Friday, July 17, 2015

Nature Geek Vacation Destinations - The Garden Door (Sturgeon Bay, WI)

For those that read this blog regularly, you will have noticed that I haven't posted anything new in over two weeks.  What was the cause of this recent hiatus?


Shara and I just returned from a ten day trip through Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula.  We did lots of "science geek" things on our trip - visiting nature centers, museums, public gardens, etc.  Over the next few posts I plan on sharing a few of the highlights. 

I post lots of photographs of the native pollinator gardens around Isabella County that I helped design/install/maintain.  One of the early highlights of the trip for me was a visit to The Garden Door.  While this garden was not dedicated to native plants it was still well used by the local insects and birds.

The Garden Door is a public garden that is operated by the Door County Master Gardeners near Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.  The Garden Door is approximately 7.5 hours drive from Mid-Michigan.  This means it's not exactly a day trip, but if you are visiting northeast Wisconsin, I consider it well worth an hour or more of your time.

Immediately inside the garden gate you will find this kaleidoscope.  The kaleidoscope tubes point toward a small planter full of succulent plants.

One trend of garden design is to designate different "rooms".  This works very well in a demonstration garden such as the Garden Door.

Honeybees were common on plants throughout the garden

One of the areas of the garden is dedicated to succulent plant.  The plants such as sedums are very drought tolerant and can be found in a large variety of colors as seen in the photo below.

Sedum plants come in many shades of green, pink, red, and yellow

Pollinators loved this yellow variety of sedum

Part of the succulent garden was designed to be a human sundial.  By placing your feet on specific spots and raising your arms over your head you can figure out the time of day.

Shara letting me know that it was approximately 2:15PM

Gardens do not need to be full of flowers to be beautiful.  One section of the garden was specifically devoted to grasses.

Because this garden is not specific to one type of plants (such as natives) there were many species in bloom throughout the garden.

A clematis vine growing on an arbor

We saw several different bird species during our stay including American Robins, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and this pair of Cedar Waxwings.

Cedar Waxwings atop the arbor

We spent over an hour walking around the garden looking at it from different angles.

Another section of sedum and other succulent plants

A Leopold Bench in the garden

A Red Admiral butterfly

Part of the garden was dedicated to Wisconsin native plants and is designated as a Monarch Waystation (#4569).

Included in this section of the garden were several large metal sculpture of Monarch Butterflies.

We did find several Monarch caterpillars munching away on Swamp Milkweed plants.

Some of the other wildlife was not so happy.  We found a female Goldenrod Crab Spider that had recently captured a hoverfly.

A "fairy garden" with tiny little stone houses

Koi and water lilies in the water garden

Starting on Monday (20 July) look for more photos from Wisconsin and the UP - including visits to the Aldo Leopold Shack, the Deke Slayton Space Museum, the International Crane Foundation, Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, and the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum.

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