Friday, June 19, 2009

Where Flowers Bloom

Images: Butchart Gardens, Victoria BC (Butchart web page)

Consider any of the following public gardens for your next day (or two) trip:

Anderson Japanese Gardens, 318 Spring Creek Road, Rockford IL 815-229-9390 It was voted the #1 Japanese Garden in North America for the past 6 years.

Vander Veer Botanical Park, 215 W. Central Park, Davenport, IA 563-326-7812 Dating from 1885, the 33 acres include gardens, a conservatory, a stone fountain, a children’s sculpture garden and a lagoon.

Luthy Botanical Gardens, 2218 N. Prospect, Peoria, IL 61603. 309-686-3362 Outdoor gardens, conservatory & garden shop.

Chicago Botanic Gardens, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 847-835-5440 Over a century old, the 385-acre garden features 23 display gardens, three native habitats, and situated on nine islands surrounded by lakes.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis MO 800-642-8842, The garden is celebrating its 150 anniversary. The garden is home to the “Kemper Center” which also maintains an extensive on-line horticultural site.

Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University, south of Jack Trice Stadium (the ISU football stadium) in Ames. 515-294-8994 A 14-acre site, features an indoor conservatory, a 2,500 sq. ft. indoor butterfly area and has the first rose garden in a public garden that incorporates both sustainable designs, plants, & gardening practices.

Most public gardens have set policy* pertaining to children, clothing, photography, personal music devices, smoking, alcohol, food, coolers, pets, and handicapped accessibility. Some have seasonal hours. Many have scheduled special events.

Some gardens have entrance fees, restaurants and gift shops. All prohibit picking/taking plant material and seeds. They consider it stealing. Most have various types of group tours that must be scheduled to insure you know the policies, costs, tour amenities and parking plans.

For the novice at warm weather visiting: wear comfortable shoes (boots if it’s been raining - flip flops* may be prohibited). Consider taking a sun hat, bug & sun protection, umbrella, and bottled water*. Binoculars and cameras* can help with the fun. Take paper and pen for writing the names of plants.

You are a guest at these beautiful gardens and treating them with respect and care is essential for their preservation.

At times, I carry a photo of the beautiful over-the-top landscaped lake and fountain at Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC. When questioned about my garden, I show them the picture. Their mouths will fall open; they look at me and then say, “Yeah right!” with much laughing. Although my yard doesn’t look like Butchart Gardens, these public gardens allow us to dream…..of what might be.

“Where flowers bloom so does hope.” Lady Bird Johnson, Public Roads: Where Flowers Bloom.

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