It’s not exactly what one first thinks of when they think of Janesville, Wisconsin. About an hour south of Madison and an hour and a half from the suburbs of Chicago, Janesville is the home of Parker pens, Chevy Tahoes and other manufacturing goods that are now made elsewhere (or not made at all). It is a blue-collar union town with a long history in Wisconsin. Brilliantly, it is also home to the Janesville Rotary Garden- and it is worth the visit.
For my 30th birthday a few years ago, I wanted only one thing: to go see this garden. It was the perfect present. It was a misty-drizzly day so we had it all to ourselves.
A comparatively small garden, it is easy to navigate in an hour or so- although it is worth as much time as you can give it.
Some of its unexpected features include a Japanese bridge over a pond flanked by mature trees and hostas, and long sweeping borders. I was most impressed by the color aesthetic of the gardener- all of the color combinations were well-chosen, as you can see for yourself below.
In my dream world, my own Hosta garden would be as nice and large as this one was.
Should you be driving through Janesville, take some time off the interstate and explore this great garden. Its small size makes it a very manageable stop, its beauty makes it worth the short detour.