"Twenty-eight years ago Scott Sieckman purchased fourteen acres with an original
farmhouse and created Monches Farm.
The (property) is filled with hidden spaces and paths wind from one direction to another. There's always a surprise waiting around a curve from stone architectural replicas to a former formal knot garden that has evolved into a rather eclectic composite of formality and informality...as if the ghosts of a great English estate had taken over a ho-hum backyard.
The front garden has a Victorian air about it. Multiple beds of perennials have almost hidden the house...curving beds of perennials around the lawn feature selections of daylilies, shrub roses, cranesbill, euphorbia, hollyhocks, and ferns.
There's a glasshouse on the property that Sieckman found in Milwaukee, dismantled, and moved to the farm. It houses a collection a succulents and several aviaries. Chickens, sheep, and even a peacock could be considered part of the landscape.
The farm specializes in more than three hundred varieties of daylilies and two hundred of hosta. The plants are potted and then sunk into the ground to overwinter in the Wisconsin cold under harsher conditions than you'd find in a private garden. Native plants are also grown in the same way. Unusual annuals include scented geraniums and kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate as well as tropicals such a elephant ears, coleus, and other foliage plants..."
Monches Farm was featured in the
April 2008 edition of
Midwest Living Magazine
"I Brake for Plants" (by garden editor Deb Wiley) is an informative and entertaining article about Destination Garden Centers in the Midwest. The article featured numerous photographs of Monches Farm, as well a glowing description that has brought us visitors from throughout the Midwest. Thanks to all who've made the trip to visit us! We're humbled by your praise.
Click HERE to read the article online.
The Summer, 2006 Issue of
Wisconsin Country Life Magazine
carried a feature story about our own Johanna Kleckner, entitled "Fairie Tales".
The text of that article follows:
Johanna Kleckner has always believed in fairies. As a child she created Lilliputian fairy feasts in the glen behind her family home, setting the woodland table with placemats of new spring leaves and filling acorn shell bowls with tiny salads made of ephemeral forest flowers. In the autumn she sought out small hollows in trees that she lined with thistle down and dry leaves to create cozy sleeping areas for her diminutive playmates.
Today, very much an adult, Johanna still believes in the magic of fairies. And, magically, a small but flourishing business has grown out of her passion. For over 20 years Johanna has been creating and selling "fairy furniture"; delicate canopy beds, willowy chairs and comfy sofas, all made from materials provided by nature. A graceful fern frond fastened to slender twigs becomes a chair back, a bit of lichen an area rug and a tiny abandoned bird nest, lined with down feathers and dusted with glitter, becomes a cradle for a young fairy. Three years ago Johanna expanded her fairy creations to include a line of fairy couture. These minute fashions, displayed on tiny twig hangers hung from floral clotheslines, are made from bits of antique lace and pieces of beautiful long ago gowns, bonnets & collars. Even the most exquisitely expensive materials can be used as only the smallest amount is required.
Johanna says that fashioning creations for fairies is an escape from reality that she savors for its simplicity and, well, for its magic. "After all", says Johanna, "it's easy to be happy when you're surrounded with ferns and glitter!"
We were flattered to be one of fifteen Wisconsin nurseries featured
in Betty Earl's book: "In Search of Great Plants"
(Cool Springs Press 2004).
"Monches Farm, treasured by serious gardeners, is a horticultural wonderland that grows an engaging abundance of perennials, herbs, grasses, ground covers and a few unusual shrubs on a delightful old farmstead. This 7-acre floral extravaganza is in the heart of Wisconsin' Kettle Moraine, about 30 miles northwest of Milwaukee in a scenic woodland area on a designated "Rustic Road".
The two-story gift shop (not wheelchair accessible) overflows with dried arrangements (a nursery specialty), spectacular candles, an incredible selection of soaps, wall hangings, table decorations, antiques, linens, blankets made from Scott's own sheep, pottery, and art glass - everything from the elegant to the whimsical, and some items that are simply different. Founded in 1981 by Scott Sieckman, a former anthology and art major turned horticulturist. Monches Farm carries an exceptional range of captivating plant material that is hardy to the area, aesthetically pleasing, and passes Scott's rigorous standards.
Monches Farm looks deceptively like a working farm, with its barn, rare breed poultry and heirloom sheep bred for superior wool. However, the fenced in animals and the aviaries in the greenhouse are simply to add ambiance, country atmosphere - and fun (Monches sells farm fresh eggs in season in beautiful hues ranging from light beige to sky blue).
The scenery around the nursery is breathtaking. Benches scattered throughout the property invite moments of rest and quiet contemplation. Customers should not miss the gorgeous container displays scattered casually throughout the gardens and randomly framing the gift shop entrance, for they exhibit exciting artistry and interesting originality in their plant combinations. There are stunning pastoral views of Holy Hill in the distance, and for those with a yen for exploring, entrances to Wisconsin's Ice Age Hiking Trail are close by.
In the greenhouse with cooing doves for company, the sedums with their descriptive placards are attractively arranged on several benches. The nursery's stunning display gardens are scattered throughout the property, enveloping the gift shop and the original 1840's post and beam house (Scott's residence). These gardens are masterpieces of design and deserving of close inspection".Betty Earl goes on to say:
"In addition to the rare and unusual, Monches Farm offers plants in the normal nursery categories - Hosta, daylilies (practically every one of the 250 or so prismatic cultivars of field-grown daylilies will charm the pants off you if you let them), yarrow, Astilbe, phlox, and other stalwarts of the garden, yet little if any, of its stock selection is ordinary. Scott's seductive choices betray a palate of cutting-edge plants gleaned from top-notch horticultural contacts across the country.
Plants in the sales area are grouped by category and arranged alphabetically by botanical name. They are potted out, pots and all, in the ground, giving customers a true perspective of the plant's nature, size, blossoms, and staying power. Visitors are welcome to tour the show gardens which include a large mature shade garden with an impressive Hosta collection, a boxwood-edged formal garden, and a sun border with some fashionable witty plant combinations. In fact, there are so many areas and varieties planted out on the premises that sometimes the lushness of the plantings make it hard to know where the display gardens end and the production fields begin.Monches is a wonderful find for the discerning plant lover. Special events include May Day, a lavish summer Fairy Festival (kids come dressed as their favorite fairy), Fall Festival, and Christmas."
A friend of mine describes Monches Farm as "part farm, part perennial garden and part wonderland -- as when Alice falls down the hole into wonderland." It is an apt description. This 7-acre floral cornucopia of perennials, herbs and tropical plants is well worth the 140-mile round trip from Madison. So is the adjoining gift shop filled with dried floral arrangements, eclectic home accessories and such fitting collectibles as Flower Fairies. Monches Farm is in the heart of Wisconsin's Kettle Moraine, about 30 miles northwest of Milwaukee. The actual address is 5890 Monches Road, a designated Rustic Road that visitors who have extra time might want to explore. Holy Hill is visible in the distance. Entrances to Wisconsin's Ice Age Hiking Trails are nearby. The business was started in 1981 by Scott Sieckman, 44, a former anthropology and art major who transferred to UW-Madison to study horticulture. While still living in Madison, he worked for Felly's Flowers. In the beginning, Sieckman grew everything on site, even the flowers used in dried arrangements, many of which he sold in the fall at the Dane County Farmers' Market. Today, in keeping up with the Monches Farm's increasing volume of business and the demand for garden accessories and exotic plants, he imports items from all over the world. "It's difficult to grow some of the flowers we currently use in some of our dried arrangements," said Sieckman, who also has a separate landscaping business, Salisbury Hill Limited. With no encroaching development, Monches Farm looks bigger than it is and a crowing rooster and nearby chicken house suggest that the farm is a working one when it actually isn't. But many perennials and herbs get their start there and even many plants trucked in are lowered, pots and all, into the ground. The result is a field full of lush blooms surrounding a gift shop whose entrance is haphazardly framed with unusual containers and garden art. Yet there is a homey order to this seemingly disorganized display that even Martha Stewart would be hard-pressed to improve upon. Non-gardeners will enjoy visiting Monches Farm for the gift shop alone. When Sieckman purchased the property, he received basically a house with a leaky roof and a cornfield. In addition to renovating the house, he built a barn and the gift shop. Today, the gift shop has numerous rooms spread over two floors that overflow with dried arrangements, pottery, art glass, wall hangings and hooks, table decorations and linens, many of which carry a theme -- frogs perchance and roosters, of course. Items run the gamut, from elegant to whimsical to simply odd. Sieckman admits that the gardening industry has exploded in the last two decades. "There is lots more business," he said. "There is also much more competition, not only in gardening but also the gift industry. Even two years ago, when you found a new product, you had a year to run with it. But that's not true anymore," he said, acknowledging it's increasingly difficult to carry exclusive items. Monches Farm is open every month of the year except January, although hours sometimes vary. Through the end of the year, Monches Farm is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays (except Mondays, when it is closed), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Occasionally special events occur, including a fall open house scheduled for Oct. 11 and 12. The store is decorated for Christmas beginning Nov. 8. Please note: The gift store is not wheelchair accessible. To get to Monches Farm from Madison, take Interstate 94 toward Milwaukee, exit on Highway 83 north through North Lake, go right on Highway Q, turn left on Monches Road. For information, phone (262) 966-2787 or visit www.monchesfarm.com.
This article featured Monches Farm's gardens and Scott's historic house, which is located on the property.
Milwaukee Magazine, "Best of '96" issue
"Best One-Day Vacation for Plant Lovers"
"If you love botanical gardens but fight an overwhelming urge to take a plant home, Monches Farm is the answer to your dilemma. Located 32 miles from downtown Milwaukee, it's a heavenly day trip down a rustic road to the beautiful beds of herbs and perennials interspersed with attractive garden statuary and conveniently placed benches. The selection of flora is extraordinary, with an emphasis on hard-to-find varieties."