Riverside International Friendship Gardens

Riverside International Friendship Gardens

Part of Ep. 1904 Around the World in Wisconsin

Tour the gardens of China, Germany, Russia and more at the Riverside International Friendship Gardens on the banks of the Mississippi River in La Crosse.

Premiere date: Jun 29, 2011

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley Ryan:
It doesn’t look like LaCrosse, does it?  It looks like the entrance to a Chinese Garden.  It is the
entrance to a Chinese Garden on the banks of the Mississippi River.  We are at the Riverside
International Friendship Gardens in LaCrosse.  We’re going to go talk to somebody who helped
create this garden. 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
Shelley, you have just walked under the moon gate in the Chinese Garden, which is topped by
two granite dragons from Lu Yung China.  There’s a lot of symbolism in the Chinese Garden, as
you can see, you know rocks and water.  We’ve got a pond, and bridge, and a lot of other
elements. 

Shelley Ryan:
Beautiful. 

I’m talking with Marilyn Rebarchik who’s one of the instigators in creating the Riverside International Friendship Garden here in LaCrossse.  Marilyn, let’s talk a little bit about how this beautiful garden came to be. 
Maryilyn Rebarchik:
It was about six years ago, Shelley.  Local organizers had the idea to plant a friendship garden to honor our six sister cities. 

Shelley Ryan:
Six?  List them for me, please. 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
Okay, the sister cities are: Lu Yung, China; Freidburg, Germany; Epanaul, France; Dubna, Russia.  Those are the first four.  That was Phase One of the gardens.  Are we mentioning the other two? 

Shelley Ryan:
Yes. 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
Okay, the other two that are going to be planted or are in the works are: Bantry, Ireland and Veerda Norway. 

Shelley Ryan:
Wow.  This is going to represent the entire world, practically when it’s all finished. 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
Eventually, we will do our best to cover every country. 

Shelley Ryan:
Well, with something of this scope, who all is involved in maintaining it and keeping it going?  

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
Well, mainly master gardeners.  We have a weekly work night on Wednesday night.  Master Gardener volunteers come and we work in the gardens, do pruning, planting and deadheading all summer long. 

Shelley Ryan:
Is that the Bluff Country Master Gardeners? 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
Yes, it’s the local Bluff Country Master Gardeners. 

Shelley Ryan:
And then, there’s a Riverside board? 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
Yes, this is a three-way partnership, The Riverside International Friednship Garden board, which I’m a part of as well, and then the City of LaCrosse which has provided us great resourses.  It’s a wonderful partnership. 

Shelley Ryan:
Excellent.  Well, from what I’ve seen, you’ve done a wonderful job. 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
Thank you. 

Shelley Ryan:
We’ve got to go back to the Chinese Garden a little bit.  I mean, even the gate has these beautiful Chinese symbols on it.  They mean something, I assume? 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
Yes, they do.  There’s four different symbols and they’re repeated throughout the Chinese Garden.  What the symbols stand for are love, wisdon, tranquility, and harmony. 

Shelley Ryan:
Let’s talk about the French Garden.  Actually, one of my questions, these all represent the different cities.  Do you have plants from any of the countries?  Because that’s kind of hard to bring them into the country. 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
As a matter of fact, we do.  We have two imported French climbing roses.  They’re named after the city of Epanaul.  They’re called Image de Epanaul, cultivated for the city.  They’re planted here and they’ve been thriving for about five years. 

Shelley Ryan:
Were they a little difficult to bring in? 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
Very difficult, as you can imagine.  When you’re dealing with the Department of Agriculture and Washington, it takes months of paperwork and a lot of red tape to go through, but they arrived and we’re really excited about it.  What a wonderful gift from France. 

Shelley Ryan:
That’s really special.  Well, there’s a fountain that you guys are rather proud of too. 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
We are.  It’s a hand carved granite fountain, which will last forever.  But what’s special about it is on top.  It’s a hand carved emblem of the city of Epanaul.  And it’s called La Pina. 

Shelley Ryan:
Beautiful.  Again, what a colorful spot, too, the whole French Garden is. 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
It is.  And Epanaul is called the city of flowers.  

Shelley Ryan:
Oh, well, no wonder.  See, I knew that. 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
Yes, you looked at the roses and you knew that. 

Shelley Ryan:
Exactly.  Well, and I love the German Garden, because it really reminds you of the Alpine flowers and the Alps. 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
I was so excited when I found out Germany was one of the sister cities, because we could then have an Alpine Garden or a rock garden, symbolic of Germany and the Alps.  And they’re a lot of Alpine plants which are drought tolerant, dward conifers, which won’t outgrow their space.   And it’s just a major part. 

Shelley Ryan:
Easy to maintain. 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
Easy to maintain. 

Shelley Ryan:
Okay, but I’ve got to confess, my favorite garden is the Russian Garden.  And it has nothing to do with the plants. 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
I know.  I knew that right away when you arrived that was your favorite garden.  And it’s the favorite for most people, as far as for taking pictures.  What we have is a Russian vacetka. 

Shelley Ryan:
Vacetka. 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
Vacetka, which is Russian for summer house. 

Shelley Ryan:
Okay. 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
It’s situated on the banks of the LaCrosse River.  It’s a replica of a vacetka sitting on the banks of the Volga River in Dubna, Russia. 

Shelley Ryan:
It is the coolest spot, too.  The breezes that blow through there are beautiful. 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
It really is, just overlooking the LaCrosse River, and actually, the place where three rivers meet,  the LaCrosse River, the Black River, and the Mississippi River. 

Shelley Ryan:
The painting on top, this is a replica? 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
That’s right.  The dome is hand painted in authentic Russian painting, and in their colors. 

Shelley Ryan:
This is a lovely part of Riverside Park in LaCrosse.  I recommend that anyone come here and visit.  it’s a great place. 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
Well, I recommend that you comeback real soon, Shelley. 

Shelley Ryan:
I can see Ireland soon. 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
That’s right. 

Shelley Ryan:
Thank you. 

Maryilyn Rebarchik:
Thank you.  It’s been a pleasure. 

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