Each May I remember Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp & Writing Retreat. Though I do not attend every year, my heart is always there in spirit. This piece was originally published on my Stay Gardening blog in 2018.
For eight days this past May, I was in my native Wisconsin to attend a fiction writing retreat. The day before classes began I donned my mantle as “garden writer” and went to visit Bookworm Gardens.
Bookworm Gardens for Children
A couple of years prior, the offer came as a pleasant surprise when one of the Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp & Writing Retreat instructors asked if I had ever been to the public garden on the grounds of the University of Wisconsin, Sheboygan. I had not. She offered to take me, and soon another writer visiting from Arizona joined us.
I have been preoccupied writing fiction these days, but I never forget my roots. Here is just one more way to Stay Gardening, for fun and for life. A visit to a little known garden meant to inspire all you read about.
Reading Books in Gardens
The botanical garden is built around favorite children’s literature, the natural world and the imagination. Open May 1 through October 31, the 65 different gardens are each brought to life by creating a landscape around a children’s book.
The garden displays are made interactive by matching plants to books. Throughout the gardens are chairs and benches to sit and book nooks that offer reading material, all you have to do is open the door.
You will find Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is decorated with white and grey shade plants and white bowling balls.
The Frog & Toad by Arnold Lobel welcomes visitors and McElligot’s Pool by Dr. Seuss is home to fish in the wetland area.
Enabling garden displays pairs plants for touch and smell with a book called A Girl Named Helen Keller. Nearby is Frankie the Walk and Roll Dog by Barb Techel.
Visit the Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan Wisconsin
The public garden has been open approximately 20 years. There is no admission cost and parking is free. However, a freewill donation is appreciated and the organization is always accepting children’s books for the lending library located in an outdoor cupboard just outside their front gate. Inside the garden’s grounds is a gift shop near Hansel and Gretel, restroom facilities in The Secret Garden, and an indoor reading area.
Bookworm Gardens is a grassroots nonprofit operation found on the grounds of the University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan-Extension and is run by local residents. Encouragement is sure to be found for children to stay gardening in this magical place.
Pond and Wetland Gateway