to Wisconsin to visit Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin in Spring Green, the Olbrich Botanical Garden in Madison, and then back into Lincolnland to visit the Anderson Japanese Garden in Rockford. Taliesin is in the book, but not for any good botanical reason (patio garden shown), although the tour was quite interesting and well worth taking, it's for the architecture and learning more about the infamous Mr. Lloyd. Go see it before it falls apart. Seriously. Wandering rural roads can lead to other finds like the world's best coleslaw in Cross Plains, and you know, it just might be. Both botanical gardens are relatively small, but both are very well done, very handsome, with some very interesting plantings, landscapes, and plants. The rose garden at Olbrich is one of the most handsome of any garden's; the Phactor usually avoids the geometric rows of roses common at most gardens, reminders that quite ugly, ungainly plants can still have pretty flowers.

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