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:
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.
Many of the well-manicured paths wind through shaded walkways.
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.
An obvious highlight is the "garden of reflection" pond.
The strolling garden around another pond features a cobble beach.
Comfortable seating areas throughout the facility invite relaxed reflection, as do ...
the waterfalls, ...
the gently trickling water features, and ...
the raked gravel garden.
Finely crafted structures, buildings, and gates also catch the eye.
Decorative garden accents mix the formal and the traditional with a bit of whimsy.
Even native Wild Ginger plants look comfortable growing in shady nooks between rocks and stone.
And the three angels, though unusual in a Japanese garden, seem to add a special blessing to visitors.
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.