Garden Expo Offers Spring-like Respite in February | Wisconsin Public Television

Garden Expo Offers Spring-like Respite in February

January 19, 2017

For More Information:

Erik Ernst, publicist, 608-265-3853,

Garden Expo Offers Spring-like Respite in February

As winter settles over Wisconsin, the 24th-annual Wisconsin Public Television Garden Expo brings a bit of spring-like warmth to the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison Feb. 10-12. Event hours are: 2 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12.

Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) hosts the community educational event and fundraiser in partnership with UW-Extension Horticulture. All proceeds support WPT’s quality programming, educational initiatives and events that serve to enrich the Wisconsin community. Advance tickets are available now online at

This year’s event features the newest innovations in gardening and landscaping - with information and advice spread among lush green plants, colorful flowers, vibrant designs of spring, and the delicious bounties from home gardens and fresh delicacies from Wisconsin farms.

Visitors are invited to explore the third-annual Garden Expo Farmers' Market in the Exhibition Hall Atrium 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12. The Farmers' Market will feature farmers, food artisans and local food retailers. Products available at this year’s market include pickles and preserves, artisan cheeses, honey, olive oil, chocolate, coffee, and handcrafted salami and cured meats.
Highlights from this year’s event include:

  • Hundreds of exhibitor booths selling seeds, plants, books, tools, lawn equipment and other exciting merchandise for gardens - and yards - of all sizes.
  • Nearly 150 free educational seminars and demonstrations on topics such as growing Mexican vegetables, color theory in garden design, square foot gardening, growing peonies from seed, crevice gardens and passive hydroponics.
  • Meet and learn from Around the Farm Table host Inga Witscher, Growing a Greener World host Joe Lamp'l, nationally-known gardening expert Melinda Myers, Wisconsin author Jerry Apps, Wisconsin Public Radio host Larry Meiller, filmmaker Catherine Zimmerman and best-selling author Joel Karsten.
  • Garden Expo’s first-ever aquascaping competition will challenge participants to create a small aquarium display on site at Garden Expo. Watch contestants build their displays on Friday and Saturday, or attend the awards presentation at noon Sunday.
  • UW-Extension horticulture experts will be available to offer insight, plant identification and tips to gardeners and amateur landscapers of all levels.
  • The 1,600-square-foot Wisconsin Nursery and Landscape Association (WNLA) Central Garden – a welcome spring-like respite in February.
  • Nonprofit organizations specializing in mulching, various plant species, rain gardens, rock gardens, conservation efforts and more will have booths to share their information.
  • An exciting Garden Expo raffle for prizes including landscape packages, equipment, decorations, tools and more. The raffle ticket proceeds support WPT programming.


Other notable special events include:

  • Botanical-Themed Craft Cocktails in the Central Garden
  • Friday

Join us Friday from 5-8pm in the central garden for botanical-themed craft cocktails, developed by mixologists from Madison restaurant and bar Graze. Take time to enjoy the beautiful plant and flower display put together by members of the WNLA, and enjoy music from Dave Stoler, a featured member of the Tony Castaneda Latin Jazz Sextet.

  • Catherine Zimmerman, The Meadow Project
  • Friday

Catherine Zimmerman, an award-winning director of photography and documentary filmmaker, will share her latest film release, Hometown Habitat, Stories of Bringing Nature Home, followed by a panel discussion. The documentary explores how and why native plants are critical to the survival and vitality of local ecosystems.

  • Julie Dawson, Seed to Kitchen Collaborative
  • Friday and Saturday

UW-Madison Horticulture Professor Julie Dawson will present about the Seed to Kitchen Collaborative, a partnership of farmers, gardeners, top local chefs and plant breeders that aims to identify and develop vegetable varieties with exceptional flavor for Wisconsin’s climate. Learn more about how you can get involved with the project.

  • Inga Witscher, Around the Farm Table
  • Friday and Saturday

Inga Witscher, Host of WPT’s Around the Farm Table, will greet visitors at the WPT booth on Friday (4-6 p.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m.-noon). Inga will also host a stage demonstration on Saturday about growing and cooking with garlic.

  • Gretchen Mead, Victory Garden Initiative
  • Saturday

Gretchen Mead is the visionary leader behind Milwaukee’s Victory Garden Initiative (VGI), which aims to build communities that grow their own food. Gretchen will share the story of VGI’s citywide garden-building BLITZ, the nation’s largest garden-building event, responsible for creating 3,000 gardens across the city since 2009, transforming Milwaukee’s food and gardening landscape.

  • Joe Lamp’l, Growing a Greener World
  • Saturday

Joe Lamp’l is the creator, executive producer and host of the award-winning national PBS series, Growing a Greener World, and founder of Joe will present the secrets behind creating the perfect TV garden and starting and maintaining a thriving organic vegetable garden.

  • Larry Meiller, Garden Talk
  • Saturday

Larry Meiller, host of Wisconsin Public Radio’s Garden Talk, will team up with UW-Extension horticulture experts Lisa Johnson and Brian Hudelson to answer all your gardening questions.

  • Melinda Myers
  • Saturday and Sunday

Nationally known gardening expert, TV/radio host, author and columnist Melinda Myers will share insights from more than 30 years of horticulture experience. Melinda is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine, has written more than 20 gardening books and previously hosted seven seasons of Great Lakes Gardener on PBS. Melinda’s presentations are made possible with support from American Transmission Company/Grow Smart.


Single-day tickets for Garden Expo cost $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Children 12 and under are admitted free. Two-day passes are available for $13 in advance and $15 at the door. Three-day passes are available in advance for $16 and $18 at the door.

Advance ticket vendor outlets are located conveniently around the state at various supporting businesses. A complete list is available at Visitors also can purchase advance tickets on the website. There is an additional charge for parking at the Alliant Energy Center.

All proceeds from Garden Expo support quality public broadcasting in Wisconsin. Garden Expo is presented by WPT, Friends of WPT and UW-Extension Horticulture.

Garden Expo is generously supported by premier sponsors WNLA and associate sponsors Allen Centennial Garden and Mini of Madison.

            WPT is a service of the Educational Communications Board and University of Wisconsin-Extension.

            Wisconsin Public Television is a place to grow through learning on WHA-TV, Madison; WPNE-TV, Green Bay; WHRM-TV, Wausau; WLEF-TV, Park Falls; WHLA-TV, La Crosse; and WHWC-TV, Menomonie-Eau Claire.



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