Wednesday, March 1, 2017


The Naturalistic Garden is located on the west side of the Extension Dane County office building.  Perennials and grasses are intermingled in small groups to create natural-looking drifts and repeated patterns throughout the garden that suggests a feeling of spontaneity.  The preference is for perennials closer to the species, with a wilder character. The garden has 16 varieties of ornamental grasses and many native species including Amelanchier (service berry), Asclepias (butterfly weed), Echinacea (coneflower), Eutrochium maculatum (Joe Pye weed), Hamamelis (witch hazel), Helenium (sneezeweed), Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower), Liatris (gayfeather), Mimulus ringus (monkey flower), Monarda (Bee Balm), Rudbeckia (gloriosa daisy), Senna hebecarpa ((Wild Senna), Solidago (goldenrod), Symphyotrichum (aster), Veronicastrum (Culver’s Root), etc.  The overall effect is informal and natural.  

In 2018, over 300 perennials were added to the Naturalistic Garden, the majority grown from seed or donated by MGVs.

Naturalistic Garden Team
Team members learn about native species and cultivars, and how to design a naturalistic style garden.  Other learning opportunities include: 
  • plant division and transplanting (timing and techniques)
  • pruning techniques (numerous specimen trees in the garden)
  • weed control (mulching and dealing with Canadian thistle)
  • deadheading (to manage self-seeding)
  • diagnosing and managing insect and disease problems (eg. verticillium wilt, guinardia aesuli fungus)

Karen Allenstein is Team Leader for the Naturalistic Garden.  Her involvement with the Teaching Garden started in 2015 when she co-chaired the Master Gardener Plant Sale.  In the fall of 2015, she started work on the plant labeling project at the Teaching Garden which gave her familiarity with the variety of plants in the garden.  In the Spring of 2016, Karen launched the Adopt-a-Garden Program and served as team leader for the Naturalistic Garden, among other garden areas.  After visiting New York City’s High Line Gardens, Karen was inspired to bring a naturalistic style to the Teaching Garden.

Barb Anderegg has been assisting Karen in the Naturalistic Garden since 2016, and is a tremendous asset to the Naturalistic Garden Team. 

To join the Naturalistic Garden team, contact Karen Allenstein.  

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