Monday, July 22, 2013

Traveling to Janesville, WI and the Rotary Gardens

On the fourth of July my husband and I traveled to Wisconsin.  Part of the trip for me was a stop at the Rotary Botanical Gardens is Janesville, Wisconsin.  I drag the hubby, who is not much of a gardener, really to see gardens all the time.  He tolerates it because he usually gets to pick the lunch spot afterwards.

This time, however, he enjoyed the gardens as much if not more than I did.  He was impressed by how much they could fit into a small space, only about 20 acres.  The best part was as a non-profit location they have sponsorships of various types.  Most obviously the benches.  Yet what a perfectly appropriate and tasteful way to accomplish it.  Each bench has a garden theme saying carved into it!  They were fun to find, enjoyable to read and perfect placed for taking a seat to enjoy the views.

I loved that this place was open on a holiday! We arrived just as it opened so we could see all of it and ended up staying longer than planned.  As you exit the visitor center you enter the formal garden.

This just happened to be where the Herb Gardens were located.  Maintained by the Janesville Area Herb Society, there are three different herb gardens. A Sensory Garden, a Medicinal Garden and Culinary Garden.  Each had a somewhat formal design and center statue, but the herbs used and presented had nice variety.

The Sensory Garden - see the clay tiles, they each held a scented herb.
Culinary Herb Garden
My husband and I probably spent an hour looking at all the formal garden patches.  They were each a different theme, like Italy or France in addition to the three Herb Gardens.

There is a lake off to one edge of the Rotary Botanic Gardens that has a public boat launch, so there were a few people out with canoes and kayaks in the water.

Like the Chicago Botanic Gardens they had an orientation map with cut flowers to give you an idea of what was in bloom that day.
A pergola and patio near the lake gave great views.  It was sunny and warm that day, but we found great shade in the fern and hosta gardens.  And some tranquility in the Japanese Gardens.

The "Cliff" garden I think this was called had a striking assortment of plants among rocks.

One of the special features of the Rotary Botanic Gardens is the transitions.  You never feel hurried from one garden to another and most special, the transitions are never abrupt.  You just move from one garden to another with relaxing ease.  The decorative features are picturesque and I had to have my Kodak moment on the crooked bridge.

One of several water features
The trails were attractive and easy to walk and most were accessible by all abilities with only a few not made for wheelchairs.  There was a sculpture garden, an idea garden and a Scottish Garden too.  It was while we enjoyed the sunken garden that we found out that the location was originally a BMX bike race course before being acquired by the Rotary.

Idea garden with sculptures in the background
A planted bench in the Highland Garden.  That red dot is my traveling stuffed lady bug.  She is a photo hog!
The Sunken Garden had a spectacular arch that had been rescued from the Parker Pen building along with other sculpture and architectural items salvaged from historic buildings of the area.

The two items which we still talk about long after the trip was a parsley hedge used in a seasonal garden and an arching elm tree called a  Camperdown Elm that we have decided we must own.

Camperdown Elm which was arched over the walkway
My husband even fit under the arch!
We started with herbs and ended with herbs, as the last place on our trek around the grounds took use to a seasonal display garden that sported these cute parsley hedges, that my husband still talks about.
Parsley hedge
The Rotary Botanic Gardens are just a short jog off Interstate 90 in Janesville, WI and I recommend the detour if you are anywhere near it.  You will not be disappointed.  I took a number of images of the herbs in the Gardens, so check back as I will be sharing more from this wonderful location.

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