Olbrich Home Rooted and Growing

Schumacher LibrarySchumacher Library

Schumacher Library is a gardening reference center located in Olbrich Botanical Gardens' Visitor Center adjacent to the Bolz Conservatory. The library is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Olbrich Botanical Society members may check out items.

The library is staffed by a Horticulture Librarian and nearly 40 volunteers, many of whom have taken Master Gardener training.

For help with your gardening questions call 608-246-5805 or email olbrichplantinfo@cityofmadison.com.


Plant Resources

Seed CatalogsGardening Books & Journals
The emphasis of the collection (nearly 3,500 volumes) is on home gardening in the Midwest, landscape design, rainforests, tropical plants, herbs, fruit trees and shrubs, individual plant species and much more. The children's book collection includes plants and botany, nature, gardening and insects. Browse through more than 40 magazines on topics ranging from general gardening, to roses, herb gardening, and garden literature.

An extensive seed catalog collection contains hundreds of seed and nursery catalogs. These catalogs are indexed so that we can help you find a mail-order company that carries the particular plant you're looking for. If you see something at Olbrich Gardens or in a magazine you'd like to grow at home, contact the library and we'll find a source for it. We can also find information on toxic plants and houseplant care.

Videocassettes and DVDs cover subjects from butterflies to birding, the entire "The Wisconsin Gardener" series, and children's videos.

The reference collection also has encyclopedias on many plant species, guides to other botanical gardens, beautiful wildflower books, pests and disease manuals, botanical Latin dictionaries and almanacs.


Online Resources

Books in the Schumacher LibraryThe library has access to many resources via the Internet and can get timely handouts from University Extension services and other government offices.

  • Plant Information Online provides sources to nursery plants and seeds. It is searchable by Common and botanical plant name. It also indexes science and garden literature.
  • The University of Wisconsin-Extension Learning Store provides information about trees, shrubs, vegetables, flowers and landscaping, as well as insects and diseases of landscape plants.
  • LibraryThing.com allows users to search materials in the Schumacher Library via the "Search this library" box in the upper right-hand corner of the page. Most adult books are cataloged on LibraryThing. You can always call the library at 608-246-5805 to check on the status of a title you're looking for.

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Plant Questions

Garden experts in Olbrich's Schumacher Library are always ready to answer questions and help you solve your gardening problems. Inquiries can range from finding the name of plants in Olbrich's outdoor gardens and Conservatory, to choosing good plants for your yard's conditions, to landscaping design options, to learning some of the basic gardening techniques. There is one problem the Schumacher Library resource volunteers can't tackle: Please don't bring diseased or infested plant materials to Olbrich.

Stop by the Schumacher Library in person from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily or phone in questions to 608-246-5805 or e-mail olbrichplantinfo@cityofmadison.com.

Garden Answer Service

Have your problems solved with help from the Garden Answer Service! A trained garden resource volunteer will be ready in Olbrich's Schumacher Library to provide one-on-one assistance to figure out your gardening conundrum. This is also a great chance for first-time users to learn all about the library's resources.

If you don't have time to stop by Olbrich, phone in questions to 608-246-5805 or e-mail olbrichplantinfo@cityofmadison.com.


Olbrich Gardens Book Club

Join fellow garden enthusiasts and book lovers as we discuss fiction and non-fiction books about plants, gardens, nature, and the environment. The Olbrich Gardens Book Club is a book discussion group hosted by Olbrich's Schumacher Library staff where readers come together to discuss a book and share in the reading experience. The discussions are free and open to the public.

View book discussion schedule


Library Policies

Olbrich Botanical Society members may check out books and videos.

The general public may use our resources in the library.

Books circulate for 4 weeks, videos and magazines for one week, and new books for two weeks.
We happily accept donations of used books and magazines, which we either add to our collection or offer for sale to benefit Olbrich Botanical Gardens.



Schumacher Library volunteers work with our Horticulture Librarian to help visitors find resources. Training is provided; library skills are not required. Library volunteers share a love of books and a curiosity about plants. Shifts are available daily from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1 to 4 p.m.

Learn about volunteering at Olbrich Botanical Gardens by contacting:
Marty Petillo
Volunteer Services Manager
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Avenue
Madison, WI 53704
Phone: 608-246-5807
Fax: 608-246-4719


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