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July 18-21, 2019 (four days and three nights)

Email Margaret Dolan to get put on the WAIT LIST –

The Master Gardener Society of Oakland County, Inc. is pleased to invite you to join us on a four-day, three-night excursion to picturesque Madison, Wisconsin, the City of Lakes, state capitol, and home of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison), one of the top public universities in the U.S.  Madison is justifiably proud of its scenic location between two lakes, its lovely public gardens, and the famed Dane County Farmers Market which surrounds the state capitol building on Saturdays.

Our tour itinerary will take us through beautiful western Michigan toward Chicago and then northwest to the pristine lakes and peaceful farm country of the Badger State, stopping at several outstanding gardens and garden related venues along the way.  We will travel by luxury motor coach from Pontiac, MI, to Madison, WI, leaving early Thursday morning and returning Sunday evening.

DATES:                        July 18-21, 2019 (4 days, 3 nights – Thursday through Sunday)
ESTIMATED COST:     $500-550 per person, double occupancy (upcharge for single occupancy)
DEPOSIT:                   $150 per person


  • Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI – Voted one of the top ten most inspiring gardens in North America by Horticulture Magazine, Olbrich Botanical Gardens include an indoor tropical conservatory and sixteen acres of outdoor display gardens, among which is the famed Thai Pavilion and Garden. The Bolz Conservatory is home to Olbrich’s Blooming Butterflies – an annual event where free-flying butterflies emerge from chrysalises daily and fly around the Conservatory.
  • Allen Centennial Garden, Madison, WI – Located on the 2.5 acres surrounding the historic agricultural Dean’s Residence, this garden was designed to complement the home and its existing plantings, including a larch tree planted in 1899. It is a living laboratory and public botanical garden of the Horticulture Department at the UW-Madison.
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum & Gardens, Madison, WI – A diverse landscape and learning environment in an urban setting, the 1,200-acre arboretum includes woodlands, wetlands, ponds, restored prairies and savannas, and gardens. Among the gardens are the Longenecker Horticultural Gardens, the Viburnum Garden, and the Wisconsin Native Plant Garden, all designed and maintained to display plant diversity, illustrate gardening practices, educate and inspire.
  • Raker-Roberta’s Trial Gardens, Litchfield, MI – A major commercial wholesaler of custom-grown plugs and liners (young plants), Raker-Roberta’s supplies more than 3,000 plant varieties to greenhouses and nurseries in the U.S. and internationally. They are also a leader in trialing in North America and continuously research and evaluate new and existing plant varieties in their outdoor Trial Gardens.
  • Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve, Niles, MI – Fernwood is a place where people, plants, and nature come together, with gardens tucked into a landscape made up of both natural and cultivated areas. Interesting outdoor sculptures and two Railway Gardens are showcased in the garden while species of endangered Michigan plants and animals are protected in the nature preserve.
  • Anderson Japanese Garden, Rockford, IL – A beautiful outdoor setting that inspires the mind and energizes the soul, this twelve-acre landscape of streams, waterfalls, winding pathways, and koi-filled ponds has been rated one of North America’s highest quality Japanese gardens for more than a decade.
  • La Paloma Gardens, Rockford, IL – This private garden began in 1985 with five roto-tilled rows carved out of a former horse paddock. The rich soil produced atomic vegetables that first year and the owners were “hooked” on gardening.  Over the years that followed, a formal vegetable garden, a Swan Pond, a Koi house, an Italian courtyard and various other features were added to make these elegant gardens what they are today.
  • Black Point Estate & Gardens, Lake Geneva, WI – An excellent example of Queen Ann architecture, this 20 room “cottage” was completed in 1888 as a summer lakeshore retreat by Chicago beer baron, Conrad Seipp. Overlooking beautiful Lake Geneva, its eight acres of grounds include formal estate gardens and a newly installed Wisconsin woodland garden.
  • Northwind Perennial Farm, Burlington, WI – Located on an early 1900’s farmstead, the Farm grows and sells regionally hardy perennials, offers landscape design services, and operates a unique garden shop filled with art, garden accents and home décor. The lush display gardens illustrate the cutting-edge plant knowledge of the owners.
  • Rotary Botanical Garden, Janesville, WI – An award-winning botanical showcase on 20 acres in the heart of Janesville, The Gardens occupy the site of an abandoned sand and gravel quarry. Now, after an amazing clean up and design project sponsored by local Rotary Clubs, this non-profit treasure features over 24 different garden styles and 4,000 varieties of plants.
  • Evening Free Time: Enjoy local shops and restaurants, explore the local area – Madison’s State Street Pedestrian Mall or West Towne Mall – or, just put your feet up and relax at the hotel.


  • Three nights hotel: one night in Rockford, IL, and two nights in Madison, WI.  Breakfast included daily.
  • Friday Breakfast-To-Go, snacks and water on the bus, and other meals as determined.
  • Transportation by luxury motor coach with reclining seats, DVD monitors, and restroom.
  • Entrance fees to all gardens and venues.
  • All gratuities except for meals you purchase on your own.
  • Many places to shop for plants, books, or garden art.
  • Convenient Name Tag pouch for carrying your itinerary and small supplies into the gardens.
  • On board movies, fun games and prizes.
  • Useful products and reading material in your Welcome Bags.
  • MSUE Master Gardener Continuing Education hours (number to be determined).
  • Opportunities to meet, learn from, and share ideas with gardeners in other states.
  • A fun time with fellow garden lovers and friends, old and new.
  • Amiable tour guide, Margaret Dolan, and an awesome Trips and Tours Team!!!

PDF Reservation Form – 2019 MGSOC Garden Tour-Deposit Form

If you have questions, please email Margaret Dolan, Trip Leader,


  • 2018 – 18th Annual Bus Trip Finger Lakes Region of New York State
  • 2017 – 17th Annual Bus Trip to Louisville, KY
  • 2016 – Cleveland, Ohio – Toledo Botanical Garden, Schedel Arboretum, Schoepfle Garden, Clevand Botanical Garden, Lakeview Cemetery, Holden Arboretum
  • 2015 – Chicago Botanical Gardens, Milwaukee and more
  • 2014 – St. Louis, Missouri
  • 2013 – Ohio/Kentucky – Private conifer garden, Wegerzyn Gardens, Krohn Conservatory, Yew-Dell Gardens and Spring Grove Cemetery.
  • 2012 – Philadelphia – Longwood Gardens, Winterthur, Morris Arboretum and Bertram’s Garden with an appearance by John Bertram.
  • 2011 Bruce Peninsula – Canada.  Private rural gardens, waterfalls and wine.
  • 2010 Pittsburgh, PA. – Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water, Phipp’s Conservatory, local celebrity Doug Oster’s garden and neighbor’s Japanese garden, Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation, Sandhill Berry Farm and Greendance Winery, Duquesne Incline, Stan Hywet Gardens, Fellows-Riverside Gardens, National Aviary, Rodef Shalom Biblical Garden and Naturally Native Nursery.
  • 2009 Franklin Park Conservatory, Park of Roses, Topiary Garden, German Village Home and Garden Tour and Schedel Arboretum – Ohio
  • 2008 Oakhurst Gardens, Carolee’s Herb Garden, Shipshewana, Amish Acres and Intl. Friendship Garden – Indiana
  • 2007 Cantiny Gardens, Chicago Botanical Garden, Morton Arboretum, Evanstan and Fernwood Botanical Gardens – Illinois & Michigan
  • 2006 Shakespeare Gardens, Stratford; Toronto Islands Cottage Gardens, Laura Grant’s Garden and Blue Man Group – Toronto
  • 2005 Frederik Meijer Gardens, Dow Gardens, Grand Hotel Gardens and Lilac Festival Mackinac Island – Michigan
  • 2004 Holden Arboretum, Cleveland Botanical Gardens, Toledo Botanical Gardens and Put-in-Bay – Ohio
  • 2003 Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton and Niagara Falls – Ontario, Canada
  • 2002 Chicago Botanical Garden, Hidden Lake Gardens and Shipshewana – Illinois and Indiana
  • 2001 Fernwood Botanical Garden and Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm – Michigan


2018 New York, USA

Finger Lakes Region of New York State

2013 Ohio/Kentucky, USA

2012 Philadelphia, USA

2011 Bruce Peninsula – Canada