1455 Palmer Drive, Janesville, WI  (608) 752-3885

About the Gardens

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Welcome to Rotary Botanical Gardens

Rotary Botanical Gardens is a 20-acre internationally themed botanical garden.  There are more than 18 different garden areas represented, with more being added yearly.

Rotary Gardens was founded in 1989.  The site was previously home to a sand & gravel company, cattle auctions, BMX bike races, and later became a holding area for items unwanted by the city. 

Dr. Robert Yahr, a local orthodontist and Rotarian, envisioned the area as the site for a botanical garden.  Local Rotary Clubs were instrumental in beginning the project.  Rotary Gardens is now its own not-for-profit organization. 

A corps of  approximately 400 volunteers contributes nearly 20,000 hours of their time each year, assisting in everything from grounds maintenance to greeting visitors, guiding tours to preparing mailings.

The Gardens were built by volunteer contributions and participation.  There were no tax dollars involved in this process for the first ten years.  In recent years, the city has donated money to cover a portion of our annual budget; however, in 2004 eliminated their portion from Rotary Gardens operational budget.  The majority of our budget is still funded through private donations from corporations, local businesses, and individuals.   The Friends of Rotary Gardens program is an ideal way for individuals, businesses, and families to support the ongoing operations of Rotary Gardens.

Grounds Collections

  • Woody Plants (trees, shrubs, vines) 1101 taxa (3,121 specimens)
  • Perennials 2,506 taxa (6,824 specimens)
  • Bulbs 970 taxa (380,000 total bulbs)
  • Seasonal Plantings 800 annual taxa (100,000 plants)

Noteworthy Collections

  • Daffodils (Narcissus) 300+ varieties
  • Ornamental Onion (Allium) 54 varieties (spring bloomers)
  • Hostas 300+ varieties
  • Daylilies 300+ varieties
  • Ferns 250 varieties

Seasonal Collections

  • Salvia (155 varieties, 2007)
  • Tomato, Eggplant, Pepper, Basil (50 varieties each, 2007)
  • All-America Selections (200 varieties, 2006)
    View www.all-americaselections.org/Rotary_Gardens.asp to see collection
  • Nicotiana (80 varieties, 2006)
  • Celosia (115 varieties, 2005)
  • Snapdragon (220 varieties, 2005)
  • Zinnia (154 varieties, 2004)
  • Morning Glory (40 varieties, 2003)

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