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Midwest Regional Reports

Woodland Gems for the Midwest | Midwest Regional Report

Yellow trillium. Photo: Erin Presley

My favorite springtime destination at my workplace, Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin, is our lovely wooded Wildflower Garden.

Oaks (Quercus spp. and cvs, Zones 4-10), maples (Acer spp. and cvs., Zones 3-9), and shagbark hickory (Carya ovata, Zones 4-8) form a canopy of dappled shade, while birches (Betula spp. and cvs., Zones 2-9) and aspen (Populus spp. and cvs., Zones 1-10) thrive adjacent to a pond. Witch hazel (Hamamelis spp. and cvs., Zones 3-8), pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia, Zones 3-7), redbud (Cercis canadensis, Zones 4-8), spicebush (Lindera benzoin, Zones 4-9), and pawpaw (Asimina triloba, Zones 5-9) are dotted throughout the understory, but the real stars are the spring-blooming ephemerals and woodland natives.

Natural gardens like this one are best managed with a light touch. As soon as snow recedes, large branches and debris are picked up, and we might tidy up path edges or redistribute piles of fallen leaves.…

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