Sunday, February 26, 2017


The Wet Garden is situated on the east side of the Extension Dane County office building.  Visitors enter the garden on a fieldstone path, through a vine covered archway. A foot bridge lies at the north of this garden path spanning the wettest area of the garden.  Much of the garden has poorly draining clay soil resulting in a wet stretch of ground from the stone path up to the sidewalk.  Areas that are less “wet” are found near the foundation and along the south side of the bed.  Wet tolerant plants found in this garden include, astilbe, iris, bald cypress, black gum, hibiscus, Japanese burnet, Joe Pye Weed, milkweed, Queen of the Prairie, spiderwort, turtlehead, willow, etc.  Due to the wet nature of this garden area, watering requirements are minimal.  

The priority for the Wet Garden in 2019 will be to add plantings to the south end of the garden which was previously lawn.

Wet Garden Team

Team members working in the Wet Garden learn about plants that thrive under wet conditions (including standing water in Spring and after heavy rainfalls) and their care & maintenance requirements. Specific learning opportunities include: 

  • plant division and transplanting (timing and techniques)
  • pruning techniques (numerous specimen trees and shrubs in the garden)
  • how to cut back different species of hydrangeas
  • diagnosing and managing pest problems (japanese beetles on swamp hibiscus)
  • diagnosing and managing disease problems (powdery mildew on ninebark)
  • controlling plant chlorosis (nyssa)

Joan Boll and Theresa Jones are co-leaders for the Wet Garden and have been caring for the garden since 2016.  In addition to tending their own gardens, Joan volunteers at the Barneveld Village flower gardens and helps out with membership and special events at Olbrich Botanical Gardens; and Theresa volunteers at Falk Elementary School gardens in Madison, Badger Prairie community garden in Verona, and Barneveld Village flower gardens. 

To join the Wet Garden team, contact Karen Allenstein.