September 06, 2013

A little zen on a summer's day

A few weeks back, Mom and I took a day trip to the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Ill. It was a pleasant destination even on a warm summer day. The bright sun was a bit harsh for photos, but some of them turned out OK.

I can only imagine how stunning this place is in autumn, with Japanese Maples in full splendor. Or in springtime, when the Azaleas and Magnolias are blooming. I think I'll return next May.

Here are some of the highlights:

drinkingfountain

One of the first things that greets you at the entrance is a fountain with drinking water. Paper cups are available, which is a thoughtful touch.

path

Many of the well-manicured paths wind through shaded walkways.

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foliage

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Stunning Japanese Maples greet you at every turn. They're blended effectively with other trees, shrubs, and plants, along with calming yet whimsical decorations and hardscapes.

reflection

An obvious highlight is the "garden of reflection" pond.

bridge

beach

The strolling garden around another pond features a cobble beach.

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chairs

Comfortable seating areas throughout the facility invite relaxed reflection, as do ...

waterfall1

waterfall2

the waterfalls, ...

fountain

fountain2

the gently trickling water features, and ...

raked

the raked gravel garden.

structure

maple1

Finely crafted structures, buildings, and gates also catch the eye.

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Decorative garden accents mix the formal and the traditional with a bit of whimsy.

ginger

Even native Wild Ginger plants look comfortable growing in shady nooks between rocks and stone.

angels

And the three angels, though unusual in a Japanese garden, seem to add a special blessing to visitors.

treebridge

To learn more about the gardens' highlights and history, click here. The Anderson Japanese Gardens are well worth a day trip from southern Wisconsin or Chicago, and they're a great destination for tourists visiting the upper Midwest.

32 comments:

  1. Oh, I so wish I could have been there, I love Japanese gardens, everything is so beautiful and looks so effortlessly placed, but I know every plant is placed with meticulous planning. I was surprised to see the angels, never heard of angels in a Japanese garden before. Beautiful photos as always, looks like you had a great day!

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    1. Thank you. I wish you could have been there, too, Helene! I know you would have enjoyed it and we could have had a pleasant lunch chat afterward. :) Yes, I do think this garden was meticulously planned and is carefully maintained. It is not my style of gardening--mainly because I find it difficult to keep in order. But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate formal gardens. Actually, they are a pleasant getaway from my informal landscape.

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  2. What a beautiful and tranquil place. It looks like a large Japanese Garden. The manicured trees make it look like Nature at its best. I can only imagine living in such a perfected garden, fighting my myriads of weeds. It would be great. Thanks for the lovely photos. Portland has a Japanese garden but small by comparison- but also very lovely.

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    1. It is large--more than 12 acres. I can't imagine the work that goes into maintaining it, but it is lovely! It's a calming gift to all who visit. If I get to Portland soon I will check out the Japanese garden there. Thanks for the tip!

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  3. Gorgeous! Japanese gardens are fabulous any time of the year. This one does have such a serene atmosphere. I love the waterfalls!

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    1. I suppose even in winter it would be lovely--because of the great structure. I'm not sure it's open then--I'll have to check! ;-) Yes, the waterfalls are beautiful!

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  4. A friend treated me to a visit here this past September . . . Lovely gardens and thank you for revitalizing my memory . . .

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    1. Oh, that's so kind of your friend. It's a great place to hike, but I could see spending some time simply resting there, too. Maybe sitting on a bench with a good book ...

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  5. It looks like a lovely garden, tranquil and serene with lots of water features. You and your mum must have had a great time there.

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    1. Yes, it was a very pleasant day. If you have a chance to get to the gardens, I highly recommend it. I'm thinking October and May would be "take your breath away" kinds of experiences. :)

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  6. We must have missed each other by only a few days! I don't know if you saw my reply to your comment last week, but yes, my friend and I visited this garden as well. In fact, seeing the Anderson Japanese Garden was the main reason I wanted to visit Rockford. I agree wholeheartedly that this is worth the drive for anyone in the area--we drove 3 hours one way to get there!

    I enjoyed seeing all your photos, especially some different perspectives of the same places I saw--one of these days I might get organized enough to write up a post, too:) I completely missed the "cat rock." But I didn't miss the waterfall--I could have stood there for hours enjoying the Zen moment.

    Beth, I agree that Rockford would be a great destination for Wisconsin/Illinois and other Midwest bloggers. Maybe next year we could organize a day trip for anyone interested.

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    1. I remember you reviewed the Nicholas Conservatory in Rockford, right? I really want to get there next spring/summer, too. Yes, let's make sure to meet somewhere in between--earlier than next spring/summer would be fine, too. And I agree, a Midwestern garden blogger gathering at a botanical garden is a great idea!

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  7. If I had that much space and the resources, my gardens would look nothing like these. They sure are beautiful, though!

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    1. I agree, Sue--this garden is totally not my style. In fact, it's the opposite of my style. But I really appreciate viewing the opposite sometimes. I especially enjoyed the very simple areas with chairs and benches, which invited us to sit and reflect a bit. :)

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  8. So beautiful and serene! I wish I had been there. I could use a little zen. :o)

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    1. I wish you had been there, too, Tammy. Maybe someday we'll visit a garden together. I'm starting to plan for some special garden events next year. :)

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  9. How lucky to have a gorgeous Japanese garden so close...I so want to visit one and just relax there for days...

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    1. Yes, too bad we live so far from each other, Donna. It would be fun to visit botanical gardens and native plant gardens together. :)

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  10. Oh, I need to remember this for our annual trek up north next summer. I did make it to Olbrich Botanical Gardens this summer - lovely place! Then we ate at a great little place near the garden -- Daisy Cafe & Cupcakery!! Wonderful food!

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    1. Ah, yes, Olbrich is very near my house and one of my favorite public gardens. I'm familiar with the Daisy Cafe, too. There are several whimsical eateries very near Olbrich. I'm glad you had a nice time in Madison!

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  11. I love the Japanese architecture and its elements like the arch gate and sliding doors. This garden also looks great.
    Regards :)

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the tour. It's a very serene and calming place. I think it would be even more so in fall or spring.

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  12. Such a lovely place to visit, so tranquil.

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    1. Yes, very true Linda. Sometimes it's refreshing to visit a place so very different from one's own backyard. Definitely worth visiting if you're ever in the area.

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  13. What a great place. I love the waterfalls. Japanese gardens are always so tranquil feeling, the color subdued and a great play of texture. Their use of water is such a beautiful expression of the element, the lakes, ponds, etc. I like the simplicity of the architecture too. In that simplicity is much complexity. Much to understand and appreciate. You photos of the gardens are beautiful. Lovely tour.

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    1. That is such a wise statement, Donna: "In that simplicity is much complexity." So true! Thank you! Yes, the water elements really impressed me and had a calming effect.

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  14. Your photos turned out beautifully. I love visiting Japanese gardens when it's hot because they are so green and cool.

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    1. Thank you, Carolyn! The most refreshing spots were near the water features--the ponds, the waterfalls, the water fountains, and so on.

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  15. Love those three angels. And the Japanese maples. I so want a Japanese maple, but since I have killed several, I decided not to murder any more (for a while, anyway). It looks like the perfect place to sit and enjoy the afternoon.

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    1. Yes, the angels are unique. I know what you mean about the Japanese Maples. I've never had one, and I probably never will, but I certainly appreciate them--I do think they're among the most lovely trees. So much personality and color and vibrancy!

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  16. Beautiful visit! Thanks for sharing!
    ~Julie

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    1. If you're ever in the Midwest during spring or fall (or even summer), it's worth a visit!

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