Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Khlem Arboretum

I want to thank everyone of my friends who kindly wished my father a speedy recovery. Altho we still don't know the cause of his illness, he seems to be doing better. He is spending a few weeks in a therapy center getting his strength back. We hope he will go home soon.

The last of my stash of photos from the Council of Rockford Gardeners garden walk June 17, 2009. Khlem Arboretum my last stop on the tour that day.

If the name Khlem sounds familiar, you are probably familiar with the family that has maintained a presence in the nursery business in Illinois for over half a century. A little history about the arboretum. Landscape architect William Lincoln Taylor established this 155-acre site in 1910. My Taylor used the land to introduce and study rare trees he wanted to use in his landscape business.

In 1968 the Khlem family bought the land and maintained the plantings, then in 1990 they decided to donate the land to the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District with the stipulation it be used as a forest preserve. A team of arborists inventoried the site and determined that it contained an assortment of rare plant life unlike anywhere else in the US.

A singularly unattractive education center was built and a maze of roads, parking lots and paved paths now overwhelm the once natural landscape. In spite of the 'improvements' the arboretum still has much of it's original charm.

I was really taken with this birch birdhouse. I may try to copy it for my home garden.

When I think of Khlem's, I think of peonies. The family has hybridized some lovely varieties. The arboretum features a large formal peony garden.

The water features are my favorite. This is truly a lovely place to sit and soak up the restful atmosphere.

These shallow bogs contain some lovely plants. They are also a favorite bathing and drinking spot for birds.

Water rushes over the rocks and falls into the lily pond.

A bridge crosses the creek and enters the wooded area.