About the Gardens

A botanical garden amidst a historic estate

The Paine estate features twenty garden areas for public enjoyment and education. In concert with the historic architecture, the garden designs create outdoor “rooms” showcasing a wide variety of plants. Like the Paine mansion’s rooms and galleries, the gardens are designed to create a variety of intimate and grand settings.

Set against the backdrop of the mansion, the gardens showcase perennials that are especially hardy in Wisconsin’s climate as well as trees, shrubs and wildflowers native to the state. Displays of annuals and bulbs change each year and present new varieties and unusual combinations to inspire every level of garden enthusiast.

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The Founders' Vision

When Nathan and Jessie Kimberly Paine began planning their new home in the mid-1920’s, they envisioned more than a house, but an elaborate setting in the style of an English country estate. Once the family’s cow pasture, the Algoma Boulevard property was vacant and had several majestic oak trees that Nathan admired. He envisioned a house that appeared to be carved out of the woods, and as the plans for the house developed, he oversaw the planting of five hundred trees, mostly evergreens, that triple-ringed the property and created a secluded glade.

English-Inspired Gardens

When the estate opened to the public in 1948, it was called the Paine Art Center and Arboretum, with “arboretum” referring to the predominance of trees as well as shrubs and vines. However, over time, the original landscape design waned as aging, diseased, and damaged trees needed to be removed. The grounds evolved into a series of interconnected gardens reminiscent of English country estates. Although the landscape design has evolved, Nathan and Jessie’s pride in their English heritage continues to be reflected in various plant materials and garden designs.

Plan for the New Formal Garden

The Paine plans to create a new formal garden in the space adjacent to the new conservatory. The new formal garden is inspired by the romance of English country estates as well as the historic Paine estate. The formal garden will be a major investment to enhance the Paine estate while also serving as an educational resource to inspire and teach people of all ages about the joy, practices, and importance of gardening. We need to complete fundraising in early 2017 to be able to move forward with construction this year. Please consider a gift to support this project. You can make a secure online donation today. For more information, contact Kathryn Nichols at (920) 235-6903 ext. 25 or kathryn@thepaine.org.

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Now through November 16
Tuesday-Sunday, 11:00 AM-4:00 PM

Special holiday hours begin November 17.

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Paine Art Center and Gardens

1410 Algoma Blvd
Oshkosh, WI 54901

(920) 235-6903