Last week, Stan and I went on a nursery tour of south central and south eastern Wisconsin. Wednesday took us northeast to the Marshall-Waterloo-Watertown area, where there is basically nothing. It was a nice ride however. I brought my ipad with me to help navigate. Waterloo is a black hole when it comes to 3G service; there is actually better service in the countryside surrounding it…odd. There was a nursery we checked out, McKay Nursery. It was on the east side of Waterloo, but Google Maps had it on the west side. They were mostly a landscaping place. So we headed further down Highway 19 to Watertown. Not much there either, but as we were leaving town, we found The Greenery. It didn’t look that promising at first, but they had a bunch of coleus, one which was a big sporter with three different branches. It was a nice little surprise.
We took Highway 16 to Ixonia, and Ebert’s Greenhouse Village. We always saw this place advertised on Interstate 94 coming back to Madison from Milwaukee. We are kicking ourselves for not checking it out years ago. The place was enormous, and I felt like we were entering a theme park or a place you had to pay admission because the parking lot was so big and the entrance reminded me of entering the Brookfield Zoo. Of course there was no admission, but there were lots of greenhouse and lots of plants. Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes!
The following day we went southeast to the Mukwonago area, where there were lots of greenhouses sprinkled throughout the countryside. A couple places, Yerke’s Frog Alley Greenhouse and Papa Steinke’s Greenhouse, had free-range chickens wandering around. I love places like this, so pastoral, so idyllic, and I bet those eggs taste great. Papa Steinke’s had a bunch of large Kong-type coleus. They were all green, one charteuse/lime and the other regular green, and a third one had a hard-defined white center.
Saturday we went northeast again to the Beaver Dam area: Lost Lake Acres and Big Sky Greenhouses were the first two we visited. But the absolute best, most favorite place, was Wodill Florist and Greenhouses. They had great prices and a big selection of everything, including some unusual Coleus. And the best thing was the owners had birds, like pheasants, peacocks and swans. We saw a couple young swans swimming in the pond. A woman working there said that they had to keep the male swan locked up because it would attack cars. Unfortunately, the original cool and cloudy day had turned hot and sunny, and since we brought our dogs with us in the car, we had to cut our visit brief. Next time, we’ll either come without dogs or come on a cooler day and try to see their collection of birds. Seeing the swans in the pond in this idyllic country setting made you feel like you weren’t even on earth, that you were in some mythological place.
I love traveling in rural Wisconsin and finding new favorite greenhouses. The past couple weeks were supposed to be our vacation, but because one of our dogs has cancer, we cancelled that and decided to spend time with them instead. They love rides and even though they are safely in their crates in our van and cannot see much when we travel, we open the windows so they can enjoy the “smell tour” of dairy farms.