“Bryan Zillgitt and the Six-Foot Lilies.” This may sound like the title of a new band, but instead it refers to the Zillgitt Gardens at 516 N. Division in Madison.
Bryan and Lana Zillgitt’s garden will be shown during this year’s Garden Walk on July 24th between 8am and 1pm to raise funds for two college scholarships. In preparation for the event, Master Gardener Bryan Zillgitt imported thousands of lilies from B&D Lilies of Oregon. However, the Zillgitts claim that this garden took many years to complete.
The Zillgitt spent a lifetime honing their craft that previously took shape in their home on Washington Street, just blocks away. Lana Zillgitt describes the previous garden as “a jungle with minimal walking space”.
“It was beautiful, but every time I got home Bryan made a new garden bed,” she giggled. When a tragedy struck and the Zillgitts had to move due to the flooding, this was an opportunity for a fresh start.
Bryan Zillgitt took the opportunity to transplant whatever could be saved into their new home and turn a rocky area into blooming flower beds. He even worked his way through a broken leg, sometimes sliding from plant to plant on his stomach. Zillgitt passes his passion for horticulture to his grandmother, who is also a master gardener.
The Zillgitts garden has hostas, peonies and, of course, lilies, some of which are larger than Zillgitt himself. Ironically, Zillgitt attributes the height and abundance of his new garden to the flood and claims it is his masterpiece.
“I think it couldn’t have gone better,” he said. The Zillgitts said that all of their flowers bloom despite the dry, difficult growing season. The garden has a wide variety of colors, from deep purple to bright orange. The largest lilies are a baby pink that is beset by golden pistils. Asians fill the room with fragrant aromas.
“We never heard birds when we moved in, and now we hear them all the time. They love the flowers too,” Lana said.
Antique decor was chosen for their garden, from an old rusty Radio Flyer cart mounted high in a tree to a bird bath set in a small rock garden made up of the river rock that previously lined the property. Over the course of almost two years, the Zillgitts have changed, imported and transplanted the area.
They look forward to sharing their hard work and hope the community will enjoy it too.
PEO Chapter BN Garden Walk tickets can be purchased in advance from Madison Nursery and Grapevines. Tickets can also be purchased in all participating gardens on the day of the Garden Walk. Every ticket purchased includes the opportunity to win a door prize.
In addition, Brittany Waldman of The Floral Shop in Madison will be giving a demonstration during the all day Garden Walk at The Lakes Memorial Garden.
Other gardens this year include those of Diane and Bill Bruns, 1029 NE 8th St. in Madison; Jean Halpin, 6793 Carpenter Dr., Wentworth; and The Lake Memorial Garden at the Lake Golf Course.