University of Wisconsin Family Gardening Day comes to Madison campus

Wisconsin State Farmer
Gardeners are invited to gather ideas for their plot — big or small — at the UW Family Gardening Day on Saturday, May 5, on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus.

It may not feel like spring yet, but with warmer weather coming soon it’s time to think about your garden. Gardeners can get ideas for their gardens — big or small — at the UW Family Gardening Day from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., Saturday, May 5, on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus at Allen Centennial Garden, Steenbock Memorial Library and D.C. Smith Instructional Greenhouse.

There will also be an open house in the GreenHouse Learning Community on the rooftop of Leopold Residence Hall during the free family event.

“Spring is coming, and it’s time to get growing,” says event organizer Johanna Oosterwyk, manager of the D.C. Smith Instructional Greenhouse. “UW Family Gardening Day is a great way to kick off gardening season with activities and inspiration for the whole family.”

Each location will host a variety of demonstrations and displays on topics such as pollinator friendly planting and rock gardens. They will also have fun, hands-on activities for kids.

At Steenbock Library, children can get their faces painted by UW–Madison students. At D.C. Smith Greenhouse, they can look at insects under a microscope and construct DNA necklaces. Young visitors to Allen Centennial Garden can pound flowers and learn to make flower crowns.

While supplies last, Allen Centennial Garden will be distributing Pasta Four-Packs (sets of tomato, oregano, basil and pepper plants), and Master Gardeners at Steenbock Library will hand out pollinator-friendly Mexican Sunflowers for visitors to take and plant in their home gardens.

Steenbock Library will have Master Gardeners on hand to answer questions and distribute information about gardening resources. Visitors are also encouraged to check out the library’s collection, which includes popular materials on cooking, food preservation, gardening and urban agriculture.

While on campus, visitors should be sure to stop by Babcock Hall Dairy Store, which will be open and dishing up ice cream treats from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Allen Centennial Garden, Steenbock Memorial Library and the D.C. Smith Instructional Greenhouse are all located within two blocks of each other at 620 Babcock Drive, 550 Babcock Drive and 465 Babcock Drive, respectively. Leopold Residence Hall is located at 1635 Kronshage Drive, between Allen Centennial Garden and Lake Mendota.

Free parking is available in Lot 34 at 1480 Tripp Circle; in Lot 36 just west of Steenbock Library; and in Lot 40 behind Babcock Hall. 

For more, visit the UW Family Gardening Day Facebook Page and webpage, or contact Johanna Oosterwyk at or (608) 262-3844.