I find that flowers have the unique ability to reach into your soul and plant a seed of happiness there. Their beauty demands to be smiled at. That is why Olbrich Gardens was the first place we visited when we got to Wisconsin. Olbrich Gardens is a little slice of paradise in the midst of the busy city of Madison. I grew up getting lost in that magical paradise of flowers, but I think I am even more amazed by its beauty now than I ever was before.
Olbrich Gardens is made up of many different gardens put together in a seamless piece of art. It feels as if you are walking in a fantasy world as you enter the Rose Garden (my definite favorite) filled with all sorts of blooming roses, fountains and in the center, a tall tower to overlook the garden. I remember running up the tower as a child and feeling like a princess looking over her kingdom. This time I walked up the tower slowly, looking at everything I could and trying to remember every little detail. I was visiting an old friend and I wanted to take my time.
The Thai Garden is another one of my favorite sections in Olbrich Gardens. In it there is a beautiful pavilion painted in reds and golds. The structure is common in Thailand, used for shelter from rain or heat, though the one at Olbrich is perhaps more elaborate than the common shelters found along the roadside in Thailand. Two years ago when we last visited Olbrich Gardens, I did a
handstand inside the pavilion and Mrs. Idealist took a picture of it. So this visit we decided to do the same thing. People looked at me curiously as I slipped off my shoes and did a handstand in the middle of the Thai pavilion, but the picture was taken and a tradition begun.
As we walked through the gardens, the animals seemed to know that I had a camera. They all came out from their hiding places to pose for their picture, not deterred at all by the presence of humans. I snapped as many pictures as I could before moving on to the next garden. It felt much too early when we had to leave and I stalled in the last garden, not wanting to say goodbye to the fantastical world of flowers. But I know that it won’t be the last time I see Olbrich Gardens. I will visit it again…someday. I left there feeling much brighter and happier than when I had arrived because of the little seed the flowers had planted in my heart.
“The park proposed is intended primarily to bring back into the life of the worker confronted by the dismal industrial tangle, whose forces we all so little comprehend, something of the grace and beauty that nature intended us all to share. For this park has not a passive, but an active function. It is not to stand aloof, a treasure of the city, beautiful, still, reserved. This park above all others, with a warmth and strength of love – of love of all the working world – should hold out its arms, should invite them to itself, until its naturalness and beauty enter into their lives.”
~Michael Olbrich (Founder of Olbrich Gardens)