Head out to amazing garden destinations

Rob Zimmer Special Contributor
Now Media Group

In last week's column, I shared some of our state's public garden jewels.

This week, be prepared to hit the road to visit some spectacular gardening destinations where you can enjoy incredible plants, stunning display gardens, garden art and more. It's time to plan a summer road trip and explore new destinations this year.

Butterfly Gardens of Wisconsin, Appleton

Located in Appleton, the whole family will enjoy this amazing outdoor destination. Truly a butterfly garden, here, you will find a massive screened greenhouse filled with hundreds of live butterflies native to our area. This includes many monarchs, tagged here for tracking during migration.

Also, enjoy the spectacular butterfly maze, over two acres in size, mowed into a blooming prairie garden filled with colorful native wildflowers. Stroll among the pathways and enjoy the sights of butterflies and other pollinators as they work their way among the blooms.

For more information, visit www.butterflygardensofwisconsin.com.

Willow Creek Farms, Wautoma

Once you visit this incredible flower farm located just outside Wautoma, you'll want to return each season. The only place in the area to see thousands of bearded iris in bloom in spring, the season is followed by peonies in June and spectacular daylilies in July and August.

Located at W5337 State Highway 21, just east of Wautoma.

West of the Lake Gardens, Manitowoc

Listen to the relaxing surf along the tranquil shores of Lake Michigan as you wander the elegant formal beds and borders at this prime estate.

The beauty changes throughout the seasons as the beauty of mixed annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs and bulbs mingle in a number of gardens within gardens.

Free to the public, located along Highway 42 in Manitowoc.

Land of the Giants Hosta Farm, Milton

If you love hostas, you will find heaven at this spectacular, three-acre hosta paradise. Nowhere else in the Midwest will you find such an incredible display of stunning, statuesque and sprawling hostas.

Over 300,000 hostas grow here, creating one of the most incredible displays you'll ever enjoy.

You'll love browsing among thousands of plants offered for sale at generous prices.

Owner Jeff Miller, an award-winning hosta hybridizer, introduces his own line of hostas, available for viewing in the stunning display gardens.

Appointment is required for a garden visit. Find more information and a catalog atwww.landofthegiantshostafarm.com.

Pondside Gardens, Kiel

With so many hosta fans out there, we are fortunate in Wisconsin to have a number of wonderful destinations to view and purchase these amazing plants.

The small-town atmosphere and exhilarating beauty of wooded ravines overflowing with hostas make a stop to Pondside Gardens, Kiel, a must.

In addition to hundreds of varieties of hostas offered for sale, enjoy a stroll among 13 acres of breathtaking gardens, centered around the beautiful namesake pond. You'll find designer specimen trees, colorful lilies, mixed perennials and more.

Rotary Botanical Garden, Janesville

A premiere public garden, the fun in visiting Rotary Botanical Garden is in discovering the creative ways each display is revitalized annually.

Themed gardens throughout the property highlight gardening styles, techniques and feature cutting edge designs, planting methods and combinations.

Visit www.rotarybotanicalgardens.org for more information.

Robert W. Monk Gardens, Wausau

The continuing evolution of these amazing gardens located in Wausau is incredible to watch unfold.

What began as a plot of woodland and meadow has transformed into ongoing displays of joyful planting styles, combinations and themes.

To watch the gardens grow throughout the years and return each season is a fulfilling and educational experience.

For more details, visit www.rwmonkgardens.org.

Find Rob Zimmer online at www.robzimmeroutdoors.com . On Facebook at www.facebook.com/RobZimmerOutdoors .