Lynden Blog

May 1, 2014 | Anonymous

Several of us at Lynden spend a lot of time on the website of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

January 5, 2014 | Willy

From the Wild Side is a new, regular feature on our blog. Author Bob Retko has been on the staff at Lynden since 1966.

Photo: Bob Retko

Back in 1928 when Mr. & Mrs. Bradley acquired the property that is now the Lynden Sculpture Garden the land was being farmed and pastured. What is now the Village of River Hills was rural and agricultural, with fields and woodlots that contained a more diverse population of native forbs, grasses and woodland plants than River Hills has today. While there are many factors that reduced the diversity of the Village’s flora, perhaps one of the biggest negative factors has been the impact of invasive plant species such as buckthorn, honeysuckle, garlic mustard and reed canary grass.

Prior to about 1990, while an effort was made to control some of the major invasive woody plants such as buckthorn and honeysuckle at Lynden, most of the control efforts failed to keep pace with invasive brush regeneration. In recent years, with the acquisition of a tractor mounted rough cut mower and more effective herbicides for controlling re-growth, the biomass of woody invasives has declined dramatically. In an effort to add more plant diversity to Lynden’s natural areas, the staff has planted both transplants and seeds of native forbs and grasses. If you have walked the trails during the peak of the bloom in mid-July you will see many prairie plant species that did not exist at Lynden just ten years ago. While great strides have been made to restore native plant diversity there are still many field areas dominated by cool season turf grasses or plants like sweet clover or wild carrot.

Photo: Bob Retko

Late fall or early winter is an excellent time to disperse native plant seeds collected earlier in the season. Our favorite time is after the first snow of the season. The snow allows you to see your coverage pattern and the seeds will rest over the winter, receiving a cold treatment that allows them to break dormancy in spring. The freeze and thaw action over the winter and spring will also allow for better seed to soil contact.

One method we utilize at Lynden involves sawdust, a box-type trailer, native plant seeds and a leaf blower. This method can be used by anyone wanting to add plants to their native plant area, filling voids in the landscape. It may not be as sure-fire as planting transplants or drilling seed into a prepared seedbed but it is easy, cost-effective and fun to do.

First, as native plant seeds ripen during the late summer and into the fall, collect seeds in the field. Not all seeds ripen at the same time, therefore one has to monitor the seed ripeness of the target species. Store the seeds and/or seedpods in brown paper bags in a cool, dry location, making sure the seeds are dry and do not mold over. Brown lunch bags work great and you can buy 50 for a $1. If you are collecting seeds on property you do not own, make sure that you have the permission of the landowner, or the state or federal property manager.

Photo: Bob Retko

Second, once you have completed harvesting all of your seed species and the seed material is dry, break open any pods, flower heads, etc. Do not worry about cleaning the seeds of petal, hulls, or other debris.

Third, locate a source of untreated sawdust, wood shavings, or fine wood chips. Avoid chips made from curbside brush, as there is a potential for invasive plant seeds being mixed in at the time the brush is chipped.

Fourth, place a layer of sawdust in your container, then a fine layer of seeds, followed by another layer of sawdust. Repeat until you have the desired volume in your container, trailer, etc.

Fifth, disperse the seed/sawdust mixture across the area you intend to seed. If you load your mixture into a trailer or other vehicle cargo box, one person can drive the vehicle slowly while another person blows the seed/sawdust mixture out of the cargo box with a leaf blower in a controlled manner. For smaller areas all one needs to do is broadcast the mixture by hand.

Early winter is a great time to add to the diversity of the landscape you manage. You might not see the results the first year or two, as most prairie plants take that time to establish their root systems. However, you will be surprised in the years ahead to find some native plants you had not seen on your property before. If someone should ask you about them, you can take the credit for your seed dispersal efforts.

Photo: Bob Retko

July 5, 2013 | Willy

Congratulations to the recipients in the 2012 Summer Cycle of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund Suitcase Export Fund. The fund provides support to greater Milwaukee artists who are exhibiting or screening work outside the immediate four-county area. This group of artists will be taking work to Hamburg, Germany; Suceava, Romania; Manhattan, New York; Peoria, Illinois; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Nashville, Tennessee; Baker, Nevada; Portland, Oregon; Sheboygan, Wisconsin; and Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The fund reopens in December.

Kevin Giese: Giese is participating in a two-person exhibition at the MacRostie Arts Center in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, as part of its 20th anniversary celebration.

T6013_Giese, Pine Forest

William Zuback: For a solo exhibition at the Frank Juarez Gallery in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where Zuback will be exhibiting part of his series of photographs taken in rear-view mirrors, Identity.

Jon Horvath: Horvath co-curated a group exhibition with Tara Bogart that features nine Milwaukee artists (Kevin Miyazaki, Sonja Thomsen, Jason Yi, Naomi Shersty, Nicholas Grider, Mark Brautigam, and Lindsay Lochman/Barbara Ciurej, as well as the co-curators) at the Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, Oregon.

T7713_Horvath (Wide Eyed2)

Brad Lichtenstein: Lichtenstein will be screening his film As Goes Janesville twice at Lipscomb University’s Human Docs, a social justice documentary film series, in Nashville, Tennessee. He will also participate in 2-3 panel discussions including one for the Christian Scholars conference.


Kristin Gjerdset: To transport a triptych of acrylic paintings on wood planels to Great Basin National Park in Baker, Nevada, where it will be put on public display and become a part of the museum's permanent collection. Gjerdset was a Darwin Lambert artist-in-residence at the park in the fall of 2012, and the triptych was inspired by the flora and fauna she saw there.

T8513_Gjerdset_Water Preliminary Study

Tim Stoelting: Stoelting will create a new installation from his series Architectonic to exhibit at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts’s Vault media gallery in Grand Rapids, Michigan in conjunction with Art Prize 2013.

T2113_Stoelting Architectonic installation2

Fred Stonehouse: Stonehouse will travel to Hamburg, Germany to participate in the group exhibition Don't Wake Daddy at Feinkunst Kruger. The annual exhibition includes artists from across Europe and the US.

T6513_Stonehouse_dream of the marsh

Ashley Morgan: For a solo exhibition at the Peoria Art Guild/Foster Art Center in Peoria, Illinois. Morgan is creating 3 site-specific installations.


Adam Krause: For a “performance art version of a reading" from his new book, The Revolution Will Be Hilarious, at Bluestockings, a bookstore, fair trade cafe, and activist center in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Krause reads through a series of tape delays, creating a “repetitive and minimalist sound work, with a strong visual element accompanying it” (in this case, a video projection of a large kinetic sculpture that he made and deployed at a Milwaukee performance).


Christopher McIntyre: McIntyre will travel to Suceava, Romania to participate in Border Cities & New Identities – International Art Festival of Architecture, Photography, Video Art, Computer Graphics, Painting and Performing Art at the The Water Plant Center of Architecture, Urban Culture and Landscape. The theme of the festival is “hybridization between identities and urban environment” and it is organized by International Art Expo, a not for profit located in Bari, Italy that “provides a significant forum for cultural dialogue between all artists from different cultures and countries."

T7413_McIntyre_Darkness Flees

Beki Borman: To ship her painting, Into Spring, to Morris, Minnesota for Horizontal Grandeur, a national prairie art juried group exhibition at the Stevens County Historical Society.

T6813_Borman_Chromascape154 Into Spring

July 1, 2013 | Willy
  • Suitcase Export Fund recipient Eddie Villanueva is opening three shows in the coming months. Domestic Dissonance: Sandra Erbacher and Eddie Villanueva is on view at Circuit12 Contemporary in Dallas, Texas through August 5. More info here. System Failure, a group exhibition curated by Sandra Erbacher, opens August 29 at The Contemporary London. More info here. Then, in September, the 2013 Wisconsin Triennial at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Villanueva will contribute a large installation to the front entrance. The exhibition will also feature work by other Suitcase recipients and Nohl Fellows including current Fellow Tyanna Buie and 2006 Fellow Santiago Cucullu. More information on the 2013 Wisconsin Triennial, here.
  • June 1, 2013 | Anonymous

    Fauns are dropping, the wood duck boxes are shaking, turtles are straying into the parking lot, and the poets are spread across the grounds, writing.

    June 1, 2013 | Anonymous

    Summer is when we get to stretch out a bit at the garden and do some things that don’t make sense in the colder months.

    May 31, 2013 | Willy

    - Faythe Levine's film Sign Painters (co-directed with Sam Macon) made its Milwaukee debut at the Oriental Theater on May 16th. For more information on the film, and for future screenings, visit

    - Current emerging Nohl fellow Lois Bielefeld has a show in June at the Center for Photography at Madison. Bielefeld will give an artist talk on June 6. For more information, visit

    - Below, find some photos from 2012 Suitcase Recipient Marsha McDonald's exhibition at Chandler Fine Art in San Francisco, as well as a link to a recording of her conversation with poet, photographer and "high Sierras mountain man" Tinker Greene.



    Click here for Marsha McDonald and Tinker Greene in conversation.

    May 27, 2013 | Willy

    Inverted Appearances

    Weaving Between Structures: Inverted Appearances from WC Tank on Vimeo.


    Weaving Between Structures is a first person serial poem of concussed cartography and explorative dispatch, abstracting a state of continuous arrival in the surreal landscape that is Lynden Sculpture Garden. These writings are responses to time spent investigating and imagining the garden as both a full character with distinctive personality traits and a broad world with its own rules and ecosystems living inside of it.

    Weaving Between Structures is a recurring feature on this blog by Lynden Sculpture Garden Blogger-in-Residence WC Tank. To learn more about his work, click here.

    May 10, 2013 | Willy

    Invisible Threads

    Stepping off and double taking
    notation of footprints, the cache of paths
    recalling bluntly the twigs that snapped
    when I racked my focus between
    the multiverstaircase adjacent to the hand fan

    IMG_6260multiverstaircase and handfan

    waving at me

    climbing stairs through threads between barriers
    exposing both boundaries and connections

    the branching tracks of some large mechanical animal
    foreign or domestic depends on perspective

    IMG_6239rule of thirds

    there is a magnetism between the motionless


    Weaving Between Structures is a first person serial poem of concussed cartography and explorative dispatch, abstracting a state of continuous arrival in the surreal landscape that is Lynden Sculpture Garden. These writings are responses to time spent investigating and imagining the garden as both a full character with distinctive personality traits and a broad world with its own rules and ecosystems living inside of it.

    Weaving Between Structures is a recurring feature on this blog by Lynden Sculpture Garden Blogger-in-Residence WC Tank. To learn more about his work, click here.

    May 1, 2013 | Anonymous

    Spring, at long last. I can see the magnolia blossoms opening on the two trees beyond my window, and I can smell them on the wind when I step outside.

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