Shrub Mall

Shrub Mall at Boerner Botanical Gardens   "I hold that the best purpose of a garden is to give delight and to give refreshment of mind, to soothe, to refine, and to lift up the heart in spirit of praise and thankfulness...."

excerpt from Wood and Garden, by Gertrude Jeckyll (1843-1933), a well known designer of English herbaceous flower borders

The Shrub Mall is a garden "room" reminiscent of a formal garden on an English Country estate. In the center of the room is a long grassy mall, surrounded by borders containing an extensive planting of shrubs. Interspersed with the shrubbery are annuals and perennials. The mall seems longer than it is because of an optical illusion – it is 16 feet narrower at its south end, making it appear much longer from the north end.

No springtime visitor to the Botanical Gardens should miss the gardens' tree peonies, most of which are located in the shrub mall. The term "tree" is perhaps misleading. Although the plants may grow four feet tall, they are more a shrub than a tree, with rough-barked woody stems remaining from year to year. Tree peonies are usually propagated by taking an herbaceous peony root and grafting to it a tree peony scion containing the next season's blooming bud.

There is also a set of matching Amur chokecherry trees in this garden. These trees are located on either side of the southern terrace. The trees' clusters of wispy white blooms, while interesting, are outshone by the noteworthy cinnamon colored bark. Take time to appreciate the magnificent set of views from the mall's south terrace. Stand in the center of the terrace and look down upon the natural beauty of the rock garden. Look beyond and see the sweeping view of the distant meadow and lagoons.Trees are kept trimmed to frame the open, English-style vista.

The Shrub Mall also houses the Gardens' intermediate bearded iris collection. These irises flower in mid-May when few other perennials are in bloom, and add color to this garden room.

Leave the Shrub Mall and head north to the Garden House, taking the path that runs between the Perennial Mall and the Annual Garden. Here, in the shade of the remaining elm tree, you will find the unusual fern leaf peony. This plant bears a fern-like leaf unlike any other peony. The fern leaf peony was brought to the United States in the 19th century by settlers who carried it across the country and called it the "piney." Go to the next Garden


Boerner Botanical Gardens
9400 Boerner Drive, Hales Corners, WI 53130
(414) 525-5600