“I want not wealth; I want not power; heaven is beyond my hopes. Then let me stroll through the bright hours as they pass, in my garden among my flowers.”
– Lao Ch’ien, A.D. 365-427, Quote from Peach Blossom Fountain
The Rock Garden’s trickling streams, quiet pools, waterfalls and dynamic rockwork create an intimate, woodland grotto. Silvery-white birch trees and an array of shade-loving, woodland plants from around the world fill the Garden with color and interest year-round.
In early spring, the Rock Garden is carpeted with Wisconsin wildflowers and the delicate blooms of Asian and European bulbs. As spring flows into summer, Japanese Primroses and Siberian Irises lead off a parade of flowering perennials. Summer gives rise to a host of ferns, fragrant-flowered Japanese Hostas, and bright South American and African tropical flowers. Gold birch leaves fall like coins in autumn and Dwarf Conifers put the sleepy, early winter garden to bed.
Whatever time of year you visit the Rock Garden, you are sure to be greeted by gentle beauty!
Alfred Boerner, for whom the Gardens are named, developed this lush, tranquil garden from an old gravel pit. Between the construction years 1934-1941, over 1000 tons of weathered limestone were quarried and moved from Currie Park to the Gardens where they were then assembled in naturalistic layers. It was Alfred Boerner’ s desire to have the finished stone work ” look as though it (occurred as) the result of the natural process of weathering…” Today the layered stone is grown over with ferns and groundcover, and the effect is as Boerner had hoped, like “…no man had played a part in it.”
William Ragio, a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) worker, remembered his involvement with the building of the Rock Garden this way, “it was like building the pyramids. Stone slabs, many weighing several thousand pounds were put in place on rollers and there were lots of damaged toes.”