In 1999, Sandy Livermore became smitten by the number of smiles she saw at the Michigan State 4H Children’s Garden in East Lansing, Mich. Later in the day, she saw teenagers reading books to children in the gorgeous gardens, and an idea bloomed in her mind.
This idea – after a year of pondering, plotting, planning and planting – became a reality in 2010 when Bookworm Gardens opened in Sheboygan.
The gardens are divided into six areas – called "Gateways" – and are organized by theme from animals to memories. Each gateway features a stone pillar that houses laminated copies of the books that are represented in the area.
The gardens visually represent more than 65 kids’ books – from "Harold and The Purple Crayon" to "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs" – through plantings, whimsical art pieces and structures.
This year marks the fifth anniversary of Bookworm Gardens; hence, the massive "cake" in front of the gift shop. It’s not edible.
Entrance to Bookworm Gardens is free, although a $5 donation per person is recommended. The gardens are open from May 1 to Oct. 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. From June 15 through Aug. 31 the gardens are open until 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.
"Almost every day I hear from someone, ‘I can’t believe this is here!’ and ‘I can’t believe how beautiful it is here," says executive director, Elizabeth Wieland.
Here are 15 enchanting shots from Bookworm Gardens. When you go, make an afternoon of it and pack snacks or a lunch. The gardens are extremely picnic-friendly.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.