Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Yesterday I went on a tour through Kleim Arboretum in Rockford, Illinois.  The tour was arranged by the Lake Summerset Garden Club.  I didn’t meet up at the Lodge to carpool as I had a date after the tour to help my friend can tomatoes.

The arboretum provided a trolley and ten of us boarded up and took a twenty minute tour of the paved area of the facility.  The paved area is 1.5 miles and it was quite pleasant to ride it.  The facility is 155 acres and has many unpaved but tended paths to walk.  Our driver gave us historical information as well as information about the plants.

All the trees are labeled as to what genus and species.  I really like this because I am not knowledgeable about trees.  I know a maple from an oak but that is about it.
The place began as a nursery back in the 50’s and changing hands a couple of times it has evolved into quite the lovely arboretum.

I had visited once before with friend, Garnet, but there was a school group of children there that day and we stayed away from them and on the other side of the gardens.  The children’s garden is in the center of the grounds and has a maze of shrubbery.  I was inquisitive about the maze and after our riding tour I sauntered over to the children’s garden by myself.

I climbed the huge staircase next to the maze and if you know me you know how I hate heights.  I just wanted a photo from the top of the maze showing what it looked like.  I stood about a yard away from the edge and held my camera up high.  I got down quickly.  I had to walk around the maze to find the entrance.

I could almost recall the screams of joy from the kids who had been playing there the last time I visited.  I thought for a moment, “what if I can’t find my way out?”  Silly me.  I stayed close to the entrance!

The garden is so nice.  They have many little gardens amongst the trees.  There are over 500 woody plant species in the park.  It is all about the trees.  They have six demonstration gardens to get ideas for your own gardens.  They do have a vegetable garden and I had to go look at the tomatoes and was not surprised to see that the same thing happening to my tomatoes is happening to theirs.  I admit that I ate a little green pepper because they had hundreds on the vine.  I also had a nasturtium.  Little snack before lunch.

One other garden I enjoyed was the ornamental grasses garden.  I am thinking of trying to grow some where the day lilies are now.  I hate day lilies and I am getting rid of them.  They cover up my Daddy’s garden.  I’ll be more careful with the grasses.

We had a catered luncheon and I enjoyed my turkey sandwich and fruit cup.  I didn’t eat the carrot sticks because I can’t eat carrots unless they come from my garden.  Especially in the summer.  I don’t eat cardboard, thank you.

I left after our Garden Club meeting which was short because our President is in the hospital awaiting a knee replacement.

I called my little girlfriend, Noeha (means peace in Egyptian), and got directions to her place.  She lives way out in the country and I had been there twice but I’m not good at directions.  I get lost a lot.  But it is exciting.  I sometimes have more fun being lost than being where I am supposed to be.

I stopped and picked up lemon juice because I didn’t have any and neither did Noeha.  I had packed all my stuff up the night before.  When I got to her place and unpacked I realized I had forgotten my pressure regulator.  We couldn’t use my steam canner.  She had a blue water bath canner so we were okay.

Next problem – how to sanitize the jars?  I opted for filling my canner with water, adding the jars and heating the water.  I filled the canner with water and while taking it out of the sink I popped off their water spout.  Woops!  Thank goodness her 6’6” husband was strong enough to pop it back on.

We talked and laughed and she fed the baby, Atticus.  I washed and cut up tomatoes.  For some reason she doesn’t peel her tomatoes when she cans them.  I told her my mother was turning over in her grave!  To each her own.

We worked together and had such a nice visit for a couple of hours.  We put on the second batch of 7 quarts and I packed up to go.  I had to have a photo to commemorate the day.  She is such a dear.  My girls and her two older sisters were close friends.  Her mom and dad are both dear friends of mine.  She is a new mama and I wanted to help her out and this is how I did it.

Another day in paradise.

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