Janesville40.8°

Rotary Gardens celebrates 20 years

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Catherine W. Idzerda
August 4, 2009
— Twenty years.

Twenty acres.


Thousands of volunteer hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars in community donations.


From 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, the Rock Prairie Master Gardener Association is inviting people to celebrate Rotary Botanical Gardens' 20th Anniversary.


The general public, past and current volunteers, donors and master gardeners are all invited.


The event will feature guided tours of the gardens, with docents on hand to answer gardening questions. Coffee and snacks will be served.


Admission to the gardens is free all day Wednesday.


"We're really hoping everyone will come," said Angie Haber, gardens volunteer coordinator. "The gardens are really gorgeous right now. All the annuals are in full bloom, and everything looks very lush."


The Rock Prairie Master Gardeners are involved in a variety of community projects throughout Rock County, but the group donates a lot of time to Rotary Gardens.


"They are very, very involved here," Haber said.


Over its 20 years, the garden has garnered a variety of accolades from national organizations including:


-- Named one of the best—and least known—botanic gardens in the Midwest by the American Horticultural Society.


-- Recognition from the Hardy Fern Foundation for the moss and fern garden. The fern collection at the gardens is recognized as one of the best in the country.


-- The Japanese garden consistently ranked one of the top 25 in North America.


-- A national award from All-America Selections for the collection of historical AAS winners.


-- Being named national display garden for the American Hosta Society and the American Hemerocallis (daylily) Society.


-- Rotary Gardens will be featured in 2010 as part of the American Iris Society national convention for displaying 500 new varieties.


The gardens receive no tax dollars, and admission generally $5. However, the gardens feature free admission on the first Wednesday's of the month.



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