2021 Garden Designs: Schneider Family Grand Garden, Johnson Woodland Garden & More

By Janelle Fisher, Marketing & Communciations Intern

Whether you visit Green Bay Botanical Garden in spring, summer or fall, our horticulturists have been working hard to make sure there will be a beautiful assortment of plants and flowers for you to marvel at.

This year, each garden space has been carefully planned to include designs inspired by events happening at the Garden as well as some personal-favorite plants of the horticulturists.

Here’s Kate Miller (Horticulturist) to share a bit about what he’s been working on in her garden spaces!

Q: How would you describe your garden spaces?

A (Kate): “Most of ‘my areas’ are off the beaten path of the busier upper and lower gardens so they are all great places to sit down and really take in the Garden. There’s some great spots to sit down with a book or a picnic lunch and enjoy the afternoon away from some of the more high-traffic areas of the Garden.

Great white trillium PC: Teresa Hilgenberg Riehl
White trillium in Johnson Woodland Garden. Many early spring blooms can be found in this quiet area.

The Johnson Woodland Garden is planted with perennials, trees and shrubs that are native to Wisconsin. This garden is filled with hidden gems that some might take for granted if you’re just taking a quick walk through. Birds, pollinators and other wildlife are all around, taking advantage of the food and habitat the Schneider Family Grand Garden provides.

fall plants and blue sky
August and September boasts beautiful native plantings in the Schneider Family Grand Garden.

The native planting of the Grand Garden flows into the Matthew Schmidt Garden and Magnolia Grove but becomes slightly more formal. The stone sitting wall surrounding Wood Memorial Grove is a perfect place to rest and contemplate. The Arendt Conifer Garden is a favorite spot of mine. No matter how much time I spend in it I seem to find something new.”

Q: What inspired your designs this year?

A: The designs for the strip beds, Concessions Building containers, and Mabel Thome Patio containers were all inspired by Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea. The containers around the Wangerin Pavilion and Johnson Woodland Garden have been designed with the Garden’s 25th Anniversary in mind.

Q: Do you have a favorite plant (or plants) this year? Where in the Garden will visitors be able to find it?

A: “My favorite plant in all my designs this year is the Almond verbena. (We’re overwintering it for the first time this year so fingers crossed it makes it through.) I love its fine form and airy white flower spikes. The scent this plant gives off can’t be beat, the fragrance travels far beyond that of most flowers. It also continues to bloom well into fall and is a well visited pollinator plant. It’s everything you could ask for in a plant.”

almond verbena white blooming flower
You’ll be able to see this plant in the Wangerin Pavilion containers.

Q: When would be the best time to visit your garden spaces?

A: The Memorial Grove and Grand Garden each have something completely different to offer each season so you’ll want to see them in both the spring and fall. You won’t want to miss the Woodland Garden or the Schmidt Garden and Magnolia Grove in the spring. Many of the conifers in the Arendt Conifer Garden are evergreens, meaning they’re still around and as beautiful as ever in the winter.

dwarf conifer trees covered in snow
Arendt Conifer Garden in winter.

Q: What advice can you offer to someone starting a garden at home?

A: “I think gardening is one of the most therapeutic things a person can do, and I think everyone who can should give it a try. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, experimentation is how you learn.

Japanese bloodgrass
Japanese bloodgrass in the Matthew Schmidt Garden.

I would start by evaluating your site and soil type so you know what plants will grow well where. Choose plants that have different characteristics such as bold and fine foliage or different flower forms. Don’t forget about ornamental grasses, they can solve a lot of problems! Make sure to incorporate plants that bloom or add interest through different seasons so you can enjoy your garden year round.

Most of all have fun!! If something doesn’t work out you always have next year to try something new.”

Make sure you check out Kate’s designs during your next visit to the Garden and be on the lookout for more interviews with the rest of our horticulturists!