Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden (63 ha / 155 acres) is a nonprofit arboretum and botanical garden located at 2715 South Main Street, Rockford, Illinois.
The arboretum was first established in 1910 as Rockford Nursery by landscape architect William Lincoln Taylor, who planted many of the arboretum’s trees. The Klehm family purchased the nursery in 1968 and maintained it until 1985, when they donated the property to the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District as an arboretum. In the early 1990s, the site was inventoried, a master plan developed, and a capital campaign undertaken. Garden plantings began in 1994.
The arboretum includes a pre-settlement Bur Oak grove (5 ha / 12 acres) whose largest trees are estimated to be over 300 years old. It also includes over 50 species and cultivars of Conifers, representing nine groups from North America, Europe, and Asia, such as Firs, Junipers, Spruces, Pines, Douglas Fir, Yews, Arborvitae, Hemlock, Nikko Firs, Meyer’s Spruce, Common Juniper, Arborvitae, and the Threadleaf Sawara Falsecypress.
The European collection includes mature Norway Maple, Field Maple, Pedunculate Oak, English Elm, European Beech, Common Horsechestnut, Mountain Pine and Scots Pine, as well as European Larch, European Hornbeam and Spindle Tree. The East Asian collection includes Cork Trees, Japanese Red and White Magnolia, Flowering Quince, and various Honeysuckles. The Northern America collection includes American Beech, Yellow Buckeye, Cucumbertree Magnolia, Tulip Tree, Ponderosa Pine, Colorado Spruce, and Douglas Fir.
Other woody plants include Basswood, Red Buckeye, Black Cherry, American Chestnut, Dogwood, Fringe Tree, Hackberry, Hemiptelea, Japanese Pagoda Tree, Shagbark Hickory, Umbrella Magnolia, Scarlet Oak, White Oak, Redbud, Carolina Silverbell, Sourwood, Sweetgum, Viburnum, Black Walnut, and Wisteria.
The gardens include a Butterfly Garden, Daylily Garden, Demonstration Gardens, Fountain Garden, Grass Garden, Hosta Garden, Nancy Olson Children’s Garden, and a Prehistoric Garden (with Cycads, Baldcypress, Ferns, Ginkgo, Horsetails, Mosses, Bristlecone Pine, and Dawn Redwood).
Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden is a 155-acre living museum filled with spectacular gardens and rare trees. There’s beauty in every season from fragrant magnolia trees in spring and a butterfly garden in summer to the brilliant colors of fall and snow-capped evergreens in winter.
A 1.8 mile, accessible paved path winds through the arboretum plus many secondary, chipped trails. Kids will have fun navigating the maze in the Children’s Garden. Filled with botanic beauty, Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden is waiting for you to explore.
For visitor information or to arrange for a tour call 815-965-8146 or visit www.klehm.org.
Mission: To maintain a living museum for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of all people.