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The Idea Behind the Idea Garden

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
by Julia Radomski | Horticulture Intern

I am so excited to announce that the Idea Garden is in its final stages of installation! If you’ve been by the Garden recently, you’ve probably seen many new changes from last year, including the new Idea Garden found in between the infamous Larch and Great Lawn.

The inspiration and planning process for this garden started spring of 2018 where I worked one-on-one with Executive Director, Ben, to design a space that emphasized placemaking, community building, engagement and that had multi-functionality. My definition of community for this project is not just the geographical surrounding area of the Garden, but is every single person that steps foot into Allen Centennial Garden. We want all visitors to feel that they have a place within the Garden, and the Idea Garden is the perfect space to promote that feeling.

Overall, the Idea Garden was made to be designed by the community over time. We plan to do this by analysing how people interact with and react to activities within the space. The success of an activity will be measured by how much participation there is, how people feel before and after the activity and by suggestions made by the community.


Currently featured in the Idea Garden is a wide array of sensory plants including but not limited to, the popcorn plant, curry plant, lambs ear, various cone flowers and strawberries. Our current installation is the Wish Tree, where guests can answer a prompt and add it to our Wish Tree. The prompt changes every month and July’s is, “What are your summer goals?”. Stay tuned for the new prompt in August and new activities like wildflower planting where guests will take their wildflowers home with them!


The Allen Centennial Garden and its programs are funded entirely through private support - it receives no state or tuition dollars. To help support the Garden and continue to make our projects and programs possible, please consider a donation.  

Tags: UW Students, Garden Display and Design

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Allen Centennial Garden
620 Babcock Drive
Madison WI 53706

Contact Info
Phone: 608-576-2501
E-mail: info@allencentennialgarden.org

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