Winter Appeal

Moving Forward, Looking Back

Dear Klehm Supporters,

GREAT NEWS!  At long last, the road and urban renewal projects are near completion and South Main Street reopened to two-way traffic over the Thanksgiving holiday.  The orange barrels are gone and have been replaced with trees and flowers in the stretch of South Main to be known as the Arboretum District.

Klehm had a banner year in 2016.  Several events were rebranded with great success.  First, Garden Fair Weekend was reinvented as a two-day garden, art, and antique fair and it was hugely popular; the number of vendors, visitors and revenue rose incrementally.  Our Hot Diggity Dog Festival, this fall, had a name change and we added food, beer, activities and entertainment along with the regular lineup of adoptable dogs and pet related booths. Wrapping up the year, we hosted our first Holiday event in quite a few years.  The Visitor Center was transformed into a festive, twinkling venue entertaining guests with melodious vocals, instrumentals, and decadent desserts.  In addition, our longtime spring fundraiser,  Botanica, was relocated back “home” to the Klehm Gallery Room with a favorable response from our attendees.  Many volunteers and community businesses give their time and resources to make these events memorable and beneficial for the Arboretum.

I am thankful for many grounds improvements this year, too. A unique glass sculpture “The Glassinator” was added to the Demonstration Gardens to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Rockford Garden Club.  This fall over 2,500 daffodil bulbs, courtesy of the Daffodil Society, were planted along South Main Street for a big splash of spring color for years to come.  Efforts are also underway to restore the oak grove around the Vi Bates Wildflower Garden. Our most exciting announcement is the addition of our new outdoor venue opening in 2017 and already booked for several weddings.  The Garden Pavilion & Terrace, a 60’x100’ white “tent” structure and a spacious patio will be located adjacent to the Fountain Garden. This structure will host up to 400 guests for wedding receptions, corporate parties and Klehm events such as Garden Fair Weekend, where it will reduce tent rental fees and provide shelter for vendors who want their merchandise protected from the elements.

None of this is possible without the support of Klehm’s dedicated members, donors, and volunteers whose financial support is both critical and essential to maintaining the quality of the grounds and facilities.  I have included a quote from a recent note I received from a member; “I have so much respect for Klehm, not only its collections but also its connections to nature, beauty, and serenity. That’s why I love to come out in all seasons and go for a walk.”  This is the essence of what Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden is all about: space to breathe, relax, de-stress and absorb the pleasures of nature.

Every contribution received goes to fulfilling this mission: To maintain a living museum for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of all people.  So as you consider your charitable giving this holiday season, please consider supporting Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden efforts with a gift that will help support Klehm’s mission, programs, spectacular grounds and future developments.


Dan Riggs
Executive Director
Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden

P.S. Your contribution goes to direct support of the arboretum, gardens, and programs!