Your back yard…more beautiful than a tropical rainforest?

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11605903927954.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of‘, ‘The Common Wood Violet, native to Illinois and its state flower, is and upright perrenial whose preferred habitat is the roadside, edge of dense woods, open fields and prairies.’);

Early Midwesterners wrote of the prairie having wildflowers more beautiful than that of the tropical rainforest! It may be hard to believe, but Rockford, and the rest of the Midwest, is a treasure trove of beautiful indigenous flora.

Alan Branhagan, renowned horticulturist, will share some of his garden wisdom as he presents “Midwestern Originals” at Sage—an evening of garden wisdom Wednesday, Oct. 18, at Giovanni’s Restaurant. He states that “Rockford is a treasure chest of Midwestern plant specialties, and it is amazing to discover the riches that exist right in our own back yards.”

Branhagan is the director of horticulture at Powell Gardens in Kingsville, Kan. and is designing the signature Heartland Harvest Garden, planned as the nation’s premier edible landscape. His home garden has more than 1,200 types of perennials and is certified as a flora and fauna sanctuary. He is well known in the Rockford region and was instrumental in the development and design of several gardens at Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden while working for the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District.

Sage—an evening of garden wisdom is a fund-raiser for Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden, one of “Rockford’s originals.” In addition to a sumptuous autumn dinner and the featured presentation, the evening’s silent auction, Mother Nature’s Nursery will provide opportunities to support projects that will enhance ongoing operations at the arboretum. There are Garden Enrichments which range from the sponsorship of a planter or tree to funding the enhancement of a plant collection and Outdoor Pursuits, which offer unique adventures from exclusive tours to social activities. Everyone is welcome to attend Sage—An evening of garden wisdom, and help support Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden, a growing community treasure. For more information or to charge by phone, call 965-8146 or online at

Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden is at 2701 Clifton Ave. just off South Main Street in southwest Rockford. Come experience this unique “living museum” of rare and unusual specimens and beautiful gardens. Open year-round, daily from 9 a.m-4 p.m., September thru May and 9 a.m.-8 p.m., June thru August. For more information, visit Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden online at or call 965-8146.

From the Oct. 11-17, 2006, issue

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