Another Garden Gem in Rockford, Illinois
This is my second post about the recent gathering of nine Midwest garden bloggers to see the horticultural sites of Rockford, Illinois.
First, let me respond to some grumbling in reaction to my defining Rockford as a “small city”. If this seemed like big city elitism to you, I apologize. I grew up in the metro NY area and spent most of my adult life in and around Chicago, so my idea of “small” may be a bit skewed. For the record, Rockford has about 150,000 people and is the third largest city in the great state of Illinois, the Land of Lincoln.
OK, then, moving on. We spent the morning at the Klehm Arboretum, then proceeded to have lunch at a bustling place in downtown Rockford called Octane, where the food was creative and good.
Next stop was the Nicholas Conservatory and Greenhouse, located along the Rock River. A Monarch Waystation and bioswale is laid out between the parking lot and the water.
Inside, there is a mosaic floor representing the Rock River and its tributaries.
Which leads the way into the greenhouse.
A water feature with fountains winds its way through the greenhouse.
Which features a good deal of garden art along with the plants.
The fish in the indoor koi pond add to the sense of movement.
Lots of Epiphytes and orchids to examine.
I love Bird of Paradise Flowers (Strelitzia reginae).
There were also some interesting food plants. Do you know what jack fruit looks like? Well, here you go.
And here’s a papaya tree. No picking allowed.
When you’ve walked all the way through the conservatory, you come out the other end at the Eclipse Lagoon.
Turning away from the river, the boundary of this garden is marked by a long limestone wall and waterfalls.
The garden is full of both xeric and water-loving plants, native and exotic.
Lots of ducks. Supposedly this is how they feed, but I suspect they are mooning the tourists.
We decided to skip the rose garden because we were running out of time but also because we suspected the roses would not be at their best in August (though there were some in bloom).
Next stop: the Anderson Japanese Gardens.