The Flying Pig

The Flying Pig

Part of Ep. 1801 More Places to Visit

The Flying Pig is a garden, gallery and cafe in Kewaunkee County on the Door County Peninsula. Shelley Ryan walks through the garden with one of the owners, Robyn Mulhaney.

Premiere date: Mar 06, 2010

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
In Kewaunkee County on the Door County peninsula there is an unusual garden called the Flying Pig. I recommend it as a place to visit. I'm with one of the owners, Robyn Mulhaney. Robyn, now that I've walked through here I don't know how to describe this place. Help me out, this is a wonderful place.

Robyn:
We think of it as a place, and we intended it to be a place where art and garden collide.

Shelley:
But collide happily.

Robyn:
Very happily. In an inspiring way, in an educational way.

Shelley:
An eye-catching way. 

Robyn:
In an eye-catching way, and an educational way. 

Shelley:
Everywhere I look there's something fun to look at and there's something that makes me smile. From the highway out, and we're right by the highway, I love what you've done to kind of mask the highway with the plantings. But then I look up at this beautiful, unusual building, and this rather unusual, large pig with wings. 

Robyn:
Betty, that's Betty. And Betty is iconic for us, she's very important. She came from Cincinnati and she was kind of tarted up by an artist and his daughter, here in Algoma. And for us, I had once made the comment that "I'll have my own business when pigs fly." And my partner, Susan Connor, and my business partner picked up on that, and said "Robyn, when that business opens, we're going to have to call it the Flying Pig," and then we added gallery and green space. 

Shelley:
So "when pigs fly" has happened and she's flying.

Robyn:
And we have Betty, yes.

Shelley:
As you've said, you've got garden, you've got green space, you've got gallery, cafe. You sell coffee. You have wine. There's something here for everybody, even kids.

Robyn:
There is. From the beginning, we knew we'd have a place for kids. We're involving them with water, and with landscaping, and rocks and fine art. They're future gardeners. They are future gardeners and they are future artists, so we gave them a sandbox and then we surrounded them with a moat. And that moat is part of a larger water feature for us.

Shelley:
And around the moat you've got some wonderful plantings, too. 

Robyn:
My very first plantings. And so from the beginning I put in a few of my favorites and one is in bloom right now, and that's the Kyushu hydrangea.

Shelley:
Nice.

Robyn:
I also found a wonderful specimen of Bottlebrush buckeye. And that's been in there, this is now its fourth year. Tiger Eyes sumac, you have to have it for fall. And Julianna "Hers" weeping lilac.

Shelley:
A weeping lilac. 

Robyn:
A weeping lilac. And just wonderful, fragrant early summer color and scent.

Shelley:
Now, you said this is one of your first plantings. How old are the gardens?

Robyn:
They're five years old. The first year we spent hardscaping and kind of figuring out the wetlands and the delineation and the pond and everything else.

Shelley:
And the paths.

Robyn:
And saying, this is a retail area, and this is gonna be an area that is gonna hold plantings and display gardens and sculpture.

Shelley:
So you've got artists' work throughout the gardens to kind of help balance the gardens. They balance each other, really. 

Robyn:
They do.

Shelley:
One of my favorites is the beautiful, rustic trellis that we looked at.

Robyn:
Along Lake Michigan here, we have a lot of wind shears. And what we did is we went in along the lake and harvested a lot of that cedar. And then a couple of women from the Algoma area they built that incredible arbor for us. And then the top, the cupola was a gift from an artist from Milwaukee. And we attached that.

Shelley:
That might be my favorite spot. But you seem to have a lot of artists here that like to reuse old materials. There's some wonderful metal sculptures that are made out of parts of old lawnmowers. They’re great.

Robyn:
And we encourage that for ourselves there's a lot of materials out there and we do encourage that for our artists. In fact, our shacks, as we call them...

Shelley:
These beautiful buildings. 

Robyn:
These beautiful buildings that we call shacks were originally migrant shacks up in Door County. And they came down here about 30 or 35 years ago. We put them on hay wagons six years ago, and moved them onto the property. But they serve a function, also. This one, for instance has our espalier crabapples along its side.

Shelley:
It's beautiful.

Robyn:
They are beautiful. And on the other side, is a spot and a space for musicians and for visiting artist demonstrations and class space. So it's kind of, again, bringing the art and the garden colliding and together out here in our environment.

Shelley:
And you're also part of a special green program.

Robyn:
Travel Green Wisconsin. It's a designation from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. And you get points for this and that and we have points for using sustainable energies and for the compostable cups we use in the café, and this and that. And it's part of ecotourism for Wisconsin.

Shelley:
Reusing stuff, being kind to the environment.

Robyn:
Absolutely. We're a chemical-free environment here at the Flying Pig.

Shelley:
This is great. And I love the way art and the garden collides here in a very nice way.

Robyn:
Thank you.

Shelley:
Thanks, Robyn.

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