July 21, 2022
Something unwelcome happened to me at Rotary Botanical Gardens on the last day of the Madison Fling. My trusty old Nikon D5000 camera croaked. Well, it didn’t actually die, but the shutter began to stick, leaving a painterly slash of black across each photo. I felt a stab of dismay to have lost the use of my “real” camera at RBG and the other gardens remaining on the tour. But with my iPhone 12 Mini in my pocket, I could still take pictures, although the Mini’s camera doesn’t capture as much detail as my Nikon, except up close. The upside? Freed from my compulsion to photograph every scene, I’d have more time to explore with friends and just enjoy being in the garden. And so I did.
First, here’s a little info about Rotary Botanical Gardens, located in Janesville, 40 miles southeast of Madison:
“The Gardens occupy the site of an abandoned sand and gravel quarry on Palmer Drive. In 1988, the original site between Lions Beach and Kiwanis Pond was covered with debris and used as storage for the Parks Department and a BMX bicycle racetrack. The Gardens’ founder and original visionary, retired orthodontist Dr. Robert Yahr, approached the two Rotary Clubs in Janesville and inquired about their interest in developing a botanical garden for the community to enjoy. Both clubs agreed to this service project. Dr. Yahr’s original idea was to clean up the pond and surrounding area as a club project, but his imagination began to soar and the result was an ambitious new project for Janesville Rotarians.”
Hence the name Rotary Botanical Gardens.
RBG’s 20 acres offer a lot of different gardens to explore, but we didn’t have much time after lunch. Instead of rushing about, I simply enjoyed sitting and visiting with friends. Here are some of my good friends from the Austin Instagardening community, looking delighted to be outdoors in 78-degree weather in June. From front to back there’s Laura, Lori, Diana, Cat, and me.
Selfies in our colorful adirondacks seemed like a good idea. The wind had other plans.
Cat shared this funny, wind-haloed-hat selfie with me. I love her surprised and laughing reaction. We were having fun.
Lori and Cat shrank to child size in an oversized red adirondack.
When my Nikon croaked I was in the Japanese garden, and I rephotographed some of the scenes with my phone.
I was able to crop in and salvage a few images from the malfunctioning Nikon, like this one of Cat…
…and this quiet scene with a curvy water vessel.
Japanese garden gate
As we wandered, I mainly left my phone in my pocket. However, I did take a moment to capture this lovely archway from the former headquarters of the Parker Pen Company, founded in Janesville.
As we waited to board the bus, I snapped this photo of fellow Flingers Teri, Diana, and Laura. Their smiles show how much we were all enjoying the beautiful day.
Up next: The backyard woodland garden of Rita Thomas. For a look back at the exuberantly planted and decorated garden of Jim Ottney and Jay Hatheway, click here.
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