GALESVILLE, Wis. — Every gardener should have a Dave.
The gardener who does have a Dave, Julie Robinson, puts husband Dave to good use in the garden. He does the heavy lifting, he builds the paths, and he makes the fantastical garden art created by welding together farm implements from Julie’s home farm. They make the perfect backdrop for rambling clematis, bold poppies and rambunctious clumps of brightly colored peonies.
“My husband is really understanding” of her gardening obsession, Julie said. “He helps me a lot.”
The combination of Dave’s creations and Julie’s collection of plants makes this a must-see stop on the Galesville Lioness Club’s Garden Walk from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday.
Don’t be fooled by the tidy shrub-filled front yard. The real glory is in the backyard, which is L-shaped because the Robinsons bought an extra section of land from a neighbor. And Julie has put that land to good use, stuffing it with every size, shape and color of hostas she can find. She combines them with other shade lovers such as ligularia, coral bells and monkshood for a luxuriant look.
But where the sun shines, you will find peonies in every shade of pink and even one in dazzling white. The tree peonies have already bloomed and been beaten down by the heavy rains. But the rest of the peonies are in bud and ready to pop open for the tour.
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While the nearly constant rains have left behind a bumper crop of weeds, they have also bathed the garden with a lush look that watering simply couldn’t accomplish, Julie said.
“My tulips were great this year.”
And so is just about everything else.
From amsonia to heuchera to weigela, everything is popping into full bloom at unexpected times. The bergenia has finished blooming but still presents a lush foliage. The Japanese painted ferns add an interesting texture to the main shades of green in the hosta garden, including a new hosta with narrow leaves called “Praying Hands.”
Included among Dave’s many garden sculptures is a cupola turned into a fountain near the garden shed. The bullet holes in the old metal are courtesy of Julie’s uncle and make the fountain even more special to her.
As she works her way around the garden, she’s keeping the youngest generation of the family in mind. Though she’s weeded out many of the forget-me-nots, she’s left some behind for her granddaughter to pick. Their blue is echoed in the tall Johnson’s Blue geranium that towers over the other plants in the flower bed.