Five things to know about Delavan's Congdon Gardens

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Wednesday, July 31, 2013

DELAVAN—Congdon Gardens started as a small garden of annual flowers in 2003. Ten years later, what began as a small planting of annuals has grown with the help of volunteers and local businesses.

As the gardens marks its first decade, here are five things to know:

1. History:  The gardens were founded by the Delavan-Darien Rotary Club and maintained by the Delavan Rotary Gardens Foundation. The foundation is not associated with Janesville's Rotary Botanical Gardens, although each organization is connected, in some way, to the local Rotary Club.

The garden includes a 0.9-mile walking path around a pond, shoreline fishing and gazebo, along with pergola, independence, linden and signature gardens. Peony and daylily gardens are highlights of the gardens.

2 Peace, domestic and international:  Like the gardens in Janesville, which have an international theme, Congdon Gardens is dedicated to peace and friendship among nations.

At the center of the gardens is a fountain made up of seven granite boulders representing the world's seven continents connected by the water of all the oceans. A plaque near the fountain outlines the Delavan-Darian Rotary Club's hopes for the gardens:

"There is so much wisdom to be learned from the gardens....The crop we envisage is world peace and stability, a world in which we all live together as friends. The seed to be sown—fellowship, friendship, understanding—the soil—the minds of individual Rotarians."

3. Making their mark: The gardens' newest feature is a sign on Highway 50. One of the challenges was getting people to know where the gardens are located, said Connie Glatz-Helms, a gardens foundation spokesperson.

The foundation's master plan includes children's, demonstration and community-supported agriculture gardens.

4. Helping hands: The gardens are supported by donations, a small amount of room tax dollars, hundreds of volunteer hours and help from Roy Diblk of Northwind Perennial Farm, Burlington, and Klehm's Song Sparrow Farm and Nursery, town of Johnston. 

Diblik designed the gardens around the gazebo and the linden garden.

Song Sparrow helped with the peony and daylily gardens, and assisted with the gardens spring sales.

5. How to help: The gardens are always looking for more volunteers to help keep up with weeding and other general maintenance.  For more information, call Dori Block, 262-725-6034. 

To learn more about the gardens, go to congdongardens.org or visit their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Congdon-Gardens-Delavan-WI/141862095875911


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