FLOWER POWER in Marathon County!

Written by Brad Karger & Lynda Lambert


Admittedly, the Marathon County Courthouse does not add much to downtown Wausau from an architectural perspective.


Constructed in 1954 (with a Jail addition in 1986), the cement behemoth has all the charm of an Eastern European apartment building.

But every spring, Linda Lambert and the horticultural team of the Wausau and Marathon County Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department carefully arrange and display flowers, plants, and ornamental grasses to delight our eyes with pops of color and treat us to a vibrant and refreshing atmosphere in downtown Wausau — not only at the Courthouse entrances, but also at City Hall and throughout the River District.


The county’s flower program is one of the many services brought to you by the Wausau and Marathon County Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department. Every year, the department fields numerous calls from the local public and surrounding communities on how Marathon County’s flower program works and how we keep the flowers in our planters and hanging baskets so healthy.


We start early to get the gorgeous plants ready for you to enjoy — beginning on Memorial Day and lasting through the first frost. Our greenhouse opens its doors on March 1 of each year, even as the sleet and snow are still keeping us shivering.

The majority of the plants you see lining the streets of downtown Wausau (and throughout its many parks) are started by seeds — thousands of seeds. For 3 months, these plants continue to grow, to be transplanted, and to be cared for with T.L.C. (and a little fertilizer!), until outdoor planting time begins.


With thousands of plants growing inside the greenhouse, it becomes much too small to house the beautiful hanging baskets that line the streets. Therefore, we contract out the baskets and then simply maintain them during their growing season.

To bring additional color, height, and visual interest to our gardens throughout the county, we began fabricating pots out of PVC remnants (reduce, reuse, recycle!) during the off-season.

Choosing the correct plant for the site and providing proper maintenance are the true keys to success for growing bountiful baskets and annuals.

Before and after shots of the same space at Wausau City Hall.

We take pride in our flower program and we hope that in your mad rush to conduct government business — or to “shop till you drop” downtown — you’ll take a little extra time this summer to enjoy the beautiful flowers and plants all around you with a new appreciation of the expertise and care provided by county employees to enhance your experience while living, working, dining, or shopping here in our County Seat.

We welcome questions and feedback about our county flower program. Comments and inquiries can be directed to 715-261-1577.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Brad Karger - Marathon County AdministratorBrad Karger

Marathon County Administrator

In his Administrator role, Brad Karger leads an organization with 700+ employees and an annual budget of more than $170 million. Brad has been in leadership positions with Marathon County for the past 29 years. He is known statewide for generating innovative ideas and solutions to problems, openness and transparency, and a commitment to community service that extends well beyond the normal workday.  Email Brad Karger.


Lynda Lambert

Horticulturist for the City of Wausau & Marathon County Parks, Recreation, & Forestry Department

Lynda received her bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1989 and has been a horticulturist in Marathon County for 25+ years. She is a licensed and certified pesticide applicator and holds a Class A CDL license. When it’s not planting season, Lynda plows snow for her department. She enjoys biking, golfing, and many other activities with her good friends.  Email Lynda Lambert.

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