Olbrich Home Bolz Conservatory

2016 Home Garden TourHome Garden Tour
2016 Home Garden Tour

Thank you everyone for a marvelous 2016 Home Garden Tour featuring Gardens of Nakoma and Arborm Hills!

Save the date for Home Garden Tour 2017...

July 14 & 15 2017

Olbrich's 2016 Home Garden Tour features seven exceptional gardens in the established neighborhoods of Nakoma and Arbor Hills.

Front yard gardens with annuals, perennials, vegetables, and fruit trees spread color and fragrance through the neighborhood. Ligularia, hellebore, and hardy begonias weave together an exceptional Japanese maple collection in a backyard plant oasis. Walk across a footbridge banked with lush grasses and vibrant irises to a captivating Asian-inspired gazebo. Wander up a secluded wooded landscape wrapping around a mid-century modern home.

Talk with homeowners, landscape designers, Master Gardeners, and other Olbrich volunteers and get tips about incorporating various garden techniques in your own home landscape!

Ticket information

Olbrich Members
General Public

Tickets will be available at Olbrich's Growing Gifts shop starting June 1

*Garden site addresses are listed on the tour tickets, which can be purchased at Olbrich Gardens prior to the tour, and at a designated private home garden site on the event dates.

2016 Garden Sites

2016 Home Garden Tour
2016 Home Garden Tour
2016 Home Garden Tour
2016 Home Garden Tour

2016 Garden Descriptions

Garden site addresses are only published on the tour tickets to protect the homeowners' privacy.

Cherokee Drive

“It’s about structure and form, foliage color and texture, and much less about flowers,” says this homeowner. The approach to this 1936 home and garden earned it a spot on this year’s tour. Stone walls and steps, along with a flagstone patio, provide the hard-scape. Choosing plant materials that fit the space led this homeowner to select dwarf conifers, musclewood, and more. A flagstone path, constructed using materials from the original patio, created the flow through the garden while boulders and a rose arbor lend charm. Epimediums and toad lilies thrive in this lush, yet tranquil and inspiring, garden retreat.

Nakoma Road

Tended since 1929 by the homeowner’s grandmother and then her mother, this homeowner says change is something that comes slowly but surely. Flower gardens, a vegetable garden, and a wildflower area are knit together by hardscape paths in the front and grass paths in the back of this 1915 home. What advice would this homeowner give budding gardeners? “Talk with other gardeners,” she says. Visiting Olbrich Gardens and Allen Centennial Garden has helped guide her through the years, along with “a love of good gardening books.”

Waban Hill

A shady corner in Nakoma has flourished with the tender care of this husband and wife team. Moving to Madison from a sunny garden in Omaha, they embarked on “a fascinating journey” into shade gardens. Embracing a shady plant palette, they dug into garden books and magazines, visited public gardens and home gardens, and attended lectures when they could. Neighbor Frank Greer, a local gardening expert, lent valuable advice. The results include a “hellebore alley” that gives the homeowners a lot of joy, while boxwoods, conifers, rhododendrons, and hollies provide year-round beauty. Their favorite spot in the garden is near the screen porch, a marvel that allows them to turn the garage into a porch each spring and summer.

Iroquois Drive

A mid-century modern home is unusual in Nakoma, but no less historic. Nestled into a stand of huge, mature trees, the home boasts a unique and natural garden. The philosophy of the garden is borrowed from Frank Lloyd Wright; the beauty is in the materials having a sense of place. The home’s natural materials (stone and wood) harmonize when combined with the dappled light of a wooded lot. The lanai-style porch connects the house and garden. Ground covers lap at the walks, and container gardens add touches of color to the earthy garden palette.

Miami Pass

“The house was built in 1928, so the yard has obviously gone through some transformations!” says this home gardener. The home was acquired in 2006 and the garden had been neglected. Massive oaks, an old deck, and the house itself became the backdrop for the new landscape. A passion for growing Japanese Maples was nourished and the garden began to take shape. A storm led to the removal of a hedge, providing the opportunity to rework the space between this garden and the neighbor’s. While tending the garden, a greater plan for the house and landscape took shape. Garage doors were repositioned to the front of the garage, and huge chunks of pavement were removed. The deck was torn out and replaced with a graceful bluestone patio. Hosta, ligularia, ferns, and grasses, hellebore, epimedium, cimicifuga, and hardy begonias now gracefully weave the Japanese Maple collection together. “Gardens are fluid,” the homeowner says, “and should naturally reflect changes in a gardener’s tastes, creativity and knowledge over the years.”

Leyton Lane

Color and texture welcome visitors to the garden, but it’s the sound that is the anchor of the space. Water flows through a stream banked with irises and grasses. It burbles about the garden and ducks under a beautiful footbridge. Step across the bridge to the garden house crafted with Asian influences and tended with an artist’s touch. Listen to the bees hum and watch the dragonflies dart around the garden. In front of the home is another type of garden, under a canopy of white oak. A dry riverbed visually unites the spaces, a practical solution where there are many leaves. Moonlighting makes the garden come alive at night; this garden is loved.

Waban Hill

These homeowners face each gardening conundrum head on and work out a plan to solve it. A front yard garden made sense here since that area had the most space and light. Designed in the shape of a sunburst, it combines annuals, perennials, veggies, and fruit-bearing trees. The scents in the garden during the evening are a treat and neighbors enjoy it, too. “All of our gardens make me happy,” the homeowner says. “I like having my breath taken away when I round a corner and see a view as new because there is a fresh splash of color that wasn't there the day before.”

2016 Sponsors

Architectural Building Arts

Avant Gardening & Landscaping, Inc.

Backyard Havens

Chalet Ski & Patio

Estate "The Tree Care Specialists"
Fitchburg Farms

The Flower Factory

Jung Garden Center

Klein's Floral & Greenhouses

Landscape Designs, Inc.

Media Sponsors



Blooming Butterflies: July 14 - August 7

GLEAM Opening Reception: August 26

GLEAM, Art in a New Light: September 1 - October 28

Member Movie Night: September 9

Olbrich Botanical Gardens is operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Madison Parks Division and the Olbrich Botanical Society.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens | 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704. | Phone: (608)246-4550 | Fax: (608)246-4719