Olbrich Botanical Gardens – Blooming Butterflies

Mid-July to Mid-August



Olbrich Botanical Garden Butterfly sign


Blooming Butterflies cost

Olbrich Botanical Gardens  has many great events throughout the year. In December I went to their Holiday Express. In mid-summer the conservatory is full of butterflies! They get shipments of butterflies still in their Chrysalis, and they emerge inside Bolz Conservatory.  They are emerging inside this case, then are released when ready.

Butterfly hatching at Olbrich

Hatching butterflies at Olbrich

Here are a couple that just hatched and are drying their wings. Those are Gulf Fritillary. Here are six others I saw, the one on the purple cone flower was outside.

Butterfly Collage at Olbrich

Butterfly Collage 2 at Olbrich

 There were others, but many were not yet out of their crysalis yet. To attract more butterflies to your yard, here is an idea they shared with us.

Attracting Butterflies

The outdoor gardens were just as beautiful in full summer bloom.

Olbrich Outdoor Collage

  What a great time to visit the gardens!

McFarland John Larson House Museum


Larson House in Window

A long time was spent restoring the Larson House in McFarland, and last fall there was a sneak preview of progress made up to that point. The grand opening was May 24-25th of this year.

John Larson was the 3rd owner of this house. He bought it in 1911 and has been in the family over 100 years. Now it is open and ready for tours from 1-4 PM between Memorial and Labor Day. Tours are free but donations encouraged, a few books about the house and McFarland history are also for sale.

We begin our tour as we go inside, we see the beautiful stained glass window you see here at the stairway landing.

Larson House Stairway

On the main floor is also the living room (picture by Larson House staff) and the kitchen.

Larson House Living Room

Larson House Kitchen


Pantry in the kitchen

Larson House Pantry

Also the Parlor and Dining Room.  The wallpaper is original to the home!

Larson House Dining Room


Larson House Parlor

On the left side of the room is John Larson’s Psalmodikon instrument from Norway, his homeland. Here is what is sounds like. It is a one-string instrument that can be either plucked or played with a violin bow.

Now we head upstairs to see the other rooms.

Larson House hallway

The largest is what may have been the master bedroom, and it is octagon-shaped, a popular feature at the time. Hanging up is a Norwegian dress. The three windows are facing the street.

Larson House Master Bedroom


Larson House Master Bedroom windows


Another bedroom. The bureau and mirror are original to the house.

Larson House bedroom

The office

Larson House office


Our tour here has reached it’s conclusion. We really enjoyed our visit here and we hope to come for any special events here in the future.

McFarland – Come Grow With Us


Photo by CityData

Photo by CityData

McFarland is a village of 7800 just 8 miles south of Madison along the shore of Lake Waubesa.  It was founded by  William McFarland in 1856. We have been here many times, but never really explored this town in depth.

 Before reaching downtown, exit 51 at Sigglekow Rd. for a great meal at the Green Lantern, a popular restaurant on Lake Waubesa for decades. You can even get there by water and dock on their long pier!

Green Lantern

IGreen Lantern Pier in McFarland

One thing we noticed is this town has an “old” and “new” downtown.  The new is along highway 51, streight down from Madison.


McFarland new downtown


To my left  is the Maple Tree Supper Club, open for breakfast on Sundays also.

Maple Tree Supper Club in McFarland Across from here is the popular Babcock Park and campground. A historical marker is also in this park, for Stephen Babcock.

Babcock Park in McFarland

 Stephen Babcock marker

Highway 51 is also a Blue Star Memorial Highway, dedicated to all vets.

Blue Star Memorial Highway in McFarland


 The old downtown is on Main Street, by the railroad track.  Here we find the historic buildings and a brief history of McFarland.

McFarland old downtown

McFarland Marker history

Left of the sign was the McFarland House, now the McFarland House Cafè (closed on Sundays). It was the home of  founder William T. McFarland.

McFarland House Cafe

We were going to have lunch here. Since they were closed, we went next door to the McFarland Tavern. This historic building was built in 1895 and began as a convenience store and has even been a post office before becoming a tavern.  Friendly folks and great food made us feel welcome here. You feel like you are a part of historic McFarland here.


McFarland Tavern

McFarland Tavern lunch


Another historic building across the street, the Ole S. Olson building from 1897. It was a convenience store and then a grocer later. Now it is McFarland Antiques.

O.S. Olson Building 1897 in McFarland

Across the street is the Ed Reed Building from 1900. It had been a grocery store, meat market, and  has been Spartan Pizza since 1974!

Ed Reed Building 1900 McFarland

Now the most exciting reason for our visit, the historic John Larson House Museum, open for the first time after restoration this summer! They are open 1-4 on Sundays from Memorial day weekend through Labor Day weekend. This is a stained glass window inside the house at the stairway landing. We took a tour here and it was fascinating! We hope to come back for any special events they will have later in the year.

Larson House in Window

Across from the house is Arnold Larson Park, where many events are held in the summer.

Arnold Larson Park in McFarland


 We sure learned a lot in McFarland, but we are not through yet. We plan on returning August 10 to see their other museum, also open on Sundays. We only had time to see one today.