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Posts Tagged ‘Rotary Gardens in Janesville Wisconsin’

IMG_9731I find that I need to get out to stretch my legs and ease my back on long car rides, especially if I am driving alone. The urge to move a bit and take biology breaks add extra time to the journey, but also afford an opportunity for exploring. The Wisconsin rest stops along the usual route to our Up North family are safe, clean, and often quite scenic and most have historical markers or honors to veterans. The scenery becomes more breathtaking, the terrain more varied, as the road wends northward. The trip remains just as interesting on the return route.

The weather could not have been better Tuesday as I headed south toward home. Finding myself in need of a walk, I decided to exit the interstate in Janesville and visit the Rotary Botanical Gardens there. It is a mile or so from the exit and a little piece of paradise, much of which is maintained by volunteers.

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So . . . I took a little walkabout down the paths and through the gardens, working the kinks out of my muscles and shaking the cobwebs from my brain.

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The flowers were in full form with a riot of color and texture and scents – and the pollinators were busy feeding from the many garden hosts.

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Moths and bees and butterflies flitted as if on their last fling before school starts.

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The gardens were just what my heart and soul needed, along with my muscles and bones. Being in nature always renews my spirit and calms my everyday worries, while giving me a chance to exhale.

I walked and sat and walked some more, wondering how the Antler Man was getting along on the Cutoff. I was thinking how encouraging it was to see so many bees and moths and butterflies when a Monarch floated by, looking for a place to rest.

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There has been fretting over the Monarchs again this year. Last year brought some hope that their numbers were on the upswing, but, this summer their numbers seem to be down and I have spotted only one on our little acreage on the Cutoff. There is an abundance of milkweed and butterfly weed and other host plants, but nary a Monarch egg nor caterpillar to be found.

The Monarch danced on the breeze and the landed on the big, green chair which is seen in the background of the photo above on the left, basking in the sun and casting shadows in the most magical of ways.

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Renewed and revitalized, I walked back to the car and set to navigating the last leg of my journey home with a sense of wonder that always befalls me in among flowers and trees and God’s good earth. As I drove back toward the concrete lanes of the interstate highway, the shadows of the Monarch cast a wee bit of wonder in my mind at how this one regal member of butterfly royalty happened to find me miles and miles from home.

 

 

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She emerged from the lush greens on our Saturday stroll in the Rotary Gardens.

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On Tuesday, Yeats appeared on my daily feed from The Writer’s Almanac . . .

Down By the Salley Gardens
by William Butler Yeats

Down by the salley gardens
my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens
with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy,
as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish,
with her would not agree.

In a field by the river
my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder
she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy,
as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish,
and now am full of tears.

Then Maura O’Connell showed up today.

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Ever since reading Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “A Secret Garden” as a child, I have been intrigued by garden doors, imagining myself as Mary Lennox, wondering what is beyond a locked door.

So it was upon entering the Rotary Gardens in Janesville, Wisconsin that my imagination grew like Jack’s beanstalk and I squealed in girlish glee “oh, this is wonderful“. There I was, hopping around, opening and closing garden doors, peering into windows and otherwise embarrassing Tom who, after all these years, is used to my childish ways about these bookish gardening “things”.

There were doors opening on doors as groomsmen in gray – and senior citizens in greige -averted their eyes to the gleeful granny and her indulgent companion.

Isn’t it grand to discover something creative and open your imagination for a bit? Maybe it was because we had just spent several days with our darling grandchildren who love to pretend that images of Alice in Wonderland and Dorothy and Toto following a yellow brick road came to mind.

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Well, dear reader, when one door closes another opens, and so it did as something else caught my eye.

Can you see it? Click on the photo for a better look.

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Scattered about the gardens were many of these boxes. They reminded me of the Little Free Libraries and were painted in all manner of whimsy and creativity.

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A volunteer in the gardens told us that the boxes were made by a group of men. They were sold at a nominal cost to be painted and appointed however the artist saw fit. They will be raffled off (or was it auctioned?) and I, of course, imagine them filled with gardening books and secret doors.

What would you fill them with?

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As I was switching lanes on my journey home from Minnesota on a blistering 100° Fourth of July, I veered off of the interstate in southern Wisconsin. Needing to stretch out my legs a bit, I did what any insane person would do; I visited a garden of wandering acreage  – at high noon!

With water bottle in hand, sunglasses perched upon my beak, and a cap with a bill covering my head, I rolled my independent demeanor out of my mocha colored VW with its latte interior with all the grace of a fledgeling leaving the nest for the very first time. I waddled into the welcome center of the Rotary Gardens in Janesville and sighed  with relief at the coolness within.

Camera in hand, I set my goal to a short walk of no more than 30 minutes, including a biology break (aka the restroom), and enjoyed the beauty that abounds in this wonderful garden. My Tom is a Rotarian and we have visited these gardens a few times on our northern travels. I’ve also been to the Rotary Gardens with friends as it is but a two hour drive from the suburbs of Chicago. As I slowly walked, taking a few pictures, I thought of Andra, world-travelled and Southern bred Rotarian extraordinaire. These are for you, Andra, and for all of our readers and friends.

The Reception Garden was being set up for a wedding later in the day. I’m sure the bride and groom never imagined such extreme temperatures when they made their plans for a July 4 wedding. Still, it is a beautiful setting.

There are gardens throughout with plantings reflective of the many countries and cultures represented in Rotary International, with peaceful spots to sit and rest and enjoy the beauty that abounds.

The Rotary Gardens have used these wooden pillars in the past, changing the colors to fit the palette of the plants.

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