Wisconsin Public Television Remembers Shelley Ryan

Wisconsin Public Television is saddened by the death of Shelley Ryan, longtime host and producer of The Wisconsin Gardener.

During her 21 years hosting the beloved gardening how-to show, Ryan inspired thousands of gardeners across the state to express their creativity in their own homes, gardens, lawns and landscapes. Ryan passed away Thursday after a long battle with cancer. She is survived by her husband, Dennis Ryan, and their son, Kably.

With her always-friendly demeanor, good humor and inquisitive nature, Shelley became a television mentor for so many people over the course of two decades on The Wisconsin Gardener – encouraging them to get their hands dirty and explore innovative new ideas in their gardens. She created the show after becoming a Master Gardener through the University of Wisconsin-Extension and realizing that Wisconsin’s gardeners could benefit from a program focused on the attributes of horticulture that are specific to our state.

“Through her work on television and in the community, Shelley Ryan became a friend to everyone with a green thumb and those of us who hoped we could develop one,” WPT Director of Television James Steinbach said. “With The Wisconsin Gardener, Shelley created and cultivated a program that taught us all something new in every segment and motivated gardeners new and old to become better stewards of all of our natural spaces. I learned so much by working closely with Shelley for the past two decades. All of us at Wisconsin Public Television, and all of her viewers, will miss her enthusiasm, passion, vast knowledge and – more than anything – friendship.”

As Shelley traveled the state to explore Wisconsin’s most beautiful places, she made lasting connections with professional and amateur horticulturists, gardeners, landscapers and outdoor educators that she shared as important resources with her audiences.

Early in the television show’s run, providing in-person access to those resources would inspire the creation of Wisconsin Public Television’s Garden Expo – an event that now draws nearly 20,000 gardeners to Madison each February to uncover the latest in gardening techniques, tips and information.

Shelley retired from her role as host of The Wisconsin Gardener in 2013 after completing work on the show’s 21st season. At the time she shared news with her fans that her cancer had returned.

“It is not a decision I make happily or lightly,” Shelley said at the time. “Last year I learned that my breast cancer had returned and spread to my bones. My treatment this last summer and fall have really taken a toll on me, and I need to focus on my health.”

Throughout her battle with cancer, Shelley shared her experiences with fans in hopes of encouraging and inspiring others who were facing similar struggles. She remained positive and good-humored throughout the past few years, focusing her attention on family, friends and the beautiful gardens she continued to cultivate around her home in Blue Mounds.

Shelley’s work on The Wisconsin Gardener lives on in the hundreds of hours of television that she created, recipes she shared and informational resources she mined – much of which is available online as a lasting resource that is still used regularly by gardeners across the state.

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110 Responses to Wisconsin Public Television Remembers Shelley Ryan

  1. I am truly saddened by the loss of this great lady. Such wise woman! Such a fine and generous spirit! Such a passionate and fun loving garden mavin! Such a treasure. Even though we didn’t know each other personally, I am forever grateful for her presence in my life. My heart is with her family and the many others who came to love Shelley.

    • My heartfelt sympathy goes out to her family, friends and viewers that loved her. She made that show so wonderful. Shelley will be missed. I so hope one day there will be a Cure for Cancer. Quality of life after Cancer, without recurrence. It takes too many too soon. She won’t be forgotten. Even with Chemo Brain.

  2. I am so sad to hear tonight of Shelly’s pasing. She was such an inspiration to me and to my gardening endeavors. After this cold snowy winter I know that spring will come, the birds will sing, and my garden will thrive because Shelly gave me to knowledge over these many years to make it happen. My prayers go out to her family. I am so sorry for our loss. She will be missed.

  3. Lynette Heath says:

    Shelley was such an inspiration to everyone from master gardeners to those that wanted to learn how to garden. She will be missed.

  4. Carol Banks says:

    I’m so sorry to learn of the passing of Shelley Ryan. I love the outdoors, especially when I can go outside and start buying flowers. And, I loved watching The Wisconsin Gardener over the years where I learned so much. I was saddened to learn that Shelley had to quit last year because of the cancer coming back, and, of course, I’m especially saddened to learn of her death. My condolences to her family and all her friends there at Wisconsin Public Television.

  5. Joyce Pohl says:

    I am very saddened by Shelley’s death. She brought a lot of fabulous information to the gardeners in Wisconsin in a friendly, gracious manner. I have missed her presence on WPT the past year and know she will be missed at the garden expo this year. It won’t be the same without her.

  6. Barbara cook says:

    Our condolences to the family, friends and gardeners. We were saddened to learn of Shellie’s death. Though the years we have truly enjoyed her and her show, Wisconsin Gardener, she truly inspired me to be a better gardener. I have missed the show and will keep her family and friends in our thoughts and prayers.

  7. I was very sorry to hear of Shelley’s passing. I will miss her great show.

  8. Lee Meyer says:

    I just learned of Shelly’s passing and am saddened. My condolence to her family. She was an inspiration and motivation to me as a gardner.

  9. Carol says:

    I am so sad to hear this news. I will always remember Shelly at the Garden Expo the year I appeared with my scarfed head. She was so inspirational and uplifting to me that moment I spent with her. My she rest in peace tending the beautiful gardens that now surround her. My sympathy to her family.

  10. I just saw a notice of Shelly’s passing on WPB and I was shocked and sadden by the news. I am a breast cancer survivor of 11 years and I had just not too many months ago happen to be sitting across from Shelly at our Oncologists waiting room. I started a conversation with her letting her know how much I enjoyed and had learned from her shows and it was at that point I learned that she was battling with cancer again but I had no idea then that she was so ill with it. (she did not speak of it) She was so upbeat and happy when we spoke, we ended our conversation with a big hug. What an honor to have met that wonderfully sweet, personable, talented person! When I walked away that day, I kept thinking I would love to have her as a neighbor and friend…so easy to talk with and genuine. I send my heartfelt condolences to her family and coworkers. She will be kept in our memories and hearts for many many years.

  11. Linda lambert says:

    A great lady who will be missed. She will be remembered as a true treasure in all of our gardens and a mother of nature. God speed Shelly.

  12. Good-bye dear Shelley. Thank you for so many wonderful years of The Wisconsin Gardener. As I start the season’s gardening, I’ll be remembering you with every seed I plant, every plant that comes to life, and every beautiful bud that bursts into bloom.

    The good work you did will live on.

  13. Tara Tinder says:

    Shelly will be missed by so many…her spirit, smile, humor, and grace will stay with me as I stroll the gardens in my life. Thank you Shelly.

  14. Anne says:

    I was shocked to see the notice on PBS tonight about the death of Shelly Ryan. I’m among those who were inspired by her programs as well as her down-to-earth, inquisitive nature. Her love for the outdoors was contagious.

  15. A talented, lovable woman that so many knew and admired has left an indelible mark on this world. She left this earth, leaving us with a love of nature, the environment and gardening. She was an inspiration and touched my life although I never knew her personally. She is irreplaceable. RIP Shelly.

  16. Jinny Black says:

    As a longtime good friend of Shelley’s sister, I shall find something special to plant in my California garden, in Shelley’s honor. Something pink. My Mom taught me many years ago that there is nothing much better for the soul, than digging in God’s dirt. A real connection, when the heart and spirit need a lift. My love and thoughts and prayers to the whole family.

  17. Anne Connor says:

    Sincerest condolences to the family of Shelley Ryan, including those at WPT, The Garden Expo and beyond. She inspired so many of us to pick up that first trowel and lose ourselves in gardening. She created something beautiful, and that is a tremendous gift indeed. RIP.

  18. Colleen Lace says:

    We will miss Shelley’s friendship, grace, and positive attitude throughout this difficult experience. She was “1 in a million”. Our thoughts and sympathy to her beloved family.

  19. Ron Derge says:

    Shelley and I were friends. For a time I lived down the road from her in Blue Mounds. I’m proud to have built her kitchen. She was warm and kind. Her enthusiasm was boundless and infectious. It was impossible to be sad when you were with her. I live in Arkansas now and spring comes early here. It’s almost time to start the pepper seeds. I will think of her as I sow them.

    • Liz Feagles says:

      Ron: I thought of you when I heard of Shelly’s passing because you introduced us at your home in blue mounds many years ago. She was such an intelligent, gregarious and sharing person. I did not get to be well acquainted with her, but she was always friendly and kind when we did have chance meetings. You kept good company!

  20. Jane Jacobs says:

    I worked at WPT with Shelley during the first seasons of the show. We experienced having our children at the same time — many laughs and mutual support. I still use my Wisconsin Garderner tote bags every week! My thoughts and prayers are with Dennis, Kably, and the whole WPT family.

  21. Linda says:

    The world is a much more colorful place because of Shelley….She will be missed by all.

  22. Shelly will remain a gardening inspiration to all of us who admire the beautiful works of nature. Each time I dye a silk scarf, I think of the pleasure I had attending her class in Mineral Point. What a kind, patient woman! We laughed about using soil as a dye…(Shelly…it worked really well!! Thanks for the suggestion!!!! I know you are basking in the perfect garden of Heaven)

  23. Caren says:

    I just learned of Shelley’s passing last night on WPT – I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t heard of her cancer recurring. She was a friend I never met, I felt like I knew her – I loved her on the Wisconsin Gardener. She will be missed by so many. Condolences to her husband, son, and entire family. Condolences to all of us.

  24. CAKS says:

    What a loss for Wisconsin! Not many rise to the level of affection and admiration that Ms. Ryan did by allowing all who entered her world, even though through a TV screen, to connect with her and her guests. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and her PBS family. Her legacy creates a high bar of excellence to achieve for the future and leaves behind her special way of making the world a better place for all who were touched by her life. Thank you Ms. Ryan – We are grateful.

  25. Gloria Kelly says:

    In 2010 I took a class from Shelley at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point, WI. Shelley taught me to dye silk scarves using plant materials for the dye. When I wear the scarf I made I think back to the wonderful day with Shelley. I will miss her.

  26. Shelly inspired me to become a Master Gardener, when I watched her on her wonderful programs on WPNE- Green Bay. I had also worked for Jan Wos, owner of Mayflower Greenhouse in Oneida, and had the pleasure of meeting Shelly at the sad occasion of his passing. She was so positive about her remission then, and even told me that some day she would see Jan again. I know Jan encouraged her through the treatments to battle the cancer and she had such a great friendship with everyone she touched, including me. My condolences to her husband and son and the rest of her family and friends…We will miss that smiling face and glowing red hair. My prayers are with all

  27. Lisa says:

    Shelley became a wonderful friend of mine, so quickly and naturally… We had so much fun, and so very many laughs, right up to the end… I am relieved for her that she no longer struggles with the earthly pain and sickness, and can bask in the sunshine of some heavenly garden, feet up, resting, glass of wine in hand, with loved ones who went before… You will be missed terribly shel, by the people who remain, thank you for the lasting gifts you gave us all thru your friendship and your show… You touched the lives of so many, RIP amigo…. Xoxoxo

  28. What a wonderful legacy Shelly has left for us. I will take great pleasure in watching many of the Wisconsin Gardener episodes online. She taught me a great deal. I remember especially one episode where she was standing in the middle of a patch of buckthorn and realizing that I was surrounded by it in my own yard. Shelly had a way of teaching all of us, from the novice to the pro. Thank you Shelly. You will be missed

  29. I remember her good cheer, which is one of the reasons I watch Wisconsin Public Television. I was planning on going to the Garden Expo this year, just to say hello. I can’t have a garden where I live, but am always willing to be inspired. Great examples make our lives better.

  30. Betty Smith says:

    I was so saddened to learn of Shelley’s passing last evening at the conclusion of “Around the Corner” show.
    We gardeners have lost a wonderful and knowledgable friend. I enjoyed “Wisconsin Gardener” and Shelley’s enthusiastic hosting. She leaves behind a beautiful legacy.
    Blessings and loving thoughts to her family.
    Betty

  31. Leslie says:

    my deepest sympathy to Shelley’s family. Unfortunately, we all know someone or have lost someone who has suffered with this horrible disease; we must continue to fight for a cure. After reading all of these beautiful eulogies, you understand how truly inspirational Shelley was to people who never even meet her. She has shown us the beauty of our wonderful state and I for one am truly grateful. Shelley and the Wisconsin Gardener are the true meaning of public television! Thank you Shelley – you will be deeply missed.

  32. Lyn Lorenz says:

    We are so saddened to hear of Shelley’s passing. She was one of the most genuine and generous individuals, unselfishly helping us at times to establish our Lodi farmers’ market. Her visits were always fun and informative, and she will be dearly missed. Her legacy as ‘Wisconsin’s Gardener’ will live on.

  33. Bob Lace says:

    My friend, good bye.

  34. Edith says:

    Shelly , we will miss you – you were such a breathe of fresh air. Our condolences go to all your family. You were like a personal friend, that I would have enjoyed having you visit to see my garden and have a cup of tea. The gardens will miss you and all the rest of us, Thank you for all your inspiration.
    Edith

  35. Shelly, my husband and I always looked forward to your shows. Thank you for sharing the various Wisconsin gardens with us. You will be truly missed. Our sympathies to your family.

  36. Sheila Frey says:

    Condolences to Shellie’s family and close friends from those of us who came to know Shellie through the television shows and garden shows. Let’s honor her by continuing to grow things and sharing her inspiration.

  37. Delores says:

    I am so sorry and my Deepest condolences to her Husband and
    Son and to all the Wptv and Radio folks. Her earthly suffering is over and she will be busy tending the most Beautiful Garden and teaching Gods children in Heaven. Rest in Peace.

  38. mark says:

    I loved watching Shelley on TV. She was loved by a great many people. Like many other viewers, I feel like I have lost a good, sweet friend. She was simply a pleasure to be around and an example of graciousness for us all. Thank you, Shelley, for all those great years! You remain in our hearts.

  39. Mary G says:

    Shelley combined so many talents in The Wisconsin Gardener. It was obviously a labor of love for her. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to her family, her friends, and her faithful watchers on WPT.

  40. Susan says:

    Shelly will be greatly missed. She was a great inspiration to gardeners and cancer survivors by being so genuine and positive. The Wisconsin Gardener is one of my all time favorite public television shows. My condolences to her family and a thank you to Shelly for letting so many people have the opportunity to ‘know’ her.

  41. D says:

    Taken from earth too soon. You left so very much behind. An inspiration to many.
    You made a legacy that is irreplaceable. GODSPEED dear Shelley.

  42. Kathryn says:

    May her memory be a blessing,as was her work.

  43. Cindy says:

    My heart goes out to her family, she will be missed.

  44. Patricia says:

    Back in the 70s, Shelly and I met at Bob and Gene’s, a bar for serious drinkers and Euchre players. We played together on the same woman’s fastball team (first sponsored by Bob and Gene’s and later by Genna’s). Over the years, we didn’t stop being friends, but drifted into different lives. I can’t say what Shelly was like in recent years, but she was a real character back then. She always saw the funny side of things. She had great spirit and immense talent not only as a television personality, but as an artist in her own right (photography for example). Good bye Shelly, my friend and team mate, it was great to know you when you were young and full of spit and vinegar. I am sorry you are gone. My prayers and love to your family.

  45. As someone who lost my mother to this terrible disease when she was only sixty years old, thanks for your courage. As a Columbia County Master Gardener Volunteer, thanks for your wisdom and inspiration. I know you will be greatly missed. To all who knew and loved her my heartfelt condolences.

  46. Lisa says:

    I am so sad. Shelly was a class act. She was full of grace. God bless you, Shelly Ryan!! You have taught us much!!!

  47. I will miss watching Shelly during my time spent at my Wisconsin hide out on the Fox River. I looked for her last summer, not knowing what she was going through. My love goes out to the family-we still stay somewhat connected. I’m sure the ones who have left us before, are giving her the tour.

  48. Wendy Harris says:

    Rest in peace Shelly, you will be missed!

  49. May her creative and beautiful spirit find rest. So many have loved her, as did we.

  50. Shelly we love you and will miss you.

  51. The Garden Expo will never be the same and her friendship will be greatly missed. Rest in peace Shelly.

  52. Our sympathies go out to Shellys family on her loss. May her family have comfort in knowing she brought knowledge and delight to those who watched her show. I had the pleasure to meet her at the Gardening Expo, what a lovely, and short, women. Such a delight to talk to. She will surely be missed by all.

  53. Karen Law says:

    I heard of Shelly’s passing on WPR Thursday evening on my way home. I’ve watched The Wisconsin Gardener for years and really enjoyed it. Garden Expo is the highlight of my winter. It has become a mother daughter event that we really look forward to. I will really miss seeing Shelly on TV and at Garden Expo, and listening to her when she would be a guest on Garden Talk. I loved listening to Shelly, it was like visiting with your best friend. She was always so cheerful, friendly, and ready to laugh. We were blessed to have her in the WPT family. My heart and prayers go out to your family and friends.

  54. Rob says:

    Always enjoyed her show. Very sad to hear she is gone. Her work on PBS is what has driven me over the years to put more effort into gardening and to plant new things. She will be missed.

  55. I just saw the notice of Shelley’s death on our PBS station and I am shocked and saddened to see this. My sympathies go out to her family and friends. I have watched Wisconsin Gardener for so many years and will miss Shelley. Learned a lot from her. Loved following her around the beautiful State of Wisconsin. Rest in Peace Dear Shelley. We will all miss you.

  56. My heart gos out to Shelley’s family. We talked heart to heart, with her mom by her side about three years ago. We had plans on doing sewing projects with her dyed scarfs, after we both would beat the our struggles with health. She was an inspiration to all wheather it be gardening or her giving spirit in caring. She is now and God’s angel in heaven.

  57. Carol M says:

    Thank you, Shelley for all you have shared. Not just your gardening expertise but mostly for all your positive energy. I am very grateful to have experienced such a wonderful spirit. You will be missed for sure but we will see you later.

  58. joan hanson says:

    Dear Shelly, I so enjoyed your garden shows.I will miss them as well as missing you. I am so sad for your family. May they find peace in all the gardens you left behind.

  59. joy mader says:

    So sorry to hear about the passing of Shelley Ryan. As others I saw her as an inspiration and looked forward to her program weekly. My sympathy to her family and friends.

  60. Linda K says:

    My condolences to the family.

    I am so sorry to hear this. She was wonderful on her show and I have learned so much from her.

  61. jacky says:

    my thoughts and prayers to her family. I remember the first time I watched Wisconsin gardener
    I was hooked. shelly had a way of keeping you there. I just read a note that she wrote December 12. wow! will miss you……

  62. Tom Brinkman says:

    Along with so many others I mourn the passing of Shelly. Her love of gardening was contagious and her enthusiasm for Wisconsin because of and in spite of it’s diverse and adverse conditions were truly an inspiration. She will truly be missed. My thoughts are with her family.

  63. We will both miss her. We love her family!

  64. I am so sorry to hear this sad news. In her memory I hope someone names a rose after her. She was such a wonderful lady! She will be missed by many.

  65. I will miss her at the Garden Expo. I wish that someone will name a rose after her.

  66. If there is a garden in heaven I am sure Shelly will be planting something special. I will miss her as I came to feel that I knew her, as she told us so much about gardening through her television show. My sympathy to all of her family.

  67. Lisa S. says:

    I will miss seeing Shelly on the WI Gardener. She was so personable & inspired us in our own gardening efforts. I will think of her often. Sympathies to her family.

  68. Peg O'Neil says:

    Just saw that Shelley had died. I’ll miss her. My condolences to her family.

  69. Laurie Kutil says:

    My husband and I will miss her. She inspired us to garden and we still have much to learn. We met her at the Garden Expo and she felt like an old friend. May she rest in peace.

  70. Kim Darling says:

    RIP Shelly…I so enjoyed your show…peace to your family and friends.

  71. I treasure the silk scarf I made in Shelley’s class at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point. What a gifted inspiring teacher! My thanks to her for her part in starting Garden Expo, which has been such a joy to so many!

  72. Beth K. says:

    I am a 13 year breast cancer survivor. I took the Master Gardener class and became a Master Gardener the year after my treatments. This past year I had a serious setback due to my old cancer treatments. I had to forego gardening because of surgery at the end of the summer. I am sure Shelley, like myself, found gradening to be a haven when dealing with cancer. I learned so much from her on TV and on Garden Talk. Even watching repeats I learned something new. I knew her cancer had come back and wished I could have reached out to her. I now know too many women who have succumbed to breast cancer. Rest in that eternal garden Shelley and my sympathy to your family.

  73. my heart just sank… sorry to her husband and son, which I had the great honor to meet. Shelley was an inspiration to me and my friends and we never missed a chance to see her at the Garden Expo … Shelley you will be missed.

  74. Dave says:

    Shelly was a great neighbor, she lived across the street from us for many years. My prayers and thoughts go out to Denny and Kalby.

  75. Kathy schneck says:

    I am so sorry to hear of Shelly’s passing. I loved her show and even tho I didn’t know her she seemed a gentle soul.

  76. Susan L. Elmer says:

    Our deepest Sympathy and Prayers go out to the Family’s of Shelley Ryan, she will be truly missed by all who Loved Her. She was such an inspiring person to everyone who loved gardening. Always looked forward to her show to learn new gardening tips. I am a cancer survivor of 2 years and always scared it will return someday,but will fight if i have to again, Please Lord find a cure for Cancer!! We will miss you but never forget you,Love to your Family. “RIP SHELLEY”

  77. May heart goes out the Shelley’s family and all those who loved her. I believe in an after life and so believe that where ever that is she will make it a more beautiful place as well as watching over our shoulders to inspire and encourage us as we continue to garden.

  78. susan says:

    I have been so blessed to have been able to have Shelley as a friend. We were going thru breast cancer treatment for recurrence at one point. She was never going to give up and did everything she could to fight this. Her body just finally wore out. She was such a funny and awesome person. The treatments,procedures and struggle are now over. You fought the good fight. Thank you for your friendship and hugs. Rest in peace with Jesus my friend.

  79. Jeri Ruppe; says:

    Shelley will surely be missed,
    always smiling she was so optimistic and everyone liked her. hope that her zest for gardening and life remains an inspiration to anyone who knew her, took her class, heard her speak, or watched her show. Rest in peace, prayers to the family.

  80. Kim says:

    I’m so sad to hear of the passing of Shelley Ryan. What a Beautiful Lady inside & out! I enjoyed watching her show “The Wisconsin Gardner”. I’ll miss her & her show! Now she’s in Heaven teaching God & others w/her green thumb. I did not know her personally. But had a connection w/her thru gardening & cancer. My mom had breast cancer like she did. My mom passed away from it. My thoughts & prayers go out to her family & friends! God Bless You Shelley! }i{

  81. Randy says:

    We have all been blessed to be touched by Shelley over the years. She was a great lady to talk with at the garden expo and to watch on “the Wisconsin Gardener”. prayers and thoughts are with her family and friends as we remember her.

  82. chris gargan says:

    I worked with Shelly Ford 40 years ago at the BAVI when we were both UW students. She was a delightful, exuberant, and engaging person then, and on every occasion that I have seen her since. I am so sorry to read of her passing. She was one of the few remaining bright spots in Wisconsin.

  83. Elizabeth says:

    Sunday, just before downtown abbey, looked up and saw Shelley’s picture and thought oh no. Looked up story and not ashamed to say I shed some tears. I loved her program. Thank you Shelley!!!

  84. We will miss your friendly and genuine nature Shelley and I will always cherish meeting you at a Garden show in Kohler at the American Club. You were so surprised when I asked you to sign my Wisconsin Public Gardener t-shirt I had just bought. It was an honor to meet you and I will miss your inspiration and creativity for all things green in our lovely state.

  85. sheila says:

    I Truly enjoyed the Wisconsin gardener, Shelly gave me great inspiration for gardening and all the places she took us on her show….I enjoyed her classes as well, so sad. sheila

  86. Team Shelley says:

    Our deepest sympothies go out to all of Shelleys family & friends. We had the great honor of meeting Shelley a few years ago at the Garden Expo. I remember the first time I saw her in person…STAR STRUCK!!!!! She is so amazing and funny and a joy to talk to!!!! We even had the privilage of being in a comercial for the Garden Expo. Shelley we will forever miss you!!! You have definatley helped our Wisconsin garden grow!!!!!!
    Forever in our hearts
    Calvin and Jennifer Becker

  87. I loved how Shelley talked. She asked intelligent questions. She made interesting comments. What a treasured conversationalist. I’ll sure miss her. :(

  88. My partner Greg and I had the pleasure of meeting Shelley at Mayflower Greenhouse. She is and was a truly inspiring woman that we will deeply miss. From the stories of our gardens to the memories of refurbishing an old home, it was if we had known each other all of our lives. Shelley had the ability to make everyone feel welcome in the garden – whether you were a novice or gifted gardener. I lost my mother at a young age due to cancer as well. Our sympathies to her family, fellow gardeners, followers on PBS and all of the people she touched with her gift. I found the following poem that makes me think of Shelley, she was such a wonderful flower and she will be missed by a great many:

    Oh I Wish I Were A Flower
    A most beautiful flower
    This is my dream
    With the gentle breeze
    In the springtime I will
    Hop out of my earthen bed

    Listen to the sweet
    Chirping of the blue jays
    Singing me love songs
    Standing tall waiting
    For kisses from Heaven
    To rain down on me

    When you come by
    I will smile
    Knowing someday-
    I will brighten your home
    With the sun
    Stored in my petals

    Later with the warmth
    Of the golden sunshine
    I will open my petals wide
    Waiting for my love-
    The honey bee
    To come and savour me

    For how much blessed
    Could I ever be than
    To be a beautiful flower
    A most beautiful flower
    For your enjoyment
    For your pleasure

    Rachel Nichols

    Rest in peace Shelley and till we meet again.
    Robert and Greg

  89. Mike Moffatt says:

    Twenty one years is a long time to host a TV show. It’s a mark how good she was. My sympathy to her family and friends.

  90. Tears for Shelley who was like family – in my home so many times with her garden shows. So enjoyable to talk with her at the Spring Garden shows at the Aliant Center. I will plant a perennial in my garden this spring in her memory. She will be sorely missed by gardeners everywhere.

  91. Randy Raasch says:

    I got to know Shelley personally, as she struggled with her concern for her family in her absence. She was always in good humor even in the face of adversity. I wish the best for her husband and her son. Sadly, there will be a void in their lives. It was a great privilege and joy having the opportunity to know Shelley.

  92. Shelley was an inspiration to all of us for her dedication to teaching us more about a wonderful hobby, gardening. She will be truly missed and remembered.
    Wisconsin Public Television surely honored her by the wonderful tribute above.
    Larry Meiller and guests on Friday, January 17 Public Radio’s Garden Talk also recalled Shelly’s many contributions to our garden knowledge.

  93. Craig says:

    We won’t forget
    you!

  94. Liz says:

    I too was shocked and saddened to learn of Shelley’s death. I have watched and enjoyed Wisconsin Gardener for many years. I agree with the other poster who suggested that a rose be named in her honor. I wish I had written to tell her how much I learned from her program and that even though I knew she was a Master Gardener, I never felt inadequate or unable to do any of the gardening discussed because I think she was also a Master of communication and a genuinely wonderful person. I am so sorry for her family and friends.

  95. Gil says:

    Why not consider renaming the garden expo to:

    The Shelley Ryan Garden Expo!

  96. MJ says:

    In her lifetime Shelley reached folkhero status. When you met Shelley, you knew she was the genuine article. Even though I knew Shelley was fading, it was still a shock to learn that she had passed. Perhaps in time there will be a public Shelley Ryan Garden to memorialize her. She touched so many lives and left big shoes to fill, though she would be the last person to say so. Her name will be legend. I hope Shelley’s family will feel her presence in her garden.

  97. shelly was such an anchor of pbs and to all who watched her . She is in Gods garden now. I hope her family will find comfort in all who care about them and her. I do hope the garden expo will make a memorial for her for all she has done and meant to all.

  98. Sharon says:

    Shelley had a way of making you feel that she was a friend living just down the road. She had a grace and spirit about her that was so genuine. I have never had much of a green thumb, but that didn’t stop me from watching “The WI Gardener” whenever it was on PBS. It was educational yes, but also very entertaining. She was a lovely woman that will certainly be missed. My sympathy and prayers go out to her family. God bless.

  99. Sue Kurth says:

    Shelly was literally the face of WPT for me. I was shocked and saddened to know she had to go through the battle of cancer, but she won’t easily or quickly be forgotten by those of us who valued her lessons. Rest easy dear Shelly.

  100. Sarie Doverspike says:

    Shelley will be dearly missed. She was such a great advocate of the use of Wisconsin native plants and gardens of all kinds in our state. Thank you to WPR fir your support of the Wisconsin Gardener for so many years. Our condolences to her family.

  101. How very sad. Like many, I first became acquainted with Shelley by watching “The Wisconsin Gardener”. During my many years working at Johannsen’s Greenhouse, I had the pleasure of actually meeting her in person. It was always a delight to spend a few minutes chatting with her when she would come in. She will be greatly missed.

  102. Anne Reed says:

    I just recently heard of Shelley’s passing and that news saddened me. We all enjoyed her trips around Wisconsin visiting some of the most exotic gardens.
    There will be a beautiful garden up in the sky and Shelley will be supervising it, I’m sure.
    Sympathies to her husband and young boy.

  103. My heart is full of sympathy for Shelly’s family and for the “gardening world” she inspired and educated. I LOVED her program and was always uplifted by her gentle and kind soul. May flowers bloom and trees grow for us and for her. She made her life a beautiful garden and shared it with all of us.

  104. I live in NE Iowa and watch IPTV. However, Shelly’s program drew me to Wisconsin Public Television and the Garden Expo where I met her a few years ago. She inspired me to plant the unusual, become a Master Gardner and just go out there and do it. I won’t forget her.

  105. I couldn’t be more saddened by the news of Shelley’s passing. I was a huge fan of her show, The Wisconsin Gardener, and she hosted so many interesting ones. ~ Shelley, you were a bright spot in my life, and I feel a profound change in it now that you’ve left us. ~ My thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and everyone who was touched by her spirit. Rest in Peace dear Shelley. You will be missed. ♥

  106. Pingback: Remembering ‘The Wisconsin Gardener’s’ Shelley Ryan | Be more Tuned In

  107. Mary Mead says:

    Subscribing to Chicago news and not Wisconsin’s, I didn’t know Shelley had passed until watching the tribute program this evening. As devastating as it is for me as a (very poor) gardener and former co-worker, I am so very, very sorry for her loss for both Dennie and Kably. I will miss her for all the reasons listed above but mostly for her impishness – and her ability to tell a great story with style and appropriate amounts of hilarity. You connected us all, Shelley.

    With Love

  108. jenny leitzke says:

    I miss the joy every sat watching Shelly still to this day.I watch the reruns.keep them commimg..thanks..jenny

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