Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Walkin' N' Talkin'

I walked and talked and totally enjoyed visiting Anderson Japanese Gardens and the Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden in Rockford Illinois.  The conversations were garden based since the entire bus was loaded with seasoned gardeners ("seasoned" as in doing it more years than most people are alive...)

We often talked about how blessed we are to have so many beautiful garden spaces to visit close enough for day trips.  Make it two days and the possibilities are multiplied double.

This is the first time I've been to either of the Rockford gardens and it was worth the trip.  The day was sunny, moderately hot and no rain.  The Geneseo Garden Club hosted to perfection.  One member even invited us to her home to view her beautiful gardens before we left for home.

Anderson is a private estate garden open to the public.  It is maintained to perfection and tries to keep the feel of a Japanese garden while accommodating various physical limitations of their visitors.  If neat and tidy is your thing, this place is perfect.  We saw several workers with hand clippers, precisely trimming the many sculpted evergreens.

It was a massive effort to create this garden:  boulders, waterfalls, lakes, streams, tea house, and shade plants under and around the canopy of large trees.  The only negative (if it's that) is it feels a little contrived.  I suppose it must since this kind of controlled landscape is so far from our native Midwest flora.

Klehm Arboretum has the look and feel of a massive park.  The point is to walk the many large paved paths lined with trees.  These trees are established, look at home in the surroundings and are tagged.  It would be especially useful if you are looking to landscape a new space.  To gauge the mature size of a tree and how it behaves in the landscape is valuable.

The other side of the Klehm experience is it's beautiful and huge.  As was the Anderson experience, the employees are welcoming and informed.  It's quiet in spite of the many visitors allowing contemplation and photos.  Klehm's is an educational mecca for adults and children.

Both places have facilities for large groups (weddings, corporate events, and etc.), visitor centers, gift shops, rest areas and brochures.  Both have web sites, facebook & twitter pages, charge admission and have some rules.


So what did I accomplish:  a relaxed and enjoyable day with other gardeners, new garden ideas, made some new friends and experienced two of our beautiful local landscapes.  Try it this summer - it's a great day.

If you're not local to my area, google public gardens and add the area (state, county, or region) and you'll have loads of places to make your summer even more garden fun.

This is Klehm's public gathering space.  All the other photos are from Anderson.

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