I remembered the first time I saw his garden. I stood in the road, which wound past his house from the wooded parkway and the residential neighborhood bordering a busy Milwaukee street.
You would have to know that he bred a rose special for Wisconsin gardeners, which gave blossom to a series that became popular across the United States.
You would have to know he had worked for a beloved rose garden, Boerner Botanical Gardens, for many years.
You would only have to stand in front of his home to realize there was a special kind of plant-guy who lived within this middle class neighborhood.
William Radler’s Gardens
After all that, you would understand why I took time during a visit back to my native Wisconsin to stand in front of William Radler’s home for the first time in many years. It was time for me to gain inspiration to stay gardening.
The white tags still waved in the wind, hanging on to the plant stakes. Tall fencing encircled the garden, presumably protecting the plants from foraging deer calling the suburban area home. I remembered his garden as a testing site for the many roses he grew; a place where serious plant work took place.
Blooming Flowers in Wisconsin’s Late May
Now, in the second half of May late spring flowers bloomed, I see many changes. I hear he likes to be called “Will.”
Radler’s garden is no longer made up of the simple planting beds I remembered.
The hardscapes have been tiered and walk paths laid, simple wire embellished with wrought iron, and gardens expanded out front. A fountain in the back splashes with sound and arbors cast towering shadows.
Wisconsin’s quintessential rosarian could be Will Radler’s nom de plume, but he maintains a collection of tropical plants and has many perennial plants around his property, as well.
He loves plants and truly surrounds himself with it all.
Within all these gardens, you are sure to find like me, reasons to stay gardening.