Garden Photo of the Day

A restored sunken garden in Illinois

Photo/Illustration: All photos courtesy of Karen Cherry

Today’s photos are from Karen Cherry in Illinois. She says, “In 2009 I started helping a group restore a public garden in Shelbyville, Illinois. It’s called the Sunken Garden because in the early 1900’s it was a pond used, during free time by Chautauqua attendants, on warm summer days.

“After a swimming pool was built, the pond was drained and it quickly became a trash dump. In 1932, two local men initiated the garden after researching gardens like Bellingrath in Mobile, AL. Our group the “Friends of the Shelbyville Sunken Garden”, along with many volunteers, have worked tirelessly, fundraising, planting, weeding, and watering, toward our restoration goals of a low-maintenance floral display. If you would like more information about the garden please see our website,”

Wow, Karen, that’s so great! It’s fascinating to see the progression of the restoration. All of the hard work has definitely paid off. What a treasure for your city! Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

——Winter is the perfect time to take a photographic stroll through the photos you took in your garden this year……and then send some in to me at [email protected]!

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View Comments


  1. dirtgirl1949 01/13/2014

    Karen, what fabulous photos! It is wonderful to see this beautiful garden restored to its former glory. Well done to you and your fellow volunteers. Will definitely be checking out the website. Keep up the good work!

  2. gloriaj 01/13/2014

    It was a good idea to restore this garden, It has a serene feel to it. I can just see myself sitting in one of the seating areas and mediating and relaxing. The plants your group chose seem perfect as they are low maintenance. The landscaping was well done. Good job to your group.

  3. user-1020932 01/13/2014

    i do love seeing the efforts of people to save,restore and give back to the community something from the past. i'm sure this has been no easy task and the results are beautiful.

  4. flowerladydi 01/13/2014

    Karen,,,, it is beautiful,,, truly a labor of love for you and the many who worked tirelessly to create this,, to restore a treasure,,,I am sure not only you and your fellow workers, but the community as a whole feels a sense of pride to have such a beautiful garden ,,,, and it will be enjoyed by many for years to come. Beautiful!

  5. GardenGrl1 01/13/2014

    This was an INCREDIBLE transformation! It is a beautiful garden. The water feature is absolutely lovely.

    I will echo GloriaJ & Dirtgirl1949, Great job and keep up the good work!

  6. GardenGrl1 01/13/2014

    This was an INCREDIBLE transformation! It is a beautiful garden. The water feature is absolutely lovely.

    I will echo GloriaJ & Dirtgirl1949, Great job and keep up the good work!

  7. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/13/2014

    Karen, sincerest kudos to you and all your fellow volunteers and contributors in this successful endeavor. The additional pictures on the website are also wonderful...I love the beaming faces of the brides and grooms as they get to "seal the deal" in front of that beautiful water feature. Your community is very fortunate to have such a lovely public area...especially one with a connection to the past.

  8. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 01/13/2014

    That great old stone work was begging fo a great garden. Kudos.

  9. wittyone 01/13/2014

    What a beautiful job you all have done. It's wonderful to see a group of people working together to make their little part of the world a more beautiful place.

  10. greengenes 01/13/2014

    What a beautiful place! And how great to b a part in it!I love the rocks..They are my favorite parts of any gardens..Do you have problems though with keeping people out of the pond on a hot day? That would be so tempting! You all have done a wonderful job1 Thanks for sending this to us!

  11. jagardener 01/13/2014

    A really good project and your efforts have been rewarded with a beautiful garden. Especially love the water feature. Keep up the good work!

  12. GrannyMay 01/13/2014

    What a beautiful garden! Kudos Karen to you, the "Friends of the Shelbyville Sunken Garden" and the volunteers. Having looked at the excellent slideshow on the website, I can see what a wonderful asset this garden is to your community, and the enormous effort that was required to get it to this stage. May it continue to have the support and funding required to keep it a perfect setting for both private and community events for years to come. Congratulations!

  13. tractor1 01/13/2014

    I enjoyed all the before and after photos. It's an amazing transformation and is still evolving. Keep up the good work.

  14. janeeliz 01/13/2014

    What a great job you've done restoring this garden! It is unique and very beautiful in all seasons. You also did a wonderful job documenting the process. Your community must be very proud to have this very special restored garden.... a place for all to enjoy....again.

  15. GrannyCC 01/13/2014

    Beautiful garden restoration. Congratulations to all who participated.

  16. Meelianthus 01/13/2014

    What an incredible project! The restoration is beautifully done and what a delight it must have been to walk thru the finished product. I also enjoyed the website. Thank you.

  17. arthurb3 01/13/2014


  18. cwheat000 01/14/2014

    Lovely! Love the old photos. How nice to bring it back.

  19. Joyce70 01/14/2014

    What a wonderful project for your community. It's historical and will be beautiful.

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