Tour the Gardens
The historic Paine property features nineteen gardens as well as a nearby natural area. A selection of garden highlights is featured below.
In April of 2017, the Paine began construction on a new formal garden. The garden is located along the Paine property’s eastern border adjacent to the new conservatory building, which was constructed in 2012. Work will continue throughout the summer, and most of the work will be completed by early September.
The sweeping Front Lawn provides a dramatic view of the Paine mansion. Each year, the beds along the balustrade extending over to the mansion’s public entrance feature a different dramatic display of blooming bulbs in the spring followed by a new spectacular combination of annuals throughout the summer and autumn.
Receiving sunlight into the evening, this elevated terrace is an informally designed garden with an undulating perennial border that creates a foyer-like space around the original main entrance to the house. The flowers complement the yellow Kasota limestone and violet and amber shades of the window panes.
This elevated space holds a monochromatic garden, a traditional Victorian style. It features a palette of white, gray, and silver foliage, which helps to keep the garden bright late into the evening. This design style is often called a “moon garden” because it also catches the moonlight.
This sweeping emerald carpet provides a breathtaking view of the mansion. Not simply a yard, the Great Lawn includes undulating borders with a wide variety of trees and shrubs. Spring bulbs, perennials, ground covers, and annuals accent the lawn’s border. A long and wide stone pathway transects the space and creates a dramatic pathway to and from the mansion.
The design of the Shade Garden resembles the Woodland Path on the opposite border of the estate, but incorporates exotic plants and new hybrids rather than those native to the state. “Roman Head” by Wisconsin artist Leo Smith is visible from various vantage points and demonstrates the effective use of sculpture to create interesting and surprising views within a garden.
Nathan and Jessie Kimberly Paine were especially fond of roses, which have long been used in English heraldry, and gave them prominence in the plan for their version of an English country estate. Roses are selected for the garden based on their hardiness to this area’s climate, and they are complemented by a variety of perennials. With a central reflecting pool, the garden is bordered with Barberry and Arborvitae hedges, and the façade of the Tool Shed provides an impressive backdrop.
To the north of the Rose Garden and stretching into the Great Lawn, this garden transitions from a shady grove of birch trees to a sunny area with a wide variety of flowering bulbs, like daffodils and lilies, as well as ground covers with different texture.
This garden takes advantage of Wisconsin’s four seasons by highlighting plants with brilliant colors and textures that peak in autumn. A meandering pathway winds through ornamental grasses, asters, anemones, and blooming perennials, as well as the sculpture “bloom” by artist Kim Cridler.
Radiating out from a central reflecting pool, this garden provides an oasis for birds. The various perennials, shrubs, and trees offer nectar, berries, and protection for “fine feathered friends.” The pergola frames the view west, toward the Ceremony Garden.
Designed especially for weddings, this oval garden features an outer border with an array of plants in white, pastel, and lace-like highlights. The inner border changes each year with flowering bulbs in the spring and then annuals during the remainder of the garden season. The pergola with Tuscan columns serves as a romantic backdrop for many marriages each year.
Plants that are native to Wisconsin’s shady woodlands, including many specimens of trees and wildflowers, border this winding path. Many of the wildflowers are spring ephemerals, like Bloodroot, Dutchman’s Breeches, and Trilliums, which bloom for a short time early in the spring and then die back.
Tucked next to the Limousine Garage, the circular design of this intimate and shady space is repeated in the adjoining gardens to the east. Each year the central container and inner and outer rings feature a different combination of shade-loving annuals. The container also anchors the long view from the east across the other circular gardens.
A narrow courtyard along the north side of the mansion is the setting for the sculpture “Winnebago Lady” by Wisconsin-born artist Donal Hord. The garden area frames a doorway designed to be the valet entrance to the mansion. Like a house’s foyer, the courtyard currently presents a welcoming corridor into the Paine’s gardens.