On the east side, Olbrich Botanical Gardens provides examples of low-mow turf, gravel gardens, and other alternatives to traditional lawns. The gardens incorporate sustainable practices such as on-site composting and minimal use of pesticides.
On the west side, the Arboretum showcases communities of native plants. These can serve as inspiration for a yard-sized landscape that emulates nature. The Arboretum also hosts an annual native plant sale and native gardening conference. This year’s plant sale is May 7; advance orders must be placed by March 25.
Downtown, the Allen Centennial Gardens at the University hosts groupings of plants that could fit in a typical backyard. These demonstrations are accompanied by informative signs. There is also a lawn area that is maintained without pesticides, artificial fertilizers, or gas-powered equipment.
All three of these gardens are free and open to the public. Take advantage of the spring weather to visit one!