A Secret Garden

A Secret Garden

Part of Ep. 1402 Secret Gardens & Living Fences

Visit Vic Wayland and Ted Stresemann's truly secret garden. Tucked into a busy Madison neighborhood is a garden that includes an English-themed respite for the homeowners. The pair also has fashioned a Japanese moss garden and installed a number of water features.

Premiere date: Jun 28, 2006

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
Welcome to the Wisconsin Gardener.  I'm Shelley Ryan.  We have a very busy program, so I'll get right to it.  We meet a rock gardener growing more than 25 varieties of clematis in all shapes and sizes.  Also, we learn a new and better way to plant trees.  Speaking of planting, how about growing a living willow fence?  But first, we visit a delightful secret garden.  It's all coming up on the Wisconsin Gardener. 

Shelley:
This is truly a secret garden.  From the busy road, you would never know this is back here.  I'm in the backyard of Vic Wayland and Ted Stresemann.  Vic, this is beautiful, tell me the history of this.  You've been doing this a long time. 

Vic:
Well, let me tell you.  First, what you see here, I'm really the cleaner-upper.  I plant and I weed. 

Shelley:
The hard part! 

The structures you see here are done by my partner, Ted. 

Shelley:
What was here when you started? 

Vic:
It was terrible! This was just rough graded.  There were honey suckles in through here.  Let me show you some of the features. 

Shelley:
It's beautiful now! 

Vic:
This is the path into the garden.  I love this.  This is Meadowrue. 

Shelley:
This is adorable.  I'm used to the taller ones.  This is cute.  This is all part of your Japanese garden. 

Vic:
Right, and you see all this moss, here.  This was a mess. 

Shelley:
Many of us try to get rid of moss. 

Vic:
I tried, but after a while, I said, "forget it!" I'm going to try to do something with it.  I read a little bit about how you can make paths with it. 

Shelley:
And it works! 

Vic:
It worked in beautifully with some of these plants. 

Shelley:
It's very peaceful, too.  What's this? 

Vic:
This is a weeping Mulberry. 

Shelley:
We think of that as a junk tree.  But as a weeper, look at the grace of that. 

Vic:
Doesn't it fit in well in a Japanese garden? 

Shelley:
It's got the whole sense of grace and delicacy.  You've got a lot of different plants that like shade. 

Vic:
Oh, yes, we have some Japanese maples.  This is another type of maple which turns bright red in the fall. 

Shelley:
It looks like it's trying to vine. 

Vic:
Right, it is a vine. 

Shelley:
A vine maple?  Is that hardier than the Japanese maple? 

Vic:
It's pretty hardy here.  Of course, you know what this is. 

Shelley:
Ligularia, look at the way it glows in the shade.  That's just beautiful.  The bees are having a good time.  What a pretty plant. 

Vic:
Here's one of my favorites.  This is a koreana fir.  Look at those cones.  They look like candles. 

Shelley:
And what's the name? 

Vic:
That's Silberlocke. 

Shelley:
That is gorgeous, and happy in part shade. 

Vic:
Yes, but we do get sun in late afternoon. 

Shelley:
This is just one part of the garden.  You have a passion for roses and there's other plants.  What have you done with the roses? 

Vic:
I have a formal rose garden over here.  And then, as you come through here of course, we have an English garden. 

Shelley:
Who made the beautiful trellis? 

Vic:
Again, that's Ted's work.  By the way, these are some of the new climbing roses that don't need to be covered, or anything else.  This is Rambling Red, which I love.  I know you love these.  It's a double. 

Shelley:
Lisianthus, yes I do.  I don't have the doubles at home. 

Vic:
You have to stake them, because they get top heavy. 

Shelley:
Maybe that's why mine are so short.  These are an annual.  We will get this color for one year. 

Vic:
Yes, it's an annual. 

Shelley:
Where does the gate lead to? 

Vic:
To nowhere!  We had to have it stop here but this makes you feel like it goes on and on. 

Shelley:
So, your actual backyard ends there.  It sure does.  That's neat, though, there's a sense of mystery. 

Vic:
Let's talk with Ted about his pools. 

Shelley:
You have a lot of water features.  A lot of water features. 

Shelley:
Ted, you're the other half of this great garden.  I understand you're kind of the hard-scaper.  You've done the paths, the walls to me, the hard stuff. 

Ted:
Well, that's a good term for it.  I consider myself a frustrated landscape architect. 

Shelley:
Stop being "frustrated," this is fantastic! 

Ted:
It's been a real pleasure, especially in retirement. 

Shelley:
In the front yard, I was surprised when I pulled up in the driveway here was this formal beautiful pond, next to the driveway.  Most of us wouldn't put anything there.  Tell me about that. 

Ted:
It was one of the few rather flat spots in the yard.  And the dimensions were long, with a short width.  It seemed to have a rather formal entrance that a pool would be appropriate.  So, the dimensions-- I like to design first and worry about dimensions and particulars later.  We couldn't find a pool that was nine by five feet.  So, we bought fiberglass tanks and cut the ends out.  A boating supply company helped us glue them together. 

Shelley:
You must be an experienced pond maker. 

Ted:
That was the first one.  It's all do-it-yourself, learn by mistakes. 

Shelley:
I'm impressed.  It's all so beautiful.  You solved some problems on the side of the house.  It works really well.  Again, this still goes uphill.  Tell me about this ramp. 

Ted:
Well, some temporary steps proved to be a real problem with lawn mowers and wheel barrows. 

Shelley:
They would be!

Ted:
They certainly were.  One day, the idea of a nice ramp with an arbor at the top to frame the entrance to the backyard occurred.  And we implemented it. 

Shelley:
You created a grand entrance into the backyard.  The first thing you see is this peaceful serenity and this beautiful pond at our feet, too.  The view is just wonderful.  It really is a transition from the front yard. 

Ted:
You picked a key word, there.  Serenity is actually a theme.  The formality kind of supports that notion. 

Shelley:
Now that you're an experienced pond maker having made mistakes with your first one did you something a little easier this time?  Much easier.  I consider this a one-day project. 

Shelley:
Oh, good!

Ted:
The diameter of the circular pond here is about four feet.  It's an item you can find at most farm supply stores. 

Shelley:
It's a plastic drinking trough for animals. 

Ted:
A plastic tank, dish or bowl.  It's desirable feature was a rigid rim.  It's very stiff.  In order to make that appear more attractive we decided to cap it with concrete blocks. 

Shelley:
Oh, wow! 

Ted:
In order to get concrete blocks, we built a mold. 

Shelley:
You did this concrete yourself, too? 

Ted:
Sure, we just poured it into the little mold which I can show you. 

Shelley:
Oh, wow, good idea!  It really adds a formality around the pond.  You are handy!  This is impressive.  When I look at the formality here and the serenity and then I look over there.  Ted, I see these hysterical looking frogs with goofy grins on their faces.  How did they end up over there? 

Ted:
They were one of those items you're not shopping for but you see them.  It just seemed we should make a concession and end all of the formality, serenity and put in something with a little whimsy. 

Shelley:
If I had my feet in the pond, I think I'd be smiling, too.  Thank you so much. 

Ted:
My pleasure. 

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