We are happy to be back!!
The FREE 2022 Council of Rockford Gardeners Garden Walk will be held Wednesday July 6 from 1-8 pm, rain or shine.
In the future, the Garden Walk will always take place on the first Wednesday after July 4th.
After a 2-year hiatus, due to the pandemic restrictions, we are proud to present a safe, spectacular day visiting some of the Rockford area’s finest gardens. Once again, in our 30-plus year tradition we exhibit six gardens that truly represent the deep history of gardening in our community.
For a printable version: map and garden descriptions
Garden Walk Descriptions:
- Hoelting Garden | 1301 Red Oak Lane | Rockford, IL 61107
Creating our cottage garden began in 1986. This was a newly constructed home, the yard a blank slate. Perennials in primarily purples and pinks which are hardy, easy to maintain with long bloom times were planted. During the last 36 years I have worked my way through the entire yard changing and adding beds. This process of trial and error has been a labor of love. Plants have been divided and moved to create new beds. Sometimes I have moved plants more than once to find just the right spot. Coordinating the colors, shapes and textures of two or more plants continues to be challenging. Pots of annuals are dispersed in order to bridge the gap between the various bloom times of the perennials. As you peruse through the yard you will see combinations with phlox, bee balm, shasta daisy, cranesbill geranium, astilbe, hosta, ferns, heuchera, clematis, allium, sedum, penstemon, salvia, Russian sage, spiderwort, cushion spurge and others. Trees and shrubs such as hydrangea, peonies, ninebark, baptisia, and spirea provide continuous color throughout the seasons. You will also notice native plants growing throughout the beds.
- Owens Garden | 2627 Point O Woods Drive | Rockford, IL 61114
A brick walkway leads to an elevated front door, there is a large pachysandra bed to the left and white pines on both sides. Coral bells, evergreens, annuals, and ground covers flourish nearby. The flagstone walk on the right, leading to the backyard, passes feather reed grasses, various hostas, ground covers, evergreens, and burning bushes. The backyard presents an array of different pine trees and a European beech tree. Here are acid-loving plants including ground covers, azaleas, hydrangeas, and assorted flowers. Our backyard is home to a paved stone patio with seating and a fire pit, as well as a raised porch. A line of arborvitaes along the property’s east edge affords privacy. This space features a host of flowers, many in hanging baskets. Included are lamb’s ear, roses, impatiens, lilacs, dianthus, rhododendrons, various euonymus, and Twist and Shout hydrangeas. These, along with the birdbath and feeders, attract many birds and butterflies. Walk the path to the north side and view golden Japanese forest grass. Approaching the driveway, visitors will find sedums, boxwoods, a globe blue spruce, a Tina crabapple, Japanese maples, hostas, and more white pines.
- Ketcher Garden | 3345 Alta Vista Road | Rockford, IL 61107
Welcome to our garden which began its journey of development in 2004. As visitors enter through the arbor of climbing hydrangea they will experience the butterfly garden, then hear the splashing of the dual waterfall entering a pond with water lilies and various aquatic plants. Follow the winding decomposed granite path through shades of green, different textures, and periodic splashes of color. The challenge: juglone toxicity and what to grow with five black walnut trees spread throughout the yard. Guests will find many ornamental grasses, more than one hundred varieties of hostas, ferns, and woodland plants. Each plant or grouping of plants has been marked with its common name. Enjoy the serenity our garden offers!
- Webber Garden | 1016 Parkwood Avenue | Rockford, IL 61107
We are so happy to be welcoming visitors to our backyard garden. We were scheduled a few years ago to show our garden highlighting our 100+ year old oak tree. For all the years we lived here, our oak provided shade to almost our entire back yard. In the 1980’s however, it lost its first large branch. After that our stately oak lost other large branches, one by one, following rain storms or strong winds. In the meantime, we continued enlarging our gardens; Carol added shade perennials, and Dan put in a Koi pond off our deck. In 2017, we decided this was the perfect time to show our garden. Then, just 2 weeks before the garden walk and following another storm, a huge limb broke off, damaging plantings large and small, requiring the tree to be removed and, of course, canceling our garden walk. Today, we’ve replaced the plantings that the oak took out and we use its large shortened trunk as a means to display potted annuals. We welcome you and hope you enjoy your walk through our garden.
- Panek Garden | 116 Dawson Avenue | Rockford, IL 61107
Our romantic garden is quaint like a French country cottage garden. We built it from scratch. Plants were selected over the last ten years for their color, texture, sustenance, and long bloom period. Our design features an evolving show that begins after each winter nap. A multitude of tulips and other spring goodies emerge and delight. At each stage until late fall, something new comes up to replace what has faded and gone back to sleep. The garden attracts pollinators and other creatures that we enjoy watching from our outdoor kitchen or from our little pool. The front of the garden is planted with cool colors that evoke tranquility. The back of the garden exhibits pops of cheery color. Vegetables and herbs are interspersed. Even the alleyway is incorporated, planted to mimic a country lane; folks walk their dogs and hold hands as they pass through. Many neighbors also have planted their skirts of the alley, and included iris starts from the garden of my dear departed mother. I love that they’ve loved these; and I get to see Mom all over the place!
- Drnek Garden | 2418 E State Street | Rockford, IL 61108
The microburst storm of July 5, 2003 left this nearly half-acre yard devastated with a loss of many old shade trees. It required a complete redesign and revamp. Amazingly, two historic trees—a maple and a basswood – survived along with kousa and pagoda dogwoods. Numerous new trees were planted, bringing the total to more than twenty and including hybrid American elms resistant to the Dutch Elm disease, linden, Korean spruce, and hemlocks. Many varieties of hostas were also divided and relocated. Now there is an oasis along a busy street. This has become a backyard retreat for our family; we sit on the patio to grill and watch visiting wildlife drawn to the plantings and the pond. The border areas are appreciated by many neighbors on foot and by folks in cars passing by. We welcome spring with columbines, peonies, lungwort, and bleeding hearts. As the weeks pass into summer, our garden features a bounty of blooms including lilies, phlox, delphiniums, daylilies, coneflowers, bee balm, cup plant, and salvia. There is almost always something in bloom in our garden from spring to fall.
Do you have a garden to show?
If you have a beautiful garden or can recommend someone who does, it might be perfect to be showcased at a future Garden Walk. The Council of Rockford Gardeners has been hosting Free Garden Walks for about 30 years. This event, held the 2nd Wednesday in July, has become one of the premiere garden walks in Northern Illinois. We are always looking for unique area gardens, large or small to be a part of our annual Free Garden Walk. Sharing your garden can be a very rewarding experience and a great gift to the gardening community. If you would be interested in finding out more details, please contact us by clicking here.
Photos from the FREE 2019 Garden Walk
Click on any garden image to begin a slide show.
The FREE 2018 Garden Walk was enjoyed by a record number of garden enthusiasts!
2017 Garden Walk
Enjoy a photo journey through the 2016 Garden Walk – Click Here
Enjoy a photo journey through the 2015 Garden Walk – Click Here
Enjoy a photo journey through the 2014 Garden Walk – Click Here
Enjoy a photo journey through the 2013 Garden Walk – Click Here
Enjoy a photo journey through the 2012 Garden Walk – Click Here