The first rush of visitors is over making it the perfect time to visit Olbrich's Holiday Express. The annual winter extravaganza features model trains, evergreens and a gorgeous array of poinsettias. This year's visual treats include unusual birdhouses like the glass one pictured below and stained glass panels featuring images of birds. You can find more information about the Holiday Express as well as December concerts on Olbrich's web site. You can also get one free ticket to the show by taking an online scavenger hunt; deadline is Tuesday, Dec. 13.
The pale pink and white poinsettias (above) are a beautiful change from the traditional bright colors. I was quite taken with them when I was at Olbrich earlier this week. I noticed Olbrich's Growing Gifts shop was selling them along with Amaryllis and many wonderful gifts for gardeners and others on your list. Olbrich is also offering holiday cards with images of the gardens taken by Olbrich staff members or local photographers. You might also consider a gift certificate to the shop or a membership to the Olbrich Botanical Society (the friends organization). I just used an Olbrich gift certificate to buy myself a copy of the 2012 Madison Area Master Gardeners Journal/Calendar — a great gift with a local slant.
Holiday Express is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except for Dec. 24 when it closes at 2 p.m. and it's closed all day on Christmas. Admission for the general public is $3 (ages 13 and up) and $2 for children ages 3-12.