Friday, August 14, 2015

Yesterday I went with the Master Gardeners on a tour of the Dubuque Botanical Gardens and they were magnificent.  I rode with a gardener who just moved to the lake and her best friend.  Book Club friend, Joan, was my buddy for the day.  The drive to Galena was beautiful as usual.  We all chatted during the drive and I got to know all of the girls a lot better.

We arrived at the gardens about 9:45 and walked with a gentleman who had worked there as a volunteer for so many years he forgot how many.  He filled us in on the history of the garden.  They rent the acreage from the city of Dubuque and the garden is tended by volunteers.  They have only one paid employee.  The lady at the front desk is in her nineties and was a charm.  They get volunteers from people doing community service and companies that require their employees to volunteer so many hours a year.  What a wonderful city Dubuque must be.

We toured the herb garden first and I could have just lived there.  I saw many herbs that I was not familiar with.  They had a sign for a Chinese parsley but the plant was dead and I couldn’t see what it looked like.  Note to self:  look this up on line.

There was a formal English garden and a really lovely Japanese garden.  There was a garden entirely of hostas and we got to meet the couple that maintains that garden.  Each garden is adopted by an individual and they plan the design and supervise the volunteers who do the actual work.

At the Japanese garden our tour guide yelled at a little boy who threw a rock into the pond.  No rock throwing here.  I commented to Joan that I wondered what he would do if I just took a big leap and did a cannonball into the pond.  She said she didn’t think he would like it too well.  There was a beautiful waterfall with moss growing all over it.  The place was so peaceful.

The perennial garden was very well planned and the color schemes were so pretty.  The annual garden consisted of individual gardens with just that one annual.  I saw so many different plants and they were all labeled as to what they were with formal names and common names.  That was very educational.  Our guide said some of the plants were planted thirty years ago when they first started the gardens.

People in the community donate plants that they thin from their own yards and gardens.  I was truly amazed at how well the garden was maintained.  A lot of the beds were mulched with leaves which I thought such a good idea.

We had lunch which we had packed in a screened in porch at the back of the gift shop.  It was very nice and not too hot.

After lunch we took a golf cart tour with another gentleman volunteer.  He took us to the top of a hill that was planted with all different kinds of evergreen trees and shrubs.  Everything was labeled here also.

Our guide took us to where they kept the machinery and we met the couple who do another garden at the park.  We toured the outer perimeter which abuts a scout camp and another youth camp.  There were kids lined up to zip line.  We saw one girl go and watched as she flew across the big gulch below.  Oh I want to do that so badly.

We ended our golf cart tour and some went to the Prairie garden but it looked too buggy for me and it was beginning to get hotter.  I went back to the herb garden and strolled for a while and decided I needed some shade.  I sauntered over to the hosta garden and enjoyed the shaded area.  I wandered around and took in the Japanese garden from a different standpoint.  There are little ponds above it that connect to another one below it and another below that.

We were introduced to the dripping pond at the bottom where the water just drips slowly into the little pool.  It was a beautiful place to meditate.

We gathered back together and decided it was time to head home.  One the way back we stopped at a lovely little nursery and Joan purchase a Baptisia plant that is supposed to be a plant that deer don’t like.  She is having a deer problem this year.

We made it back to Freeport and I drove Joan home.  I got back to my house around 4:45 and brought dinner from Freeport.  We had a picnic with fried chicken, potato salad and cole slaw.  Got the day off from cooking, thank you very much.

Well I screwed up putting in the photos.  The top on is looking down into the formal English garden, the second is the Master Gardeners and the bottom is the Japanese garden.

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