The Olbrich Botanical Gardens are amazing! Sixteen acres of horticultural wonders including lots of garden “rooms” to explore filled my eyes and brain with loads of ideas, filled my camera with over 100 photos, and made my “plants to find” list spill onto its fifth page! I’ll post three photo galleries here so scroll on down to see the Thai pavilion and more. Admission to the outdoor gardens is free!
Olbrich is home to the only Thai pavilion in the United States. It’s also the only Thai pavilion outside of Thailand surrounded by a garden which is odd since the garden is such a natural fit! From their website:
The pavilion was a gift to the University of Wisconsin-Madison from the Thai Government and the Thai Chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association. UW-Madison has one of the largest Thai student populations of any U.S. college or university.
Olbrich was chosen as the site for the pavilion because of its garden setting and its proximity to water. Water is important to Thailand because of its implications for good health and prosperity.
The pavilion was built in Thailand, then disassembled and packed in shipping crates. The pavilion traveled seven weeks by sea, then by rail to Chicago, and to Madison by truck. Nine Thai artisans traveled to Madison to reassemble the pavilion after building it in Thailand. It took three weeks to reconstruct.
Amazingly, the pavilion is able to withstand the winter weather of Wisconsin with no protection because it is constructed of plantation-grown teak and weather-resistant ceramic roof tiles. The gold leaf, however, is delicate and not able to withstand the oils of the human hand.
This last area was one of my favorites in the entire garden!