UW Family Gardening Day on May 7

Family Gardening DayAs spring weather starts to arrive, area gardeners are invited to celebrate the season and find ideas for their gardens—big and small—at the UW Family Gardening Day. This year’s event will take place Saturday, May 7 on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

The free, family-friendly event runs from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the university’s Allen Centennial Garden, Steenbock Memorial Library, UW Biotron, and D.C. Smith Instructional Greenhouse. UW-Madison and UW-Extension experts and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions about plants, soils, weeds and pests; offer advice for gardens of all sizes; and host a variety of demonstrations and displays on topics such as limited-space gardens, edible gardens and ways to extend the growing season.

“Gardening is a great activity for the whole family, and we have a lot of fun and educational activities that can get you growing both indoors and out,” says event organizer Johanna Oosterwyk, manager of the D.C. Smith Instructional Greenhouse.

There will be plenty of fun, hands-on activities for kids. At the greenhouse, children will be able to assemble tiny terrariums (using deli containers they can take home), look at insects under a microscope and construct unconventional flower arrangements. Young visitors to Allen Centennial Garden can tour the space and find inspiration for their own home gardens.

While supplies last, Allen Centennial Garden will also be distributing Pasta Four-Packs—sets of tomato, oregano, basil and pepper plants—for visitors to take and plant in their home gardens.

Across the street from the garden, Steenbock Memorial Library invites visitors to check out its collection that also includes popular materials on cooking, food preservation, gardening and urban agriculture. In addition to distributing information about local gardening resources—including the Dane County Seed Library—Steenbock Library will host Master Gardeners to answer questions as well as staff from Wisconsin’s Water Library and the BioCommons to engage in hands-on activities.

Just a few blocks away, visitors to the UW Biotron can tour the facility and discover the many ways UW researchers are investigating plants and growing environments. The facility will feature many space-related displays such as plants grown on the International Space Station, plants growing under various colors of light and equipment used by UW researchers to investigate plants growing in zero gravity.

Don’t forget to end your visit with a trip to the Babcock Hall Dairy Store, which will be open and dishing up all sorts of 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. The UW Biotron is a short distance away at 2115 Observatory Drive. 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 and the Allen Centennial Garden information page, or contact Johanna Oosterwyk,, (608) 262-3844.

Photos are available at