A Blast from the Past

Today was a miserable, rainy day outside which thwarted most of us (except Larry and John).  Larry, John, Cindy and I saw Kathy, Patrea, Dr. Gredler, Pat M., Maury (errands), Mark S. and a couple others today.  We had no shortage of indoor tasks although Larry was the toughest for outdoor work in the rain with John a close second.

A gentleman brought in some old slides of the gardens earlier this year and Doug V. scanned them for me and recently dropped them off.  While I had seen some of them before, many were new to me like the one above.  This is a shot from the slope above Lion’s Pond looking back towards the gardens.  The slope itself was formed as a side of the sand and gravel operation (pit) back in the early 1900s.  The narrow opening in the top center is where the arched bridge would go, the sandy spot to the far right is where the the alpine garden would be constructed and that little “island” is some scrub foliage on the sand bar that still exists under deeper water (where all the punk kids swim out and stage their attack on our fountain).  It’s fun to see the history and enjoy the images below.  We should never forget our humble beginnings and I’m glad we have such great records and volunteers that still remember those early years!  Some of you might remember the gardens (or “pre-gardens”) back when the photos below were taken (way before my time here!).

 pond debris and weeds near the future gazebo garden (to the right of the image)
 debris near the old BMX bike track (the future sunken garden)
laminated beams on site that would later form the supports for the Japanese arched bridge (Lion’s Beach is in the distance)
 original debris and future home of the herb gardens (Lion’s Beach is in the distance)
 original site (near current larch area) looking back to building
 early Japanese garden both above and below


 Rotarians above helping with reclamation and clean-up efforts
former Janesville City Manager, Steve Sheiffer, above with other volunteers
 the koi pond construction (1990) above
renovation of the old Wilcox Sand & Gravel building to create the Rath Environmental Center (1989)
 this garage (here facing the English cottage garden) would house the horticultural operations between 1990 and 2001 and has since been removed when the Parker Education Center was built in 2001