Travel destinations for the roaming gardener
Over lunch today, my children and I discussed our travel plans for the Fourth of July holiday. We usually try to set out for a travel adventure for a few days around our favorite summer holiday. Should we drive to Grinnell, Iowa, and stay in a Bed and Breakfast? Should we drive down to St. Louis to visit relatives? Perhaps we could drive up to Minnesota to visit other relatives? The world is our oyster. What shall we do? Mary, our oldest daughter, suggested that we consider staying home and doing day trips to area museums or botanic gardens. What a great idea! Northern Illinois has a wealth of interesting day trip destinations. Here are the details about a few destinations that I thought you might enjoy.
Anderson Japanese Gardens offers visitors a very unique experience. The gardens were originally started at the home of Mr. John Anderson. In 1978 Mr. Anderson began working with Hoichi Kurisu to develop a garden near a pond on his property. They have been working together for more than 30 years and have developed a place unlike any other in the Midwest. As their mission statement so appropriately states: “In our hectic and stressful world, Anderson Japanese Gardens opens minds to a different culture while offering guests a place of peace and tranquility where they will find healing, renewal, inspiration, and a re-energized soul.” Anderson Japanese Gardens is located at 318 Spring Creek Road in Rockford. For visitors’ hours and addition information, call 815-229-9390 or visit www.andersongardens.org
Rockford also is home to The Klehm Arboretum. In 1985, the Klehm family donated the land to the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District with the stipulation that the land was to be used as an arboretum. It is now home to an array of specialty gardens including a peony garden, a demonstration garden, and the Nancy Olson Children’s Garden. Guided tours are available. They also have live concerts on the second Sunday evening of each month June-August at 6 p.m. The Arboretum is located at 2715 South Main Street in Rockford. For more information call 815-963-2102 or visit www.klehm.org
Another destination a bit closer to home is Rich’s Foxwillow Pines Nursery. This destination is a bit different from the first two because it is a commercial nursery. It feels very much like a botanic garden though. Rich and Susan Eyre have developed a premier Dwarf Conifer Nursery. It has one of the largest and most diverse selections of dwarf conifers available at any nursery in the country. It is located at 11618 McConnell Road in Woodstock. Their phone number is 815-338-7442, and their website is www.richsfoxwillowpines.com
The summer is a great time to enjoy beautiful gardens. Consider attending the Woodstock Garden Walk on June 21 from 1-7 p.m. The Woodstock Professional and Business Women organization has put together a group of six charming gardens in and around Woodstock. Advance tickets are available for $13 at the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce office, 136 Cass St. in Woodstock or by calling 815-338-2436. Tickets are also available on the Day of Walk for $15 at Home State Bank in Woodstock from noon to 5 p.m. Proceeds from the walk benefit the Frances Kuhn Scholarship.