Last updated: 1/6/2015
Rockford, Illinois
Street Address
2715 S. Main St.
Rockford, IL 61102
Mailing Address
2715 S. Main St.
Rockford, IL 61102
phone: 815-965-8146
fax: 815-965-5914
Daily9 AM - 4 PM
On the first Tuesday of each month, garden admission is free. We ask that visitors give a donation to help maintain our gardens and arboretum when they visit.
Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
Daniel Riggs, Executive Director
Carrie Schommer, Marketing Manager

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, handicapped-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

Klehm Mascots:

Klehm Arboretum is also home to three truly unique garden creatures that provide a whimsy and a sense of fun to our grounds. Cow-li-flower and Klehmentine live hidden in the Nancy Olson Children’s Garden. And Flora Fauna keeps company with some of the Arboretum’s oldest residents in the Prehistoric Garden. Can you find all three mascots?


Do you like a challenge? There are two caches hidden within the gardens. Both Klehmantine’s Stash – N 42° 14.582 W 089° 07.200 and Cow-li-Flower’s Cache – N 42° 14.667 W 089° 07.433 are small size caches. Hint: They are quite a walk from the parking lot and hard to get to in the winter. Please log your comments on Have fun!


To maintain a living museum for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of all people.


This 155-acre site begins with landscape architect William Lincoln Taylor, who established the land as Rockford Nursery in 1910. Many of the rare trees on the site are a result of experimental plantings by Mr. Taylor.

The Klehm family bought the nursery in 1968 and maintained the land until 1985. Realizing its value, the Klehm family generously donated the land to the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District with the stipulation it be maintained as an arboretum.

Artifact Collections

Visitors will see at Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden a wide variety of trees and plants unlike anywhere else in the world. The Taylor brothers operated the Rockford Nursery on this site and had a strong interest to diversity. They introduced plants from all over the world. If this was just a naturally occurring midwestern forest, you might find 50 woody plant species; Klehm Arboretum has over 300.

  • Rediscover your zen in the pristine Fountain Garden with its lush perennial plantings, trellised gazebo, playful water fountain, all highlighted by a magnificent backdrop of conifers that provide a quiet and restful gathering place.
  • The Nancy Olson Children’s Garden is located inside the East Loop of the Arboretum. Just cross over the bridge at the koi pond—you’re there! Named in honor of a devoted Klehm member, the garden is designed to encourage children to explore the many wonders of nature. Children love navigating the hedge maze to find the surprise waiting for them at journey’s end. The rainbow and alphabet gardens are colorful delights and no one leaves the childrens’ garden without stopping to visit with the garden’s bovine mascot Cow-Li-Flower.
  • Wander through these five display gardens designed for inspiration. Gardens include a Butterfly Garden, Herb Garden, and Daylily Garden. In 2011 we planted a Quilt Garden to highlight the Botanical Quilt Exhibition displayed in the Visitor’s Center at the same time.
  • The romantic Peony Garden features over 40 varieties of peonies that bloom in May and early June. For 3 generations the Klehm family has been cultivating peonies and a wide range of their varieties make up the favorite springtime garden
  • Some are tall, others short and ranging in colors from deep green to blue, yet they’re all hosta. Grown for their lush and attractive foliage Over 50 varieties of hosta are presented in our shady hosta garden. Hosta offer great ground cover and a wonderful fragrance while in bloom.
  • This garden showcases some of the trees and plants which grew in prehistoric times including the highly recognizable ginkgo. As an added delight for the family, you’ll also find Klehm’s Dinosaur mascot Flora-Fauna.
  • Where are the flowers? The Grasses Garden is an example of a xeric garden. Xeric refers to a dry environment, one that needs no supplemental watering. Xeric gardens have a natural beauty in Spring, Summer and Fall.
  • In the Woodland Wildflower Garden it’s not unusual to spot flowers as early as March. Home for many of spring’s earliest blooms, please tread lightly along the winding trail as you search for these tiny gems. List of Woodland Flowers in Vi Bates Garden
  • In the Rhododendron & Azalea Dell there are currently some 80 species and cultivars of the Rhododendron genus on display. Peak blooming time for these beauties is May and June although some cultivars bloom in the late summer.
  • Klehm plants rows of vegetables every year to help support our local pantries and shelters with feeding the hungry. Last year the garden produced 1,700 pounds of produce. “Plant-a-Row” is a national program and was started in 1995. Everyone with a little bit of land can make a difference. Find out more about this program.
  • Library

    The Harding Horticultural Library is housed inside the Visitor’s Center and is available whenever the building is open. It is a reading and reference library providing information about botany and horticulture to Klehm Arboretum staff, volunteers, members, professional horticulturists, students, gardeners and the public.

    Access: General Public, Students, Scholars, Members

    Appointment required: No

  • Monthly E-Newsletter
  • Annual Report
  • ADA

    •All buildings and paved garden paths and trails are accessible to strollers and wheelchairs.

    •A wheelchair is available at the Visitor’s Center.

    Friendly, leashed dogs are welcome, too.

    Wheelchair Accessible




    Flowering Magnolia garden store:

    The Flowering Magnolia garden store, also located inside the Visitor’s Center, carries a variety of unique items from garden tools and gifts to toys and apparel. We thank you for your purchases, as all store proceeds benefit Klehm Arboretum, and its education and outreach programs. Members of the Arboretum receive a 10% discount on all purchases.

    Planning for Your Business or Social Event?

    Whatever your event, Klehm can provide a unique and natural backdrop for your occasion. Whether it be business or family related, a celebration or a reflection, the grounds at Klehm create an atmosphere to cherish and remember. Our meeting rooms and banquet gallery can accommodate 30 to 300 guests for seminars, reunions, birthday and anniversary celebrations, open houses, fundraisers, trade shows and parties. In addition, Klehm offers 155 acres of woodlands and beautiful gardens for participants and guests to enjoy! For rental details and availability, call 815-965-8146 or email Dawn at .

    Gift Shop

    Special Event Rental

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