Ecotherapy: “Creating a space that allows people to connect to nature.” This is one of the reasons Jay W. Christopher frequently opens his private Christopher Farm and Gardens to visitors. Christopher’s interests in horticulture, education, and sharing the beauty of God’s creation to inspire visitors, motivated him to develop the 60-acre botanical garden located in the Town of Mosel, just north of Sheboygan. The gardens lies within a total of 500 acres of land stretching a mile along Lake Michigan.
The Kohler Villager was invited to view the picturesque gardens (see photos below) in late June during a small tour led by Christopher Farm and Gardens program director Erika Lusthoff, as well as Pat Schutt and Kohler resident Mary Lee Hansmann of Town and Country Garden Club. The public will have a chance to explore the site at the annual Sheboygan Area Garden Walk coming up on July 10. The event will benefit Bookworm Gardens and Maywood Environmental Park.
The Farm and Gardens welcomes visitors with a spectacular display of perennial gardens, tranquil ponds, and three miles of walkways winding through an Asian garden, cutting gardens, shade gardens, peony garden, sculpture gardens, vegetable gardens, orchards, woods, and prairies. Stone walls, sculptures, arbors, bridges, and trestles add vertical accents throughout the expansive property, which is bordered by woodlands and panoramic views of Lake Michigan.
Education and history are also important to Mr. Christopher, and that is reflected in educational and historical gardens.
Prior to development of Christopher Farm & Gardens, the property was home to the Hinz Horse farm, where Mr. Herbert Hinz (1898-1987) raised prize-winning horses (including a world champion mare) on acres of lakeshore grazing land. In recognition of the property’s prior inhabitants, visitors to the gardens will find sculptures of horses and jockeys scattered about the grounds.
In remembrance of the Chicago and Northwestern railroad that once spanned from Chicago through Wisconsin, The Rail Yard Garden includes a small working train that runs on 126 feet of class 1 rail track. The train rolls through a garden of American Heritage Trees, which started as seeds from trees located at important historical locations throughout the United States. A number of the heritage trees at Christopher Gardens originated from Civil War historical locations, including one that was grown from the seed of a tree that stood near Abraham Lincoln as he delivered his Gettysburg Address. As a nod to more recent pop history, one of the trees was grown from the seed of a tree lining Elvis Presley’s Graceland Mansion.
The Children’s Educational Farm is a small-scale working farm complete with raised vegetable and flower beds, a chicken coop, apple orchard, barn classroom, rabbit and turtle pens, and a Great Lakes watershed mosaic.
Because there’s so much to see at the Farm and Gardens, it will be the only site featured at this year’s Garden Walk, which normally consists of about 7-8 selected gardens scattered throughout the county. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to tour this hidden gem in Sheboygan County! Register online at the link provided below and save $10 while securing your spot on July 10!
When: July 10, 2021
Where: W580 Garton Road, Sheboygan map
Hours: Choose a time slot to explore the gardens:
8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Cost: Online pre-order: $20 for adults, $10 for ages 13-17, and children 12 and under get in free. Pre-order tickets online here
Tickets purchased at the event: $30 for adults and $15 for ages 13-17. Cash only.
VIP Parking: $15. Choose option when ordering online tickets at above link.
Free parking and shuttle buses will be available at Kohler Power Systems, N7650 Lakeshore Road in Sheboygan.
Free accessible parking is available in the VIP lot with a valid disabled parking permit.
Strollers permitted on walkways. No pets.