I stopped in at the Rotary Gardens in Janesville yesterday (June 27, 2013). I am not sure what I expected to find, but the sun was out (a rarity the last few days): I was driving right by it: and I love to visit the garden in general.
A garden is different in every season, certainly. It can be different day by day. It depends on the weather. It also depends on the mood of the visitor. One day certain things will catch your eye – another day, others. If you like to garden, and I do, you always find something to admire and think about even if you walk through your own garden every single day.
This was an unscheduled stop, but well worth the time I spent. I can sum it up in two words: Hosta Heaven!
In my garden at The Farm I am dependent upon shade plants that deer don’t like to eat. That makes me a recent convert to hostas…not a plant I used to be crazy about. But that was before I started reading about gardeners who plant almost exclusively hostas and I saw the results in their fabulous gardens. I know there are many hosta enthusiasts out there, so this post is for you. This post is also for the reluctant hosta gardener – that person who knows he or she should be planting hostas because his or her garden has just the right conditions, but doesn’t really want to. Go to the Rotary Gardens in Janesville and get inspired.
The Rotary Gardens has an area designated “Hosta Haven” but that little intimate space (and there are many such spaces throughout the gardens) belies the fact that there are hostas everywhere. In the Haven, the sign says there are 50 varieties in, I am not sure if, just the “haven” or in the entire gardens. Either way, a walk around the gardens will reveal giant hostas as well as tiny hostas; hostas in all manner of costumes (striped, plain, glowing, dark); with all shapes of leaves (from pointed to rounded).
The Gardens are a place to visit again and again. It is a great place to take small children to let them run some steam off outdoors, teach them neat things about plants, watch them throw stones into the lake, hopefully point out a bunny or a duck. There is even a children’s garden. I don’t need to tell you that a walk in a big garden is restful and rejuvenating, but a walk in a garden IS restful and rejuvenating! Even when you are skirting puddles and some mud (a result of the terrific storms we have had for the past 3 days).
The intimate spaces carved out for personal vistas were new to me on this visit. Dead end paths take you to a quiet place where you can sit and just enjoy the view. Might I suggest you take a book or a sketch pad?
One of the most meaningful places for me in the gardens is the Sunken Garden. The main entrance to this part of the garden is the original door frame to the Parker Pen factory on Court St. (Parker Pen was a Janesville company for most of it’s history), and at the opposite end is a sculpture done by my father to honor my mother’s memory.
You will also find an English cottage garden, herb gardens, scent gardens, a Japanese garden, a Wisconsin native plant garden, a formal Italian garden, an alpine garden, succulents and more. The gardens are a very popular place for weddings. I once saw a fantastic bridal party photo shot on the very picturesque red bridge.