I remember my first drive through Wisconsin. Being a kid from California, I grew up in the suburbs of Sacramento and spent my college and post-college years living in major cities including San Francisco, Seattle and New York. I have spent the majority of my life living in the shadows of tall buildings, surrounded by cement sidewalks with only hints of green gardens sprinkled throughout small city parks and back patios.
I rode on the back of D.’s motorcycle from Chicago to Wisconsin. The first hour was freeway riding, a long stretch of pavement dotted with supermarkets and Home Depots. After sometime we exited the freeway and began our trip along small country roads. Roads merged from two lane to one. Roads bent and curved around the earth, rather than cut straight through it. Roads with names like County Road South, Route G and Route A, and so forth. Sounds romantic, right. For context, I grew up driving “the 5” California’s north to south interstate, that could easily own being of the most mind-numbing stretches of freeway. Unlike California, Wisconsin’s fields stretched wide with small farms on the horizon. I fell in love with the openness, the vast space filled with nothing but farms, occasional livestock and bunches of blue, purple, and white wildflowers that reached toward the sun.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Wisconsin since that first motorcycle ride. In fact, Wisconsin is where I took my bike on windy roads and hit my first 100 mph. Since Wisconsin, I’ve driven across the country. I know that the collection of brown, red and yellow trees during fall in Michigan is hard to beat. The color of the Colorado skyline is defined by the purplish-haze the Rocky Mountains stand against. Ohio’s corn fields stretch for miles with only red barns to note the passing of time. I could talk about the different characteristics of each state forever; I’m fascinated by Mother Nature.
And so, when it came time to consider how I would approach my new garden I had one desire. I wanted a garden that reminded me of that first motorcycle ride through Wisconsin. I wanted a garden that was true to my location, filled with plants that were native and allowed me to grow and eat seasonally. I’m filling my garden with perennials, ornamental grasses and trees like:
I’ll have pictures to show soon. In the meantime, there is a lovely article on Gardenista, 10 Ideas to Steal from Prairie-Style Gardens that is a great read.
image adam woodruff