Beth of Plant Postings and I had talked for over a year about meeting up and touring a garden within easy driving distance for each of us. So when she contacted me this summer and suggested meeting at the Rotary Garden, I was eager to go. I invited my friend Beckie along, who is always up for a gardening road trip!
I was not familiar with this garden beforehand and wasn't sure what to expect, but the minute we stepped out of the car, I knew this was a special place. We picked the coldest day in mid-September to meet, but even so, the plantings surrounding the parking lot were still full of lush blooms.
What do strangers who have only "met" through blogging find to talk about for the better part of a day? Well, as any gardener knows, if those two bloggers are also gardeners, there is no shortage of topics of conversation. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Beth thought I was quite a chatterbox, as enthused as I was about meeting her and seeing this beautiful garden! By the way, note our footwear: as I said, it was an unusually cold day for September with occasional sprinkles of rain. Beth came prepared, whereas I wore my favorite walking sandals--not the best choice for this day; no wonder I was cold!
Once inside the garden, I was so impressed I forgot the chill in the air. I don't remember the name of this area, but I loved the boxwood hedges laid out in a formal pattern, but containing much more informal plantings with a tutuer at the center of each.
The Garden is divided into different sections, including an inviting Children's Garden.
Children are encouraged to touch, feel, and smell, as they learn about the benefits of plants and their wildlife visitors.
Native plants and others that attract pollinators are the emphasis in this area.
I wish I could remember the name of this plant.
Despite the occasional drizzle, the bees were still out and about,
demonstrating the main principle of this garden.
A seating area in one corner makes the perfect spot for parents
to relax a bit while their children explore.
Other areas include a Japanese garden
Complete with the traditional Dry Garden, or Zen garden, as we Westerners often call it.
There is also a Sunken Garden
An English Cottage Garden (complete with raindrops on my camera lens!)
And a Jungle Garden inspired by Where the Wild Things Are, filled with tropicals and other giant plants as well as intriguing doors and windows.
Other sections of the garden include a woodland garden, a formal rose garden, an alpine garden, and several others. One of the more interesting areas I thought was the Thomas Jefferson Garden which includes "over 100 selections of vegetables, herbs, and flowers that Jefferson popularized."
Jefferson's belief in the importance of gardening is just one of his many legacies.
The Rotary Garden is a plant collector's dream. Plants are clearly identified, and in the few cases where they aren't, we were usually able to locate a very helpful worker to identify any mystery plants for us.
I was especially taken with this Korean Feather Grass
and will be on the lookout for it in a nursery this spring.
A few more photos to entice you:
I need a bench like this!
A balcony on the Visitor Center provided a great vantage point
for taking a few photos before leaving.
A big thank-you to Beth for recommending this garden and finding a place for a lovely late lunch, where we talked even more. The three of us (Beckie was camera-shy) had such a great time that we hope to visit another garden(s) in the area this summer and hope that other bloggers in the vicinity might join us--look for details this summer!