Tuesday, May 31, 2011


When up in Wisconsin over this past weekend, I paid a visit to one of my favorite nurseries, Northwind Perennial Farm in Burlington, Wisconsin.  I have visited many times over the past several years and they are always expanding their gardens so that now it is experienced as a small arboretum rather than just a nursery.

The beginning of a wonderful journey!

Horse Chestnut Tree
Fort McNair

I will definitely be planting these next fall, blooming after the daffodils and tulips.

I am not sure which variety this one is, but they do not carry Hubertii (Plant of the Year).  Northwind has developed their own Amsonia introduction called "Amsonia Northwind Select," don't think it is available anywhere but there.  I purchased two of them, thin leaved like Hubertii and according to them superior!

This is the same nursery where Panicum Northwind was found on the property and we know that this grass is a winner. 

Roy Diblik is one of the owners and is well known in the Chicago area for being one of developers along with Piet Oudolf and others of the Lurie Gardens in Millennium Park

I am in the process of understanding the philosophy of Piet Oudolf who does not believe in a programmed looking garden design.  I am reading Designing With Plants over and over to digest the idea that it should be a design but not look like a design.  As I looked at Roy Diblik's plantings at Northwind I know he understands what Piet Oudolf is talking about!

Halcyon Blue in the foreground and we would love to know what is in the background?

Artifacts appear unexpectedly.

Geranium Karmina

Nepeta Walker's Low
Looks much better than mine!

Geum Prairie Smoke

I can see that Northwind has also incorporated the idea of having many pathways leading out from a main area like the fingers leading out from the palm of your hand as in Gordon Hayward's book Art And The Gardener.

I know, I got the idea that you can never have too many paths leading to interesting areas.

Paths leading to ponds

Benches and ponds

Benches on pathways

Art in the garden is a major feature at Northwind.

Donkeys in the garden

Goats in the garden

Cat in the garden on the lush perennial table

Lots of great choices, good prices - gallons $9.80, well tended

Great artwork for the garden!

Northwind is right outside Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, about ninety minutes from Chicago.  Check out their website for more photos of the farm.  http://www.northwindperennialfarm.com/


Sissy said...

how gorgeous! It does seem like a botanic garden than a retail nursery!

Larry said...

Wonderful photos Eileen... I was actually in that neighborhood yesterday... wonder if we would have recognized each other had we accidentally walked past one another! I got your e-mail and am trying to figure out what is going on with the comments. Hope we don't get those severe storms this afternoon that are being predicted with large hail! Larry

Becca's Dirt said...

That looks like a fun day touring those gardens. I love the yard art.

Shirley said...

The gardens beckon for a leisurely stroll! Thank you for sharing your photos!

Zoey said...

How lucky you are, Eileen, to have such gorgeous places to explore. I would love to spend an afternoon there.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Sissy,

It has become more of a display garden with each passing year.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Larry,

It is easy to get good photos when the plantings are so beautiful. We did get storms and more tonight.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Becca,

I love the yard art also, just adds a personal touch.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Shirley,

You have to go leisurely as the paths are quite uneven but great looking.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Zoey,

I am afraid that I do not get there often enough but it is a treat.


joey said...

How lovely, Eileen! I can see why it's a favorite haunt .... would be mine too! Happy June :)

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Eileen girl that place is garden heaven ! .. John would NOT be able to get me out of there .. or if he could we would need a trailer to haul back all of my 'gotta' haves ? haha
It is beautiful there and you took wonderful pictures girl !
I enjoyed the tour very much, thank you !
PS .. it is so windy here today it was a bit scary !


Working at a major garden center in the city, I have to say that Northwind is very special. What a wonderful layout ! Thanks for sharing your tour with us, Eileen.

Stella said...

What a lovely place to shop. Thanks for taking me on the stroll with you. I certainly enjoyed all the plants.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Joy,

It is an area I wish I could visit more often, wonderful displays of plants.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Carolyn,

Northwind is worth a trip just for the garden displays.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Stella,

It is a learning place which is always an added bonus for gardeners when they go to a nursery.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Joey,

It is a beautiful place. I am sure Hubbard Lake is lovely this time of year.


Bernie said...

Wow! What a treat it would be to wander around that nursery. Your photos show exactly what a fabulous place it is. I had to keep scrolling up and down, up and down to take in all the beauty.

garden girl said...

Wow Eileen - what a beautiful place! I've never been there, and can see I need to add it to my list of places to visit on my way to my mom's.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Bernie,

It is a unique place and I hope I get a chance to visit again this summer.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Tnanks ,

Please to stop there next time you are in the area. It is a special place.


Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

Hi Eileen, You are going to think that I am crazy, but I want one of those donkeys. LOL! They are too cute. I enjoyed the tour. One thing I kept thinking as I scrolled through was how effective mass plantings are. I do not know why I am don't act on this simple idea. I see it again and again, yet when it comes to my own garden i feel I have to cram different plants one on top of the other.
Enjoy your weekend!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Jennifer,

I called those donkeys ponies at first! I am with you in regard to layering because I have such a small garden. I am pretty satisfied with this as I do not have the room for mass plantings.

It is obvious Piet Oudolf has had a great influence in this garden and I appreciate the design and the lack of structure, but it is definitely there just not in your face.


scottweberpdx said...

You lucky devil! I would love to visit Northwind someday! Those gardens looks beautiful, and I am a huge fan of Oudolf as well (have you seen his new book "Landscapes in Landscapes"? It's mostly pictorial, but also includes plans for many of the gardens...quite interesting!

Anonymous said...

Hello, it seems you were curious as to the Hosta in the background, next to Halcyon, in one of your photos above. That would be Hosta Sagae.