Five things to know about Delavan’s Congdon Gardens

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Saturday, June 18, 2011
— 1. Congdon Gardens in Delavan were founded in 2003, although the name wasn’t “Congdon Gardens” back then. For the first three years, the gardens weren’t much more than plantings of annuals, said gardens foundation spokeswoman Connie Glatz-Helms. The first perennial garden, the Fountain Garden, was landscaped in 2006. The seven boulders in the fountain represent the seven continents of the world surrounded by water.

2. Each year, volunteers build a new perennial garden. The newest is the Peony Exhibition Garden planted in late 2010.

The garden was designed with the help of a student of landscape architecture from UW-Madison and planted in November 2010. Peony breeders Roy Klehm and Roger Anderson donated the peonies, and the garden includes some peony varieties not yet available in stores, Glatz-Helms said. The peony garden also includes tulips, day lilies and irises.

3. The Linden Garden was planted in 2007 around existing linden trees at the south edge of the pond in Congdon Park. It is visible from Highway 50. The Gazebo Garden was planted around the city-owned gazebo in 2008. Several weeks after it was planted, the garden stood in 2 feet of water. In 2009, the Delavan Lions Club moved the park’s flag and helped create the Independence Garden, which has space for memorial ceremonies.

4. The Delavan-Darien Rotary Club founded the gardens, but the name was changed to avoid confusion or association with Janesville’s Rotary Gardens. The gardens still are maintained by the Delavan Rotary Gardens Foundation and are privately funded with the exception of some room-tax money from the city. The foundation has volunteer opportunities for everything from weeding to fundraising to administrative work. Search for “Congdon Gardens” on Facebook or call (262) 215-6849.

5. The formal gardens are an unlikely find tucked behind big box stores and offices on Delavan’s east side. They are located within the city of Delavan’s Congdon Park, which features a 0.9-mile walking trail, shoreline fishing, picnic tables, a gazebo and plenty of open space for flying disc or other outdoor games.

The gardens became particularly important when properties on the east side of Interstate 43 were developed, said spokeswoman Connie Glatz-Helms of La Grange Township.

“You need a little space where you can just sit and listen to the water,” she said.

The park is available for event rental. Call (262) 728-5585.

Last updated: 5:37 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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