Schierl Wellhouse and Wellhouse Garden - Jul 5, 2011
The Wellhouse not only houses the garden’s well but also provides shady relief in hot weather. Its moon windows frame three important garden features: The pastoral Larsen Orchard remnant to the left, the Kress Oval to the right and the Wellhouse garden straight ahead as you enter. The latter is a summer garden filled with colorful annuals and herb displays in patterns meant to be "read" from above.
by Betty Pearson, Green Bay Botanical Garden Volunteer
After chairing an exceptionally successful capital campaign in 1993, Paul Schierl was excited about Green Bay Botanical Garden going forward. Most of the pledges were securely in the bank. Paul and Carol Schierl wanted to further demonstrate their commitment to the Garden by making a personal gift of lasting value. Working with Dennis Buettner and Associates’ designs, the Schierls immediately liked the way the Wellhouse would be positioned in the Garden. They believed that this building not only added a strikingly beautiful piece to the Garden but provided the area with essential watering capabilities, electrical infrastructure, and storage for garden tools and small machinery. Paul remembers, “We liked it because it was functional…electric wires and water pumps could be hidden under its floor, a lower level provided a hidden storage shed, and guests could rest in the covered, cooled, brick area.” Visitors could also escape from rainstorms by pausing under the shelter. Many of the gardens could be enjoyed from the Wellhouse anytime no matter what Wisconsin’s weather would bring.
The Schierls were comfortable leaving the Wellhouse design to the professionals, as long as the practical, functionality of it remained. Construction began in 1998.
Buettner and his staff chose a circular design motif for the major sites and gardens in the upper portion of the Garden because, in the firm’s opinion, “Circular designs provide relief from a rectilinear world. They provide an inward focus…and are best for small gardens because the design creates intimacy.” As soon as visitors enter the Garden from either the Donor Gate or the Visitor Center, the logic of the circle not only makes aesthetic sense, but provides the framework for everything in the upper gardens. Circular windows are centered on three sides of the Wellhouse and open-arch doorways greet people in the front of this rectangular structure. The view from the southwest window showcases the alignment of the circular fountain with the tall, round Belvedere and then guides the viewer’s eye to the gardens surrounding these edifices. Through the east opening, visitors can readily see a remnant of the Larsen Apple Orchard. These remaining trees, all 100 years old, continue to bloom and produce apples. The Wellhouse, a two story facility because of the walk–out storage area under the upper viewing platform, also has a circular window that looks down on a circular garden perfectly centered beneath the building’s north side.
The Schierls are proud to not only have provided the funds to build the Wellhouse and the Wellhouse Garden, but are equally pleased to have endowed the building’s maintenance and the upkeep of its flowerbeds for future generations to enjoy.