Sinnissippi Garden Improvements Continue

Some of the most loved areas of Sinnissippi Gardens, the Sinnissippi Rose and Perennial Gardens, are getting fresh makeovers this spring and early summer thanks to generous donors and community support.

The Sinnissippi Rose Garden was created in the 1920s and has since has been a popular location for visiting tour groups, summer strolls, engagements, weddings, and more.

The first part of the project concerns the steep slope that separates the gardens from North Second Street above. For years, the slope has been difficult to manage, as the sumac bushes grow too tall and block the view of the garden from the road. The bushes are difficult and dangerous for maintenance staff to trim due to the steep angle of the slope and the height of the plants. The scope of this project includes replacement of the sumac with more manageable, and shorter, native grasses.


The tiered floral clock viewing area next to the slope will be redone in memory of Steve Zimmerman, with new seating areas and a wider path. New irrigation, lighting, and electrical will be added.

These improvements are made possible by the Nicholas Family Foundation, Gardeners of America Sinnissippi Rose Garden Endowment, Steve Zimmerman Memorial Fund, and those who contributed to the Sinnissippi Garden Campaign fund. The project is slated to be completed before the annual Wine & Roses fundraising event on June 20, 2019.

The Sinnissippi Perennial Garden on the north end of the gardens has also been identified as an area that needs improvements and is currently in the planning and fundraising stage. Last summer, horticulture staff removed overgrowth to give better views of the river, but there are still a few larger trees slated for removal and replacement. Old wooden benches need to be replaced, and irrigation improved. On the far north end of the garden, the pagoda’s roof and support columns need repairs to give it new life. Donor funds are still needed to complete this project.

To donate, contact Lisa Grigoletti, Donor Relations, Rockford Park District Foundation, 815-987-1632.