Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Botany Greenhouse is closed to the public, students, and most researchers until further notice. The Botany Garden remains open, however, we ask you to please be respective of our gardeners who are considered essential staff and practice social distancing.
The Botany Greenhouse has 8,000 square feet of growth space and the Botany Garden has 1.3 acres of land and holds the Department of Botany’s extensive collection of more than 1,500 unique species of plants and 210 plant families. Come and visit each of the 8 greenhouse rooms that take you through a journey of the tropics, desert, bog, and fern forest. This collection of aquatics, succulents, bryophytes, ferns, orchids, herbs, and woody plants are used for teaching general botany, systematics, taxonomy, plant ecology, and plant anatomy to name a few. The greenhouse and garden also provide a space for the students and faculty of the Department of Botany to carry out research on a diverse array of species with extensive morphological variation. The Botany Greenhouses and Garden become an integral part of the student’s experience here on campus, as well as provide public tours throughout the year.
The Director of the Botany Garden and Greenhouses of the UW Madison Botany Department is Dr. Ingrid Jordon-Thaden. She is an Omaha native that comes to us from a strong background of horticulture, taxonomy, and systematics of plant teaching and research. She received her bachelor degrees from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Horticulture and Chemistry, then a masters of biology from UNL in corn biology. Her PhD in Plant Systematics and Biodiversity of Brassicaceae (mustard family) was obtained from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. She then continued her research in plant speciation at the University of Florida, University of California-Berkeley, and Bucknell University.
Cara Streekstra has been with the Botany Garden and Greenhouses for over nine years, and is our resident expert! She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Botany here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Cara then gained 7 years of experience in production horticulture in Oregon before she returned to Madison to join our team. Help me congratulate her on her recent achievement, obtaining her Master’s degree in Botany under the direction of Ken Systma and Ingrid Jordon-Thaden! She is currently taking on the large effort of updating and formally databasing our living collection.
Molly Campbell is our Horticulture Technician since August 2019. She brings over 10 years of professional horticulture experience to our team! Molly has been exploring many different aspects of greenhouse culture from GMO soybeans to organic herb and vegetable seedling production. Molly is now responsible for the Integrated Pest Management in the Botany Greenhouse that we have been implementing more heavily for four years. She also provides our teaching assistants and teachers with plants needed to be grown for class instruction.
Nick Ruby is our permanent, part-time Horticulture Technician that helps in all ways possible to maintain both the garden and the greenhouse all year long. He has been with us for 5 years. Nick grew up in Verona around farming and crop production. He is becoming an expert in organic lawn care in the Botany Garden. He is also our resident aquatic plant and fish care leader for our excellent set of ponds and aquaria. Being around the soothing atmosphere of plants and part of the plant education is why he likes working here.