Last May for Mother's Day weekend we met the kids and grandkids in Rockford, Illinois. It was a good halfway meeting point for all of us: around a four hour drive. Our first stop was a picnic lunch at the Nicholas Conservatory Gardens, which I wrote all about in LAST WEEK's POST. After our meal and tour around those gardens, we then got back in our cars and drove five minutes away to our next and main attraction: Anderson Japanese Gardens.
The Anderson Japanese Gardens is a twelve acre garden that was originally the swampy backyard of Rockford businessman John Anderson. He was inspired by a visit to the Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon that he hired Hoichi Kurisu in 1978 to transform his yard into the beauty it is today. In 1998 the Andersons donated the garden to the Rockford Rotary Charitable Association.
Anderson Japanese Garden has been named one of the highest quality Japanese Gardens in North America by Sukiya Living Magazine since 2004. And I must say, after seeing it myself, I totally agree. This is an impeccable, GORGEOUS, Japanese Garden!
Spring is a great time to visit a Japanese Garden. As most people know, Japanese Gardens generally are not known for their flowers. Their design is one of peace and tranquility. Three essential elements are found in a Japanese Garden: stone (which forms the structure of the landscape), water (representing life-giving force) and plants (which provide the color and changes throughout the seasons).
In the spring, all the beautiful flowering shrubs and trees are in bloom. We were so lucky to be there when the azaleas, dogwood, and magnolias were in full bloom. It was stunning!
There are many Japanese structures throughout the gardens. The one below is the first one you see when entering the gardens. It is the "Event Pavilion - Moyoshiba" where many special events such as the "Tuesday Evening Music Series", the "Japanese Summer Festival", and private weddings are held.
Directly across from the Event Pavilion is the "Garden of Reflection". This is a beautiful pond filled with large koi. Because it was spring, we had the joy of seeing baby goslings too! The grandchildren loved that.
At the far end of the pond there are three Angel sculptures...can you see them? John Anderson purchased them to honor his parents and his Swedish heritage.
Below is the "Main Gate - Seimon". It is a formal transition point between the contemporary Garden of Reflection and the traditional gardens.
Across from the Main Gate was the perfect spot to take photos with the gorgeous Azalea Bush and Japanese Maple.
The Anderson Japanese Gardens has many interesting Japanese Sculptures throughout its landscape.
Here is a far away shot of the area we stopped to take photos of ourselves. What a great photo
opportunity! You couldn't ask for a prettier backdrop.
Water is everywhere in this garden! There are two large ponds, waterfalls, and a creek that runs through the entire garden.
Where there is water, there has to be bridges to cross over the water. They had so many different types of bridges, as you will see for yourself when you finish reading this post. My grandchildren loved crossing all the bridges.
A small concrete and wood bridge.
I think our favorite was this little curved wooden bridge. The grandkids loved feeding the koi. You can buy koi and duck feed at the entrance to the park.
This is the path to the "Guest House - Sukiya "Andoso"'. There are large picture windows in front of the house, so you can see inside the house, but you can't physically go inside. I couldn't get any pictures because right in front of the house is a raked gravel garden which you can't step on or you'll mess it up, and if I couldn't back up into the gravel, I couldn't get the house in my camera view.
Here is the raked gravel garden. It is composed of crushed limestone. The raked patterns often represent motifs related to water. We did have a good chuckle at the duck. He did not obey the "Stay off the gravel" signs one bit!
Here's my Sweet Alethea! These gardens have so many dreamy spots to take gorgeous portraits. Plus we were blessed with a cloudy day so we never had to worry about the harsh sunlight.
I loved how everywhere we walked we saw wildlife. These ducks were everywhere: in the grass, in the water, in the woods, and even where they shouldn't be like the raked gravel garden.
The grandchildren LOVED this garden. My daughter was so surprised how much they enjoyed themselves. She thought they would be bored. I said "I think it's because there are so many bridges and secret little places to explore. The whole garden is like one big "secret garden" because you never know what's around the corner". The grandkids really loved climbing all the steps, feeding the geese and koi, seeing all the ponds and waterfalls, and walking across all the many unique bridges.
And what perfect timing to take some maternity photos. A few of you noticed in my "Alethea & Atticus Birthday Celebrations" post that my daughter was expecting again. She is going to have another little boy mid-September.
This is "Pond Strolling Garden". There is a small boardwalk that gets you right above the water.
Across the pond is the "Viewing House - Azumaya".
And this beauty is the "Tea House - Ocha Shitsu". It is a traditional tea ceremony building.
The largest and prettiest waterfall was Atticus' favorite. It is called "West Waterfall - Nishi No Taki". Fourteen hundred gallons of water circulate through the waterfall each minute. You can get super close to the falls by taking a small stone footbridge, and you can also get a far away view from a viewing deck.
This beautiful wooden bridge is the "Cypress Bridge".
On this pond, the Garden of Reflection is a "Floating Deck". You can just barely see it on the left side of the trees. I really loved the placement of the park bench between the two trees. Such a nice place to sit and relax.
Oh, we so enjoyed our stroll through the Anderson Japanese Gardens. It was one of those rare, perfect days that I didn't want to end. Everyone was in a good mood (ya'll know how a grandkid in a bad mood can ruin your travel plans) so we all had a great time. The beauty of this garden just astounded me. If you're ever in the area, I highly suggest stopping by!
The Anderson Japanese Gardens are open Monday through Friday 9:00 - 6:00 and Saturday and Sunday 9:00 - 5:00. The cost of admission is $11.00 for an adult, $9.00 for a child, and children under 5 are FREE!
Have a Great Day! Amy
Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!
So very beautiful. I love visiting different Japanese Gardens. So very nice.ReplyDelete
Thank you! I'm sure you have a lot of Japanese Gardens to go to in your area. They are kinda rare in my neck of the woods.Delete
What a really neat garden! I am awed by the sheer size of it.ReplyDelete
Yes, especially since it was originally someone's back yard.Delete
What a gorgeous area to explore Amy. We have a Japanese Garden here in Phoenix but we haven't visited it yet. It's on our list to do, but we need to wait until it cools down a little!!ReplyDelete
I can see why the kids would love it so much!!
I can't even imagine how one could have a Japanese Garden as it requires so much greenery and the types of plants they usually grow in Japanese Gardens won't grow in Phoenix. They must just use the style but different kinds of plants. Now you're gonna need to go and take plenty of pictures for me.Delete
Congratulations to the expectant parents, how wonderful!ReplyDelete
Anderson Gardens has been on my bucket list for many years now, we only live 2 hours away and I can't believe we haven't visited yet. We did almost go this Mother's Day too but since we had just done the road trip to Indianapolis a weekend or so before, we decided to skip it.
These pictures are simply beautiful! Definitely a must visit place! Thanks for sharing!
That would have been hysterical if we ran into each other there! Someday we need to do a blog meet up as I'm always in your area. But yes, you must get there! It truly was one of the nicest gardens I've ever seen.Delete
What a happy visit, and you have such a beautiful family. I've never seen a Japanese garden so wonderfully complicated. Love all the photos.ReplyDelete
thank you! Yes, it is gorgeous.Delete
Such a peaceful garden! I love the photo of you with your two grandkids and it looks like there is another on the way! I love pink dogwoods.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much Carrie!Delete
Those gardens are stunning! I've been there before and grew up in a nearby town. I actually got engaged across the street by the river! Haha!ReplyDelete
What a small world!Delete
It sure is! Thanks for visiting!Delete
que maravilla de lugar, me encanta todo lo orientalReplyDelete
It sure is. Thanks a lot.Delete
Gosh, how beautiful. WE love Japanese gardens and could spend hours there!ReplyDelete
Yes, it is. We spent a lot of time there. We didn't want to leave it was so beautiful.Delete
Oh very wonderful place darlingReplyDelete
It sure is! Thanks for stopping by.Delete
Japanese gardens are always so wonderfully intricate and gorgeous.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing your link at My Corner of the World this week!
We don't get to many in my neck of the woods. I've seen smaller ones "inside" another botanical garden, but I've never been to one of this scale. It was very nice.Delete
what a beautiful place! so serene and lovelyReplyDelete
Definitely. Thanks for visiting!Delete
What a wonderful place to share with your grandkids who are just adorable by the way! I love to visit the Japanese gardens in Balboa Park out in San Diego when we go to see our daughter. So much peace there! Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful pictures. Have a great week!ReplyDelete
Thank you! I'm sure the west coast has so many incredible Japanese Gardens.Delete
Congratulations on your daughter's pregnancy and soon-to-be third grandbaby. Your babies are precious and I look forward to meeting your newest family member this fall.ReplyDelete
What a lovely space you have featured here. I have thought it would be restful and relaxing to have a little Zen garden. Now I think so more than ever. Even the grass is cut in an artful manner. Enjoyed seeing this pretty garden.
Thank you! We are looking forward to a third grand baby too! Yes, Japanese Gardens are so peaceful.Delete
Beautiful! The Birmingham botanical gardens have a nice japenese garden but this one is even more beautiful!ReplyDelete
Thank you. I never heard of the Birmingham gardens, I will check it out.Delete
What a beautiful spot to visit and you got some really cute photos - I like that one with the grandkids! :)ReplyDelete
Hope your week is going well :)
Away From The Blue
Thank you! It's hard not to take a perfect picture there!Delete
This is such a gorgeous garden and such beautiful photos too!ReplyDelete
Life is a Shoe
Thanks so much!Delete
A peaceful and tranquil place. Great for spending the day there with loved ones. Love your beautiful photos.ReplyDelete
It sure is! Thanks so much!Delete
Wow ! Lovely place, These are beautiful Azalea blooms and maple tree is awesome. Thanks for sharing with Garden Affair.ReplyDelete
They sure are, and you're welcome!Delete
This is such a gorgeous gardenReplyDelete
It sure is! Thanks for stopping by.Delete