Teaching Garden

The Teaching Garden was established in 2004 as an outdoor classroom for training new Master Gardener Volunteers and as an educational resource for youth programs and the general public. The garden surrounds the Dane County UW-Extension office building at 5201 Fen Oak Drive in Madison, Wisconsin. The Teaching Garden is organized into 12 garden areas, each with its own plant palette. The beds are maintained by Master Gardener Volunteers and interns under the supervision of Horticulture staff. Visit us on Facebook to stay connected to the events and initiatives in the Teaching Garden.

Color Wheel Garden
Stunning display of annuals in a circle of colors
Edibles Garden
Raised vegetable beds, fruit trees, berry bushes and herb garden
Demonstration Prairie
Mesic prairie forbs and grasses native to Dane County
Heuchera Garden
Heuchera displays for sun and shade
Naturalistic Garden
Ornamental grasses & native species in an informal, natural design
Pollinator Garden
Plants attracting bees, butterflies and hummingbirds
Rain Garden
Rain garden construction and design example
Rock Garden
Alpine plants among tufa rocks simulate a rocky mountain slope
Shade Garden
Over 170 shade-loving plants
Sidewalk Garden
Salt and drought tolerant plants along the sidewalk
Welcome Garden
Visitor welcome sign with map of all garden areas
Wet Garden
Plants that like ‘wet feet’ in a clay soil area

QR Coded Plant Labels

Our aim is to enhance each visitor’s experience by making detailed information available to them about plants in the garden and information resources relating to each of the 12 garden themes. Visitors to the garden will be able to view over 850 perennials, shrubs and trees that are Midwest hardy. All perennials and woody plants in the garden have stakes labeled with their scientific name, common name, cultivar, and supplier. Each plant label also contains a QR code (Quick Response code) which can be read with a QR code reader on a smart phone or tablet. A QR code is a type of matrix barcode first designed for the automotive industry, but now popular outside the industry due to its fast readability and large storage capacity. Before coming to the Teaching Garden, be sure to search the App Store on your smart phone or tablet and download a free barcode scanner or QR reader application if you don’t already have one. Two QR code readers you may want to consider are Scan.Me from Scan Inc. or the QuickMark Scanner. Choose the appropriate version for your phone and decide if you want the free version or pay for the ad-free version.

By holding the QR code reader in front of the plant label, visitors are connected to an online webpage containing picture(s) and detailed information about each plant. We are the only public garden in the area to offer QR scannable plant labels linked to detailed plant information on-line. To access this information on all plants in the Teaching Garden, visit:  http://tgplpinfo.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adopt-a-Garden Program

In 2016, the Adopt-a-Garden Program was rolled out at the Teaching Garden. The purpose of the program is to mobilize Master Gardener Volunteers into teams dedicated to maintaining individual beds within the Teaching Garden. Interns will gain knowledge of experienced MGVs in their teams, and have the opportunity to put their training into practice. Each garden area is assigned a team leader who is responsible for coordinating the volunteers who have adopted the garden.

By adopting a garden, team members share the responsibility for their garden for the entire season. Adopters may continue to care for their chosen garden in subsequent years, or vary their experience in a different garden. Master Gardener Volunteers and interns interested in serving on a team should email Karen Allenstein at kallenstein@charter.net. For further information on scheduled Teaching Garden workdays please click here.

Support

Each year the Dane County/UW Extension sponsors a 2018 Master Gardener Plant Sale in May. The proceeds from the sale are used to offset the ongoing costs of maintaining the Teaching Garden and support horticultural education projects in school gardens and other locations. In addition, the Teaching Garden relies on the additional support of local businesses and organizations offering donations and discounts:

  • Ace Mulches
  • Alliant Energy Foundation
  • American Transmission Company (ATC)
  • Dane County Environmental Council
  • The Flower Factory
  • Klein’s Floral and Greenhouse
  • Kopke’s Fruit of the Bloom Greenhouse
  • Johnson’s Nursery
  • Landscape Designs
  • Madison Area Master Gardener Association (MAMGA)
  • Wisconsin Hardy Plant Society

Dane County UWEX Master Gardener Volunteer Program

Questions? Horticulture Helpline (Open April 15 – October, 9:00AM – noon)
The helpline is available to help answer Dane County resident’s gardening questions. Call: 608-224-3721 or Email: horticulture@countyofdane.com. Walk-in assistance is also available.

Lisa Johnson, Dane County UWEX Horticulture Educator
5201 Fen Oak Drive, Ste 138
Madison, WI 53718
Phone: 608-224-3715