Garden Photo of the Day

The Rebman’s garden in Illinois

The pond as it is today.

In 1994 I told our son’s friend, who had graduated from college in architecture, that we wanted a pond in the backyard. In a week he presented us his plan and 2 months later 36 tons of gigantic stone was delivered and that’s when we looked at each other and said, “What are we doing?”  We trusted Matt (the designer) so we all “dug in.”  The hole was dug, the liners installed and the placing of the boulders began.  By winter it was filled with water and the stream bed was started.

One of our residents must be waiting for a fly.

In the years since the pond has become our “peace place”.  We live in Rockford, IL in a wooded area which had been left wild while we were busy raising our three children. As the pond has matured, it has become an oasis for us as well as nature’s visitors such as dragon flies, butter flies,  bees, birds, toads and frogs to name a few. Trust is a good thing! Thanks for sharing your amazing peaceful place with us!

This is the entrance to the woodland area from the pond.
One of our favorites, Jack-in-the-pulpit.

Early spring brings forth Virginia blue bells, Celandine poppies, Dutchman’s breeches, Bleeding-heart and more.
Sweet Woodruff loved this wet spring.
The bees and butterflies visit the sunny part of the garden.
Need we say more?

You pass under the Trumpet vine to use the side entrance.
Hyacinth bean vine cascades our front entrance.
Jack our garden prowler.

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  1. perenniallycrazy 09/26/2014

    Totally amazed and would love to see more! I love your woodland garden.

  2. NCYarden 09/26/2014

    "What are we doing?" You were taking an exciting leap and building an awesome pond. I am so jealous. Water features are fantastic garden attributes, as is evident in your garden. And that is a lot of luscious green heading into the woodland garden. Saturated! I'm drawn down that little path. I too really like jack-in-the-pulpits. We have rescued some from the flood basin near our home. Fun and great garden champs in the shade. Curious, which cultivar of Japanese maple is that by the pond? Thank you for sharing.

    1. user-5829577 09/26/2014

      Thanks so much for your comments. As to your question about the cultivar of our Japanese maple, I wasn't sure. In '94 I was just thrilled to get it in and loved it. We chose it because of a beautiful cascading branch which we invisioned arching over the falls. As we were putting it in that branch broke, but not totally, off the trunk. Our son was 14 at the time and said that he was going to graft it on....our thought was go for it. It worked! We lost it last winter which was the worst we have had in years. In fact, about 1/2 died. I called our grower who is just the best and he looked at his '95 catalogue and thought that it was "red select" inaba-shidare (?) . I looked up the leaf sturcture and color and that is it. By the way, did you know that Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) changes genders in response to their environment?

      1. NCYarden 09/27/2014

        Hi EJ, I did not know that about the jack-in-the-pulpits. Very interesting. I wonder if I have gender specific areas of the garden now. Ha.
        So sorry to hear about the loss of your japanese maple. Inaba shidare is an awesome cultivar. Winter was hard here last year as well, but being a little more southerly still helps. Well, certainly have fun shopping for a new one - always exciting.

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/26/2014

    Wow, your personally created pond has been in existence since guys were practically water feature pioneers! It is really beautiful and seems so well integrated in it placement. Obviously, Mr. Frog agrees! The entrance to your woodland area is totally beguiling and gives off such a tropical vibe with all that lush greenery. Is the shiny heartshaped leaf plant on the left of the pathway some kind of ginger? It's very eye catching.You must have great soil and/or have done a great job amending it because everything pictured seems to be growing like gangbusters.

    1. NCYarden 09/26/2014

      If I may attempt a guess, meander1, I think that might be a type of beetleweed (galax urceolata).

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 09/26/2014

        Thanks, David, for the suggestion. I just did some google reading on it and it does seem likely that's what it is. I thought the leaf looked a little large for the ginger variety I had in mind but it was the only thing I could think of that had that amount of shininess. So, do you have galax urceolata growing in your garden ?(ha, you must since you have almost everything) I don't recall ever seeing it offered in a nursery which seems a shame. It is very attractive. I think from here on in I will be keeping an eye open for it.

        1. NCYarden 09/27/2014

          I have never seen this offered at a nursery or garden center either. I believe I've read that it can be fairly particular about its locations, and as such is definitely treated as a native where found as a native. Don't hold me to that. With that said, I do not have this in my garden....yet. There is a lot in my neighborhood that was cleared about 2 years ago for a house but then abandoned, but Christine and I had walked back there just see what the wooded back end was like as it had a small feeder creek behind it. On one steep section of the banks there is a variety of galax there that I have been considering trying to transplant a little patch to my woodland garden. This dialogue has piqued my interest again. So thank you for that. Maybe I'll wander back there again soon, but I want to be sure to only take a sprig or two and not to disturb it too much so it can continue to thrive at least where it is naturally. Good luck on your search too. Let me know if you are successful.

    2. user-5829577 09/26/2014

      Thank you so much. When we built the pond in '94 there were very few guidelines to follow. Our designer wasn't a landscape archetect but had a feel for it all. The heart shaped plant you asked about is ginger (saved by a friend from an area in town which was going to be bulldozed). Our lot was a red oak forest before all of the homes were built so the soil is wonderful. We also amend the soil with mulched leaves and our compost.

  4. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/26/2014

    The pond is great and your midwest spring ephemerals are awesome. Jack in the Pulpit has been a favorite for me since childhood. Why am I not growing them in my garden! The old, stamped bricks you are using for your paths are a treasure!

  5. michaeljgoltzman 09/26/2014

    Beautiful! Very well done.

  6. user-7007236 09/26/2014

    Absolutely beautiful!

  7. hontell 09/26/2014

    WOW, I mean just WOW

  8. greengenes 09/26/2014

    How wonderful! Green and more green! My favorite color. I so love the large rocks and the brick pathway is so inviting! It seems like I went back in time. The sweet woodruff is so sweet and happy! Beautiful job and what a place to retreat to! Love it! Thanks for sharing with us!

  9. greengenes 09/26/2014

    Hi Jack!

    1. user-5829577 09/26/2014


  10. thevioletfern 09/26/2014

    Love ... I am hoping to make a small pond in my garden. You are such inspiration. I love the vines, too. You truly have created an oasis and reminded us that we all can.

  11. Nurserynotnordstroms 09/26/2014

    I love how you enter the woodland area so serene and peaceful looking,all of the Hostas and ferns make it look so inviting you want to see whats next around the corner. The painted fern in the last photos is a real beauty,mine never have looked that lovely. We had a pond but every time I would add plants to it,the racoons would destroy the liner. I had to replace and rebuild three times because they would manage to aggressively chew or rip the liner so badly it leaked. I had always wanted cattails in the pond because I read hummingbirds love to take the fluff for there nest and I will do what ever it takes for my little Hummers. Thank you so much for sharing your photos with me this morning you have a very serene garden space.

  12. GrannyMay 09/26/2014

    Well done! Giant rocks and water, softened with well-placed greenery, lots of native plants, balanced with old-fashioned floriferous perennials, rustic fencing and seating, wandering brick paths, walls hidden under vines and plenty of tall trees - your whole garden is an oasis of peace!

  13. GrannyCC 09/26/2014

    Love the pond with all its beautiful plants nestled in the rocks.Such a serene peaceful setting.

  14. sheila_schultz 09/26/2014

    As I was scrolling down the photos I could feel the moisture in the air and a sense of peace overtaking me. Your garden is like a fairy tale... without the evil trolls. Thank you for allowing me to take a peek into your world, it's beautiful.

    1. user-5829577 09/26/2014

      When you mentioned moisture, our kids all live out west with dry climate.....they love the moisture here.

      1. sheila_schultz 09/27/2014

        Funny... I have lived most of my life in IL, but we moved to Denver 9 years ago. I love the dry climate and it's hard for my joints to adjust to the moisture when we return for visits, but my skin is very happy!

  15. schatzi 09/26/2014

    Absolutely lovely. The pond is beautiful - no wonder the critters love it too. Well done.

  16. NevadaSue 09/26/2014

    I'm totally drooling. :) Your yard is beautiful and the pond is wonderful. I am enchanted as I walk down the paths and soak in all the lushness and beauty. I love wooded areas and yours is very nurturing to the soul. I can imagine the overwhelming feeling when the rocks arrived. :) They can add so much charm to a garden and especially a pond. They have been placed so artfully and add a natural charm to the pond. Thank you so much for sharing with us. Looking forward to more.

    1. user-5829577 09/26/2014

      Your comments were very welcome. We had no idea that we would enjoy it as much as we do. It has been a huge learning curve and we're still learning.

  17. Meelianthus 09/26/2014

    Goodmorning Rebmans ~ You have created such a lush forest garden - "peace place" - which can sometimes be very beneficial after raising children. Sounds like you had some wonderful help and it is all so beautifully done. The pond with all of its greenery and little creatures is a lovely sanctuary. Thanks for sharing this green garden.

    1. user-5829577 09/26/2014

      We laughed at your comment regarding needing a peace place after raising children. Our daughter was home one pond cleaning weekend and said that she would love to help. Hummmm, that didn't last very long. Thanks for your comments.

  18. lynn_felici_gallant 09/26/2014

    Oh my goodness. I feel calm simply strolling/scrolling through the pics. Gorgeous.

  19. foxglove12 09/27/2014

    Beautiful! I'm going to have to research the Hyacinth bean vine...

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