Tag Archives: The Wisconsin Gardener

Add Asparagus to the Grill

Asparagus is in season in Wisconsin. After you’ve enjoyed it boiled, broiled, steamed, roasted and raw, consider tossing those green stalks onto the grill.

Grilling asparagus is only slightly more complex than grilling a hotdog or bratwurst. Add a little oil, salt and pepper, and your asparagus will be just as flavorful. If you want to get more elaborate, blanche your asparagus and wrap with prosciutto before grilling. Or add some fancy cheese with this PBS Food recipe for grilled asparagus with Raclette.

From breakfast to dinner, there’s a number of ways to enjoy asparagus. Visit PBS Food for recipes and inspiration, and try something new while the markets are still stocked with local fresh asparagus.

Plant and harvest your own asparagus. Learn how with The Wisconsin Gardener.

Grilled Asparagus with Raclette. Get the recipe at PBS Food.


The Most Watched Shows of 2014

The year’s end always brings on an abundance of “top 10” and “best of” lists. With thousands of videos streamed this year, we thought it’d be fun take a nostalgic look at some of the most popular videos on wpt.org this year.

By the numbers, here are some of the videos you watched most in 2014.

Without a doubt, Sewing With Nancy was the most streamed show, due, in part, to a loyal audience that extends far beyond Wisconsin. Among the hundreds of videos, “Sew Simple With Rectangles and Squares, Part 1” was the favorite in 2014.

30-Minute Music Hour ranked among the favorites this year thanks to Charlie Parr. The Duluth singer/songwriter performed his mix of steel guitar country and bluegrass for a live audience in Madison last summer.

Several films in the WPT Documentaries series made the list of favorites this year. “Jerry Apps: A Farm Story” and “A Farm Winter With Jerry Apps” continued to log views, as did “Being Hmong Means Being Free” as well as “Menominee History,” which is part of WPT’s new collection of Tribal Histories.

From state legislative races to the race for governor, Here and Now and WisconsinVote.org kept viewers informed throughout the election season with weekly reports and statewide candidate statements. And, fracking continued to make headlines in Wisconsin. Frederica Freyberg’s 2012 report on the booming sand mining industry in Western Wisconsin remained among the most viewed in 2014.

At the start of the year, WPT introduced the new TV series Wisconsin Life in partnership with Wisconsin Public Radio. The series showcases Wisconsin’s most interesting people and places. Some of the favorite stories were “State in Law,” “Milwaukee Gymnast,” and “Barn Quilts.”

And in December, WPT premiered another new film that invited viewers to soar over Wisconsin’s treasured landscapes. Wisconsin From the Air delighted viewers during the recent winter membership drive. The response from WPT viewers was overwhelming and resulted in a most successful membership drive. Thank you to all for your gifts of support!

University Place continued to spread education across the state and beyond by adding over 100 new videos to its collection this year. The most popular video in 2014 featured “Miracle on the Hudson” co-pilot Jeff Skiles sharing his story of the successful landing of a U.S. Airways flight on the Hudson River.

We said farewell to The Wisconsin Gardener’s Shelley Ryan this year and remembered her legacy as viewers gained knowledge – from identifying wild parsnip, to fighting tree and shrub disease and attracting hummingbirds — for growing in Wisconsin.

On Wisconsin Foodie, eager viewers dined with host Kyle Cherek at Ishnala in Wisconsin Dells. A new season of “Foodie” adventures premieres Jan. 8 on WPT, with new episodes already available to watch online. Also in the food and travel category, Around the Farm Table gained popularity in its second season this year as host Inga Witscher made egg soufflé with guest Michael Perry.

If you missed any of the above videos, don’t worry…all these and more are available to watch for free at video.wpt.org. Ring in the New Year by watching some of your favorites. And, if you don’t see your favorite video on the list, tell us what it is in the comments.

Thanks for watching, and happy New Year!

Remembering 'The Wisconsin Gardener's' Shelley Ryan

Join Wisconsin Public Television as we celebrate the life and career of the late Shelley Ryan, beloved host and producer of The Wisconsin Gardener.

Portrait of Shelley Ryan
Shelley Ryan

For 21 years, Shelley Ryan inspired thousands of gardeners to express creativity in their own homes, lawns, gardens and landscapes. As a Master Gardener, Ryan’s vast knowledge of gardening in Wisconsin’s range of seasons made her a trusted source for green thumbs across the state.

Ryan endured a long battle with breast cancer, and in 2013, she announced to viewers her cancer had spread and that the 21st season of The Wisconsin Gardener would be her last. She died earlier this year after completing work on the series.

Now, Wisconsin Public Television commemorates Shelley Ryan’s life and career with a special that features memorable moments and guests from throughout The Wisconsin Gardener’s 21 seasons. The Wisconsin Gardener: Celebrating Shelley Ryan airs 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2 and is streaming online nowJoin us in celebrating Shelley Ryan and the contributions she made during her decades of service to gardeners throughout Wisconsin.

The following is a list of episodes featured in the special, in order of appearance. Search for full segments and watch online on The Wisconsin Gardener webpage.

Ep. 1303 – Huitlachoche, Bad Plants Go Good, Emerald Ash Borer, Growing Plant Communities
Ep. 704 – Dividing Iris/Iris Borer
Ep. 1803 – Growing an Edible Wall
Ep. 2102 – Vertical Gardening
Ep. 1204 – Concrete Leaf Sculptures, Multi-colored Asian Ladybeetle
Ep. 1402 – Secret Gardens
Ep. 2002 – The Fossil Record of Ancient Gardens
Ep. 1301 – Dyeing with Herbs/Scarves
Ep. 1104 – Making a Whimsical Garden Statue
Ep. 1906 – Eat Local at La Merenda Restaurant, Vegetable Diseases, Eagle Heights, How to Grow in a Burlap Bag
Ep. 2103 – Junkyard Garden, Artful Shade Garden, Moss Roses, Drought Long and Short Term Effects
Ep. 1903 – A Rock Quarry Garden, Plants for Clay
Ep. 2005 – A Terra Cotta Sculpture Garden, Sisson’s Peony Gardens, Allen Centennial Gardens
Ep. 1603 – Preserving the Harvest, Bounce, Ridges Sanctuary
Ep. 1901 – How Not to Take Care of Container Plants, How Not to Plant Trees
Ep. 1704 – Cancer Announcement, Tree Peonies
Ep. 2001 – How to Buy Plants That Will Live
Ep. 1904 – Riverside International Friendship Gardens, A French Garden in Alma, Growing Lotus Plants in Sturgeon Bay
Ep. 1701 – A Northern Wisconsin Garden, Winter Greenhouses, West of the Lake Gardens, Children’s Garden at Green Bay Botanical, West Madison Agriculture Research Station
Ep. 803 – Creating With Gourds
Ep. 1801 – Longenecker Gardens
Ep. 101 – Rock Gardens
Ep. 1002 – Let’s Go Shopping
Ep. 304 – Native Prairie Plants
Ep. 204 – Bug of the Month, Tent Worms
Ep. 1001 – A Wisconsin Tropical Garden, A Dinosaur Garden, A Horticulturalist Garden
Ep. 2004 – Cicada Killer Giant Wasps
Ep. 1706 – Controlling Buckthorn & Honeysuckle
Ep. 1002 – Staking Perennials
Ep. 2101 – Anderson Japanese Gardens

Start Plants Now with Help From This Old House

Here’s a timely video for anyone aspiring to develop their green thumb this spring. Give your vegetable garden a head start with helpful advice from landscape contractor Roger Cook, who demonstrates several methods for starting plants from seeds indoors.

In the segment, Cook says you should transfer your plants to the great outdoors about a week after the final frost of the season. Find out when that is – wherever you garden in Wisconsin – with this handy zone map from The Wisconsin Gardener.

Wisconsin Public Television Remembers Shelley Ryan

Wisconsin Public Television is saddened by the death of Shelley Ryan, longtime host and producer of The Wisconsin Gardener.

During her 21 years hosting the beloved gardening how-to show, Ryan inspired thousands of gardeners across the state to express their creativity in their own homes, gardens, lawns and landscapes. Ryan passed away Thursday after a long battle with cancer. She is survived by her husband, Dennis Ryan, and their son, Kably.

With her always-friendly demeanor, good humor and inquisitive nature, Shelley became a television mentor for so many people over the course of two decades on The Wisconsin Gardener – encouraging them to get their hands dirty and explore innovative new ideas in their gardens. She created the show after becoming a Master Gardener through the University of Wisconsin-Extension and realizing that Wisconsin’s gardeners could benefit from a program focused on the attributes of horticulture that are specific to our state.

“Through her work on television and in the community, Shelley Ryan became a friend to everyone with a green thumb and those of us who hoped we could develop one,” WPT Director of Television James Steinbach said. “With The Wisconsin Gardener, Shelley created and cultivated a program that taught us all something new in every segment and motivated gardeners new and old to become better stewards of all of our natural spaces. I learned so much by working closely with Shelley for the past two decades. All of us at Wisconsin Public Television, and all of her viewers, will miss her enthusiasm, passion, vast knowledge and – more than anything – friendship.”

As Shelley traveled the state to explore Wisconsin’s most beautiful places, she made lasting connections with professional and amateur horticulturists, gardeners, landscapers and outdoor educators that she shared as important resources with her audiences.

Early in the television show’s run, providing in-person access to those resources would inspire the creation of Wisconsin Public Television’s Garden Expo – an event that now draws nearly 20,000 gardeners to Madison each February to uncover the latest in gardening techniques, tips and information.

Shelley retired from her role as host of The Wisconsin Gardener in 2013 after completing work on the show’s 21st season. At the time she shared news with her fans that her cancer had returned.

“It is not a decision I make happily or lightly,” Shelley said at the time. “Last year I learned that my breast cancer had returned and spread to my bones. My treatment this last summer and fall have really taken a toll on me, and I need to focus on my health.”

Throughout her battle with cancer, Shelley shared her experiences with fans in hopes of encouraging and inspiring others who were facing similar struggles. She remained positive and good-humored throughout the past few years, focusing her attention on family, friends and the beautiful gardens she continued to cultivate around her home in Blue Mounds.

Shelley’s work on The Wisconsin Gardener lives on in the hundreds of hours of television that she created, recipes she shared and informational resources she mined – much of which is available online as a lasting resource that is still used regularly by gardeners across the state.

How Rain Might Be Keeping Mosquitoes at Bay

It seems counter intuitive, but the recent torrential downpours that have landed on much of Wisconsin might actually be keeping those dastardly mosquitoes away. Have you noticed a decrease in the itchy bites that are usually synonymous with Wisconsin summers?

Longtime Wisconsin Gardener bug expert and UW-Extension entomologist Phil Peliterri talked to the Wisconsin State Journal about this year’s mosquito population. While the northern part of the state is seeing their usual nighttime swarms, it is actually the rain that has covered much of the rest of the state that might be keeping those bug bites at bay. Read why in today’s article by Rob Schultz.

Then, watch Peliterri talk about the ways changes in Wisconsin’s climate are affecting the kinds and amount of insects in various parts of the state in the University Place lecture below.

Watch The Bugs Have Gone Crazy – Ep. 762 on PBS. See more from University Place.

Join us at Garden Expo

Garden Expo 2013Wisconsin Public Television’s 19th annual Garden Expo is this weekend in Madison. This year, we’re opening the doors early, so there’s even more time to start planning for next seasons Gardens, Lawns and Landscapes.

Friday 3 – 9 p.m.  Get $2 off Friday admission
Saturday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Tickets start at $7 in advance and can be purchased at select retail outlets or for $8 at the door. All proceeds support Wisconsin Public Television programs and outreach efforts.

Enjoy highlights from the 2012 Garden Expo below. Find full details at wigardenexpo.com.

It's Garden Expo Weekend!

Sure, it’s cold outside. But this weekend it is time to start thinking about Spring! Come on out to the 19th annual Garden Expo at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. You will find the latest in lawns, gardens and landscapes, uncover new tips and tricks and get a step up on your gardening for the year. And, you’ll be supporting WPT programs along the way! Garden Expo runs 4-9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

Here’s a few highlights of this year’s event. Find full details at wigardenexpo.com (including a coupon to save $1 off of admission Friday or Sunday!) Watch a video of previous Garden Expo highlights at the bottom of this post. Hope to see you there!

Highlights from this year’s event include:
• The 1,200 square-foot Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association (WLCA) Central Garden.
• Hundreds of exhibitor booths selling seeds, plants, books, tools, lawn equipment and other exciting merchandise for gardens and yards of all sizes, along with nonprofit groups specializing in mulching, various plant species, rain gardens, rock gardens, conservation efforts and more.
• More than 100 free educational seminars and demonstrations on topics including lawns, gardens, landscape design and more.
• Hands-on workshops that allow gardeners to take home a finished garden decoration, craft or other project.
• A chance to meet Master Gardener Shelley Ryan, producer and host of WPT’s The Wisconsin Gardener.
• UW-Extension horticulture experts will be available to offer insight, plant identification, and tips to gardeners and amateur landscapers of all levels.
• An exciting Garden Expo raffle for prizes including landscape packages, equipment, decorations, tools and more.
The 2012 Garden Expo also features a number of exciting new events, including:
• The Wisconsin Gardener 20th Anniversary – Producer/Host Shelley Ryan celebrates 20 years of The Wisconsin Gardener. Ryan will host a commemorative panel session at 10 a.m. Saturday that will include Larry Meiller, host of Wisconsin Public Radio’s Garden Talk and several special guests who have been part of The Wisconsin Gardener during the first two decades.
• Wisconsin Foodie – Arthur Ircink and Kyle Cherek, producer and host of Wisconsin Foodie will greet visitors at the WPT booth from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, and will host two stage demonstrations at noon and 1 p.m. The Emmy-nominated television series is dedicated to discovering the stories behind the food we eat.
• Chickens! – Susan Troller, author of CLUCK: From Jungle Fowl to City Chicks, talks about the pleasures and pitfalls of gardening with chickens and introduces participants to a few of her favorite feathered friends at 1 p.m. Sunday. The discussion will be followed by a screening of the documentary Mad City Chickens and a discussion with the filmmakers.
• Garden to Table Dinner – WPT’s inaugural Garden to Table Dinner will be served on Saturday evening at Garden Expo. The fundraising event will feature a multi-course dinner made with local, farm-fresh ingredients. Arthur Ircink and Kyle Cherek, producer and host of Wisconsin Foodie will be on hand for an evening that will also include live music from the unique classical ensemble, Kat Trio. Tickets are $50 each and can be purchased at wigardenexpo.com.

A note from The Wisconsin Gardener

Watch an all-new episode of The Wisconsin Gardener, “Grow Local, Eat Local,” at 7 p.m. this Thursday, July 14 on Wisconsin Public Television. Watch full video online at the show’s website.

Today, we bring you a note about this week’s brand new episode from Producer and Host of The Wisconsin Gardener Shelley Ryan:

Hello friends-

I’ve probably said this before, but one of the reasons I became a gardener is because I love to eat. There’s nothing better than munching on peas right out of the garden or enjoying tomatoes dripping with juice straight off the vine.

So, in creating a program called “Grow Local, Eat Local,” let’s just say it was a tough job, but someone had to do it!

I met Peter Sandroni, chef and owner of La Merenda Restaurant in Milwaukee at a cooking class at Carr Valley Cheese in Sauk City. During the class I learned that he used 70 to 80 percent of local foods during the height of the growing season. That’s when I knew I just had to get him on The Wisconsin Gardener. Ok, I’ll admit it was also an excuse to taste his cooking again, too.

Peter sets a good example for all gardeners. If a busy Milwaukee restaurant can turn out incredible food every night using local produce, cheese and meats, then as gardeners and consumers, it’s our turn to step up to the plate — the dinner plate that is. As this week’s program illustrates, you can grow the food yourself at community gardens like Eagle Heights in Madison, or in burlap bags in a parking lot in Appleton! Or you can choose to shop or eat at places that serve local food.

Think of the gas that’s saved by food not shipped across country, think of how fresh that food is — oh and don’t forget — think of how good it will taste.

Happy gardening!